Churchill claimed victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and you can replay our live Saturday racing blog right here.
We should all have seen it coming, but Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore have bossed QIPCO 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket and the bookmakers are presumably breathing a sight of relief that Marsha came to their rescue and denied the well-backed Washington DC, who almost made it a memorable treble.
Churchill and the Ballydoyle tactics are likely to be discussed for weeks to come and there's no getting away from the fact they've got another superb colt on their hands who has all the class in the world. Could it be Irish Guineas and Royal Ascot, or Dante and Derby? Time will tell and next week's big Chester meeting could help make some minds up.
As for the beaten horses, Eminent has something to prove now sadly having been one of the first off the bit, while Richard Hannon will be hoping Churchill goes up in trip so Barney Roy could emerge as the major force over a mile for the rest of the campaign.
It's been a fantastic day as expected and thanks for following the blog, which resumes tomorrow when we do it all again with the 1000 Guineas.
1st Ronald R (14/1)
2nd Son Of The Stars
3rd High Acclaim
1714. The lucky last. Hopefully. I'm taking Via Serendipity to get the better of Son Of The Stars, who looks pretty skinny at 2/1 for all he's probably got something in hand from a mark of 89. The unbeaten son of Delegator (no, not Sea The Stars, surprisingly) looked good at Chelmsford, but there were only seven runners. And it was Chelmsford.
This looks tougher, is the point I'm trying to make.
1650. I could watch Ryan Moore all day long. Sadly, he's not off to Doncaster tonight.
But he ends his Classic-winning day with a textbook ride on Permian, who franks the Cracksman form in no uncertain terms.
Not lured in by the trail-blazing Majoris, Moore times his challenge to perfection on Mark Johnston's representative, who opens his account for the season after two good efforts in defeat. You'd imagine he'll be up to a mile and a half soon and could be a three-year-old to follow through 2017, at the right level.
1st Permian (5/2)
2nd Speedy Boy
1642. It's the Listed Newmarket Stakes up next and it's Khalidi against Permian on form, with Night Circus the obvious potential improver for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.
We could have another Derby pointer here as Permian was only narrowly overhauled by Cracksman in Epsom's Derby Trial 10 days ago.
John Gosden referred to as "his Derby day" when Khalidi won the Feilden at the Craven meeting but I liked the way he did it and fast ground obviously suits.
Night Circus is stepping up from winning a maiden here on the same day as the Feilden and while the race hasn't produced any future winners, the two to have run since have both gone well in defeat.
1622. Close. No cigar. Eqtiraan beaten into second by 25/1 chance Danielsflyer, representing David Barron and Silvestre De Sousa.
Unfortunate. And unfortunate for Pick 7 players as the outsiders stakes out the remaining two hopefuls.
So no winner today, but don't forget to take part in tomorrow's game, where there's another massive £100,000 jackpot up for grabs. Follow this link to get your selections in once it opens.
1st Danielsflyer (25/1)
1615. Three more to come at HQ, starting with the sprint handicap now. Couple of these have Commonwealth Cup entries including warm favourite Victory Angel, who was so impressive here at the Craven meeting a couple of weeks ago.
He's been walloped by the assessor and I'm more of a fan of top weight Eqtiraan.
1613. O'Brien not exactly clearing things up regarding Churchill's future targets in his post-race interviews, but did we expect anything more?
He said: "The lads (owners) will decide about the Derby themselves. They make all the decisions about all the horses. He is very relaxed and will probably get as far as you want him to get - he has speed as well, but he has a very relaxed way of racing. He is by Galileo and horses by that sire very rarely lack stamina."
1600. Moore full of praise for the Guineas winner on ITV: "He's such a lovely horse He has a magnificent mind. I think he has everything you want in a racehorse - he travels, has speed and loads of class. He was always racing comfortably - he was there a little bit early. He always feels like there's more when you ask him."
Sky Bet make the winner 4/1 from 5/1 for the Derby and 6/4 from 3/1 for the St James' Palace at Royal Ascot. He's 4/6 from 7/4 for the Irish 2000 Guineas as well.
What a fantastic horse they have to go to war with and a fascinating poser in terms of what they do next. The immediate reaction gives me the impression the Derby might not be top of the list, but Moore has just told Racing UK: "I can't imagine there'd be a better (Derby) ride."
1st Laugh Aloud (3/1)
3rd Desert Haze
1552. Hard to reflect on the Guineas without commenting on the dream run Churchill received after cruising in behind Lancaster Bomber, who didn't set much of a tempo, before grabbing the stands rail and powering up the hill.
With Eminent and Dream Castle disappointing, it was left for Barney Roy and Al Wukair to battle each other towards the centre of the track but they had just too much to do and neither enjoyed the smoothest of runs. There were no obvious hard luck stories but More was definitely in the right place at the right times.
That is obviously what we've come to expect from the great jockey, but it's still a joy to watch a master of his trade shine time and time again on the biggest stage.
1st Cote D'Azur (14/1)
2nd Two for Two
4th Spring Offensive
1545. It's a record eighth 2000 Guineas victory for Aidan O'Brien and brilliant from Ryan Moore, who steers the 6/4 favourite to a narrow victory from the fast-finishing pair of Barney Roy and Al Wukair.
