If you are a horseracing fan then this weekend is arguably one of the biggest of the entire racing season with two British Classic races plus the famous Kentucky Derby all slated to take place over the coming Saturday and Sunday.
First our eyes will turn to Newmarket, the home of British Racing for the famous Guineas meet. On Saturday afternoon, the 2000 Guineas Stakes will be contested over the famous Rowley Mile, while on Sunday the 1000 Guineas will be contested by fillies.
Sandwiched in between these two huge races is the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the US Triple Crown and known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” The race is run over 10 furlongs and will take place at about 10.45pm on Saturday evening, UK time.
Let’s take a look at each race individually, looking at some of the runners and riders who could be celebrating a historic win come Monday morning.
QIPCO 2000 Guineas Stakes – Newmarket (Saturday)
The 2000 Guineas has a long and illustrious history as the first Classic of the flat season and some of its winners are amongst the greatest names in horse racing such as Nashwan, Camelot, Sea the Stars, Golan, Entrepreneur, Nijinsky, Dancing Brave and perhaps the best of them all, Frankel.
Last year Dawn Approach was the winner for Godolphin, ridden by Kevin Manning and this year most pundits agree it will be a battle between two horses, Kingman and Australia.
Kingman has been simply superb in his three races so far, winning all three in style and he is rated the second best horse to compete in the Guineas, second only to the legendary Frankel. He’ll face stiff competition from the Aiden O’Brien trained Australia, sired by Galileo, and who finished the 2013 season in impressive form with wins at The Curragh and Leopardstown.
If you are looking for a horse outside the heavily fancied duo then Toormore looks the next best bet. Another Irish horse, he’s won each of his four outings so far and has also won at Newmarket earlier in the year which could be a huge advantage, given the famous atmosphere and the Rowley Roar as the race starts.
The winner is likely to come from these three class acts in the race, but if you are looking for an each way consideration, then the likes of Kingston Hill, War Command, Noozhoh Canarias, Charm Spirit and Night of Thunder look decent each way chances.
Given his mighty performance earlier on in the month at Newbury, you’d have to be a fool to back anyone other than Kingman.
You can get a best price of 2.25 with Paddy Power at the moment and our advice is to grab that while you can as we reckon by race day, he’ll be odds on.
If you are new to Paddy Power, you’ll also be qualified for a £20 free sports betting bankroll from Paddy Power, valid to all new signups with no deposit required.
QIPCO 1000 Guineas Stakes – Newmarket (Sunday)
It’s easy to see why Rizeena is the clear favourite here.
This is a 3-year old filly with plenty of experience, a two-time runner at Newmarket, though she has never won here and there are question marks over whether she will find the extra yardage too tough.
If breeding is key for your decision making, then My Titania has immaculate credentials, as she was sired by Sea The Stars, who won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2009, then went on to win both the Derby and the Prix de L’Arc De Triomph. This makes her a very enticing bet.
Lucky Kristal is another horse to consider. A winner over 6 furlongs at Newmarket last year, she’s won both her last two outings and four out of five in her career so far.
There’s a real glut of horses at around the 8/1 to 12/1 mark including the two mentioned above plus Miss France, Ihtimal, Tapestry and Braceley.
For an outside each way punt, Kiyoshi (16/1) has been trading well on the betting exchanges and could be one to watch on Saturday.
Although Rizeena is a deserved favourite here, we think that My Titania has a real chance.
Rizeena may have experience of Newmarket, but the lightly raced Titania has been super-impressive in her three outings, winning the last two and finishing second in her first race, and at 8/1 with Sky Bet, Paddy Power and Bet365, we think that is great each way value.
Kentucky Derby – Churchill Downs, Louisville (USA) (Saturday evening)
Ten furlongs of power and pace, the Kentucky Derby is a spectacular sight and the first leg of US Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, it offers the lucky winner one of the biggest prizes in sport (over $1.4m) and it looks like Saturday’s race will feature a full field of 20 competitors.
The stand out option this year is California Chrome, who has been hugely impressive in his three outings this year, winning them all against some top quality opposition. He’s already banked $920,000 from his three victories and would more than double that with victory at Churchill Downs.
Another contender is Wicked Strong, who bounced back superbly in the Wood Memorial (Grade 1) race of late, surprising a few pundits who had written him off after a couple of lacklustre performances beforehand. Danza too has been well backed although odds on this horse are not uniform across the board in the UK as he is as short as 8/1 with some bookmakers and 12/1 with others.
Other contenders include the appropriately named Hoppertunity (12/1 to 16/1), Vicars in Trouble (10/1 to 13/1) and Social Inclusion (14/1 to 20/1).
Longer odds backers should take a look at General A Rod, who is available at 20/1 to 25/1 and is rated by many experts as the best long odds prospect in the race, although an Each Way bet would be a wiser punt than backing to win.
If you want a win, we think California Chrome (3.25 at PaddyPower & Bet365) is the wise choice here, but we like the look of an each way dabble on the superbly named Vicars In Trouble.
We’d back them with Bet365, who are paying 1/4 odds on a top three place as opposed to 1/5meaning even their lower price of 10/1 still offers a better payout than higher priced options elsewhere.