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2000 Guineas runners: Auguste Rodin all the rage

| 04.05.2023

Ahead of this year’s first Classic, we’re taking a look at five of the leading contenders among the 2000 Guineas runners.

All eyes will be on Newmarket on Saturday, as these three-year-old colts strive to earn a place in the history books.

Auguste Rodin @ 15/8

Aidan O’Brien has sent over a record 10 past 2000 Guineas winners from Ireland and has a strong hand again this year, with this son of 2017 1000 Guineas runner-up Rhododendron the most fancied to add to that tally.

Auguste Rodin earned himself pride of place in our list of 10 horses to follow for this Flat season by running out an impressive winner of last October’s Futurity at Doncaster, when galloping clear of a solid field over the final furlong.

That was on heavy ground and there is again expected to be some cut underfoot at Newmarket this weekend, which should bring his stamina into play and there has been plenty of support for this colt in the 2000 Guineas odds.

“Auguste Rodin has been very popular this week to give Aidan O’Brien more 2,000 Guineas glory. The Vertem Futurity Trophy winner is going to go off as a warm favourite in the opening British Classic of the season,” said Coral’s John Hill.

Little Big Bear @ 9/2

While Auguste Rodin will relish every yard of the Rowley Mile, his stablemate has speed on his side judged on some exciting juvenile performances which saw him crowned Europe’s champion two-year-old for 2022.

Narrowly beaten on his racecourse debut at the Curragh, the son of No Nay Never went on to win each of his four subsequent starts, including the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.

But it was a scintillating display on what proved to be his final juvenile appearance in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh that saw him top the charts, with Little Big Bear sprinting seven lengths clear of the ultra-consistent Persian Force.

“On paper, Little Big Bear may be the second string of the O’Brien runners, but that’s not putting off punters backing the Phoenix Stakes winner,” said Coral’s John Hill. “The speedy colt has attracted strong support since the draw was made.”

Chaldean @ 15/2

Blotted his copybook when unseating Frankie Dettori at the start of the Greenham at Newbury last month but galloped on riderless for the whole of that contest, so at least he will have had a good blow-out.

Chaldean warrants huge respect among the 2000 Guineas runners on his two-year-old form, which included Group-class victories at York and Doncaster before he showed a real willing spirit to hold off Royal Scotsman in the Dewhurst at this track.

Andrew Balding shrugged off the Newbury mishap, stating: “He’s fine. None the worse for his little saunter down the track. He had a great time, hardly lost any weight. It was an unconventional dress rehearsal, but there we are – it is what it is.”

Sakheer @ 17/2

A narrowly beaten second on his racecourse debut at Windsor last summer, the son of Zoffany went one better with a six-length success at Haydock before dominating the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Sakheer missed an intended appearance in the Dewhurst in October, which means he is another yet to race beyond six furlongs, but Roger Varian is hopeful he will stay the longer distance and described a recent workout at Newmarket as “perfect”.

The trainer added: “We are as confident as we can be about his stamina and he’s bred to get the trip, even beyond a mile. He was strong through the line in all of his starts and if he gets home, he could be a very good miler.”

Royal Scotsman @ 8/1

Was sent off relatively unfancied for the Dewhurst at 12/1 after tasting defeat in the Coventry at Royal Ascot and the Gimcrack at York either side of landing the Group Two Richmond at Glorious Goodwood in a fast time.

However, stepping up to seven furlongs really seemed to suit this son of 2015 Guineas hero Gleneagles, as he was inching closer and closer to Chaldean all the way to the line, eventually going down by just a head for jockey Jim Crowley.

Joint-trainer Oliver Cole revealed there were excuses for a below-par effort at York and commented: “We were delighted with his run at Newmarket. We think he is an exceptional horse. He broke the track record at Goodwood and to do that was very impressive.”


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Tony Kelshaw