The 2,000 Guineas has long heralded the advent of a new flat season, yet usually with a much larger field competing for the classic glory it awards.
The smallest field since 1988 is one of the finest however, with several trials winners involved and the prospect of a first classic winner sired by Frankel.
The unbeaten colt announced his extraordinary ability in this race six years ago, a performance that is still remembered as one of the finest ever seen in Britain.
Frankel’s victory in this race six years ago is still considered one of the finest performances ever seen in Britain
As a stallion, Frankel has already shown significant promise, with six group winners among his two-year-old crop last year.
His chances of growing that auspicious record in 2017 lie most prominently with Craven Stakes winner Eminent. Martyn Meade’s colt stayed on impressively to earn a win over the same course and distance as today’s race, with a Group 1 winner behind him.
His trainer has been effusive in his praise, encouraged by the rapid time (the fastest for 50 years) recorded in last month’s trial.
Another with notable course form is the favourite Churchill, winner of the Dewhurst Stakes and this year’s Ballydoyle hotshot.
The son of Galileo already has two Group 1 wins to his name, both of which were recorded in stylish fashion at odds-on starting prices.
Churchill appears as formidable as his political namesake, yet considering his likely skinny price and the depth of quality in this year’s first classic, a chance can be taken on a son of the race’s most dominant winner.
Dream Castle had a tough journey in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes, hitting the front far too early with little to keep him company. Stamina concerns are warranted, as he was outstayed comfortably by fellow Godolphin owned Barney Roy, yet the first time application of a hood should see the Frankel colt race less freely and conserve some of that energy.
The winner at Newbury that day was eye catching and will relish returning to a mile, yet the price difference between the two appears exaggerated.
Adding further intrigue to the contest is French raider Al Wukair, a strapping colt whose seasonal bow saw him surge from last to first in the Group 3 Prix Djebel. Trainer Andre Fabre has won the race twice and is selective with who he sends over, so his participation in itself is intriguing.
Al Wukair’s most recent win came in striking fashion
On a day of great racing, Newmarket also hosts other Group races on the card, including the Palace House Stakes - a sprint run over the minimum trip of five furlongs.
Profitable, winner of this race last year, is certainly respected, yet Washington Dc could have a fitness edge here. Aidan O’Brien’s colt beat Profitable at the end of last season, only being bettered by Marsha. Considering that filly’s penalty and potential lack of fitness, those placings could well be reversed though.
The Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes revolves around O’Brien favourite Seventh Heaven. The Galileo filly ran well behind Jack Hobbs in Dubai after a slow start but hold up tactics might again be her undoing here. Galapiat won a handicap very impressively last time out and although this represents a marked step up in grade, Mark Johnston’s colt may be able to dominate from the front again.
14:20 - Washington Dc 8/1 ew
14:55 - Galapiat 6/1
15:35 - Dream Castle 16/1 ewReuse content