1989 – Nashwan (Major Dick Hern, Willie Carson)
Nashwan became one of my favourite horses ever after his subsequent King George win, but before that he justified 3-1 favouritism in the 2,000 Guineas, leading over two furlongs out and scoring readily by a length from Exbourne.
Dick Hern was not a man a member of the press could phone up on a Sunday morning for an update on one of his horses, but nevertheless it was an emotional winners’ enclosure that day at HQ as the wheelchair-bound ‘Major’ doffed his trilby to his great champion and Willie Carson after they had entered the annals of racing history.
The Major had been involved in a hunting accident five years earlier and the crowd were acknowledging a truly brilliant horseman as well as an animal that many had joined in on in a widespread public gamble after a home gallop in which he was said to have caught many pigeons.
- Punter turns £7.50 into £2,550 with Lucky 15 Sunday strike
- Ruby Walsh: Un De Sceaux’s 5 best moments that I’ll never forget
- Ruby Walsh: The 10 Sportsmen I admired most in my career
- Mick Fitzgerald’: My 10 best races of the 209/20 jumps season
2001 – Golan (Sir Michael Stoute, Kieren Fallon)
Kieren Fallon is my ante-post betting hero, but mishaps and misadventures are also a part of such long-range wagers and on this occasion the champion jockey spoiled my party and a 33-1 punt on runner-up Tamburlaine by scoring on Golan.
The second had come on to my radar after filling the same position behind Golan’s stable companion Dilshaan in Doncaster’s Racing Post Trophy the previous Autumn.
That day on Town Moor, Tamburlaine’s trainer Richard Hannon Senior was far from disheartened about being beaten and said you’ll see a different horse in the Guineas, comparing him favourably with his three previous winners of the first UK Classic.
To be fair he came up against a very good horse in the 2,000 Guineas and despite holding a losing docket, I’d had a bloody good run for my money and it was a case of close but no cigar.
2006 – George Washington (Aidan O’Brien, Kieren Fallon)
The dogs were barking in Newmarket at the previous year’s Guineas Meeting that ‘George’ was a little bit special and I had £10 on him at 50-1 that he would win the 2006 2,000 Guineas.
He was actually beaten on his debut at the former fixture, but it was a promising enough racecourse bow in third considering the ground was pretty fast and he was slowly into his stride that day.
George then helped the winter months fly by by winning his next four starts, including the top-class Phoenix Stakes and National Stakes, both at The Curragh.
That 50-1 looked pretty decent come Guineas day as he went off a furiously-backed 6-4 favourite and there wasn’t really a moment’s worry as Fallon sent him to the front over a furlong out.
The pair went on to prevail by two and a half lengths from subsequent Derby hero Sir Percy.
On this day…. 2⃣0⃣0⃣9⃣
10 years to the day since SEA THE STARS claimed 2000 Guineas glory at @NewmarketRace!
The John Oxx-trained superstar went on to record SIX Grade 1 victories that year, including the Derby and the Arc! 🏇
— Timeform Live (@TimeformLive) May 2, 2019
2009 – Sea The Stars (John Oxx, Mick Kinane)
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Sea The Stars’s starting price of 8-1 looks absolutely huge now knowing what we know and that the Cape Cross colt unbelievably went on to win the English Derby, Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc that season.
Curragh conjuror John Oxx is also a fairly quiet man, but when he says something you listen and I remember he was quite bullish about his charge’s chance at Headquarters which I thought was a bit unusual for him.
But my biggest reason for him being here is it was Mick Kinane’s last of four wins in the race, the first of which had been obtained on Richard Hannon’s Tirol 19 years’ earlier. He was one of the finest jockeys I’ve ever seen with hands that just used to make horses float to victory.
Happy 11th Birthday to the mighty FRANKEL 🎂
Here he is demolishing the field in the 2011 QIPCO 2000 Guineas 🤯pic.twitter.com/hHYPRyVPDY
— Great British Racing (@🏠) (@GBRacing) February 11, 2019
2011 – Frankel (Sir Henry Cecil, Tom Queally)
Frankel has been described as the ‘greatest racehorse in history’ and his six-length demolition job in this race went some way in his receiving that accolade.
The Galileo colt was a very short 1-2 favourite, having landed his trial by four lengths in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes, and it was unbelievable viewing as he was at least 10 lengths clear at the halfway stage and your only worry was whether Tom Queally had judged the pace wrong.
But he hadn’t and Frankel came home unchallenged in impressive fashion to rapturous applause from a crowd that knows when they’ve witnessed a supreme talent.
Frankel finished his career with 14 wins from 14 starts including an incredible 11 length success in the following year’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot where he appeared to have a lead longer than my hoover near the finish!