He travelled superbly throughout the race
Whistlejacket with a nostalgic look back at past 2000 Guineas
This year’s 2000 Guineas will not happen for a while so why not look back at some great vintage runnings of the race on video.
My favourite is the 1984 renewal in which El Gran Senor travelled superbly through the race and then showed a wonderful turn of foot to put several lengths between him and some very good rivals. This horse had great speed but as we know he couldn’t back it up in the Derby where Secreto outstayed him.
This was a win for the legendary Vincent O’Brien/Robert Sangster combination but this was a big win for Pat Eddery who has just taken the Ballydoyle job following Lester Piggott’s first retirement. He couldn’t have asked for a smoother success.
In 1986 Dancing Brave also showed a wonderful turn of foot to win going away from Green Desert. His win was not as smooth as El Gran Senor’s in that he required a bit of stoking coming into the dip but once he hit his stride, the result was never in doubt.
It is interesting to compare him with El Gran Senor in that the Irish horse was a smoother traveller in both the Guineas and the Derby but was better suited by the shorter distance, whereas the Guy Harwood star was fully capable of getting a mile and a half but needed to a bit of rousting to show his top form.
Both had the wonderful ability to get into a rhythm which other horses just couldn’t match at the end of races.
A rather closer affair was the 1989 Guineas won by Nashwan. He managed to see off Exbourne and Danehill comfortably enough but it wasn’t the kind of performance to set your pulse racing unless you had backed him and were fearful of something chinning him on the line.
But it was a really competitive renewal and Nashwan showed guts as well as class to see off his rivals. And of course, Nashwan did complete the Guineas/Derby double which El Gran Senor and Dancing Brave had failed to do.
Finally, the race in 1993 was the one in which Zafonic blew them away by breaking the course record. He beat a top rival in Barathea by settling well, moving smoothly to challenge and then Pat Eddery just pressed the accelerator button.
He broke a 45-year-old course record but then broke a blood vessel at Goodwood in the Sussex stakes and never raced again. Nor was he a great success at stud. But for a couple of minutes he lit up Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and that is how he should be remembered.
Who would win if they raced against each other in a Virtual Guineas? My own view is
2. El Gran Senor
3. Dancing Brave
Whistlejacket looks back at the Derby in the 1980s http://wp.me/s8e3Dl-14420
Newmarket: the 400 year story of HQ http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-D6
Duel purpose and multiple winners: the unique Chester Cup http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Mo