1st Churchill (6/4 fav)
2nd Barney Roy
3rd Al Wukair
1535. Will it be a first Classic success for Frankel (Eminent, Dream Castle)? Another for Andre Fabre with Al Wukair, or can something muscle into the picture from elsewhere?
We're about to find out as they circle in front of the stalls ahead of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
1530. The ground is obviously pretty quick out there and Al Wukair has been easy to back all day, presumably on account of the conditions, but he's fairly solid on course now and into 9/2 in several places. Barney Roy has been nothing but positive since storming home in the Greenham over seven furlongs and he remains 7/2 behind the 13/8 favourite.
Churchill is drifting and can now be backed at 7/4 across the boards.
1527 From Uttoxeter back to Newmarket and they're parading for the 2000 Guineas, the first of five Classics in the British Flat season. The bell rings and Ryan Moore is off to get the leg up on Dewhurst winner Churchill.
1525. The market gets it spot-on with Space Oddity running out a ready winner, Hargam looking fairly laboured in second.
1520. Space Oddity now fav, Hargam out to 11/8...
1518. For those of a jumping persuasion, Hargam is just going to post at Uttoxeter ahead of his chasing debut. He's got two to beat but is only just clinging onto favouritism ahead of Space Oddity, who also debuts over birch. They were 137 and 132-rated hurdlers respectively.
Aidan Coleman rides the jolly and he must be in a very strong position for the top job with JP McManus in Britain if Barry Gerraghty continues to struggle with injuries.
1508. Sky Bet have reacted to today's results at Newmarket, with Marsha 5/1 from 16/1 for the King's Stand after her win in the Palace House.
Seventh Heaven is 4/1 from 6/1 for the Coronation Cup and 7/1 from 10/1 for the King George.
That Coronation Cup price could be a gift - if only we knew the plans...
1502. The first of the O'Brien 'good things' goes in and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see Churchill shorten up a bit now with plenty of doubles no doubt being struck.
Seventh Heaven took a bit of stoking up but the winner showed all her class to quicken a furlong and a half from home and she's drawn away well from a staying-on but ultimately one-paced One Foot In Heaven.
A pretty straightforward victory, all things considered, and bigger things await the daughter of Galileo, who has entries in the Middleton Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Coronation Cup, Price Of Wales's, Hardwicke and Pretty Polly.
No shortage of future options then.
1st Seventh Heaven (4/7 fav)
2nd One Foot In Heaven
1455. Quick update if you've played the Pick 7 game this afternoon. We've had a massive entry but 'only' 2,284 selected first race winner Gossiping (25/1).
1454. They're on the way to post for the Group Two Jockey Club and Seventh Heaven looks like she's grown another inch. Last year's Yorkshire Oaks winner has the best form in the book by some way and Galapiat needs to make a massive step up on his handicap efforts to trouble her.
The main danger looks to be Alain De Royer-Dupre's One Foot In Heaven who wasn't up to the top level in France last year but was a solid Group Two performer and has a recent run having not been disgraced over 10 furlongs at Chantilly last month. Going back up in distance looks a big plus here.
1450. Not long until the Jockey Club Stakes, for which Seventh Heaven is 4/6 favourite, but a quick update on the 2000 Guineas itself, with Craven winner Eminent really weak now out to 7/1 and Churchill also easing slightly and 13/8 in places.
There's money around for Greenham second Dream Castle and Value Bet selection Lancaster Bomber, who was tipped at 33/1 yesterday and is now 25/1 best and 22s generally. Nibbles for Larchmont Lad and the O'Brien third string Spirit Of Valor, who's into 66/1.
1st Gossiping (25/1)
2nd Make Music
3rd The Warrior
1438. Nice seven furlong handicap coming up at Goodwood, where the Hannons do so well. They've got Eltezam under Pat Dobbs but he looks the Al Shaqab second-string behind Zwayyan who bids to give Fran Berry a double on the day. William Haggas' charge has been gelded since disappointing slightly when last seeen at Newmartket in September. The betting would suggest he's been going well in the build-up to this.
It's Lightning Charlie for Value Bet followers and he's now an 8/1 shot.
1428. No mean feat conceding weight all round in top sprints and Sir Mark Prescott's filly Marsha is clearly right out of the top drawer. She beat Washington DC in the Abbaye when last seen in October and has done the same again despite drifting slightly towards the centre of the track under maximum pressure.
Prescott all smiles on the RUK slow-mo. Wonderful scenes. Winning rider Luke Morris admits to being slightly "surprised" by the win in post-race interview with Racing UK. He also suggested she got to the front "a bit too soon" and suggested she got a bit tired on the climb to the line.
Another decent run in this race from Goldream, who at eight remains a seriously capable sprinter on the right conditions.
1st Marsha (8/1)
2nd Washington DC
1419. It's the Palace House up next at Newmarket and there's an extra place on offer with Sky Bet, who are paying out on the first five places (1/5). Dancing Star the pick of Ben Linfoot and it's Goldream each-way for myself. Meanwhile, Washington DC is the favourite having been well supported all day. With Seventh Heaven and Churchill/Lancaster Bomber to come it'll be a good confidence booster for the O'Brien team if this colt goes in. He loves to hear his hooves rattle and his consistency can't be knocked.
1414. Well, more fool me. Best horse in level-weights race wins. A deserving success for a well-bred Teofilo filly who went close in last year's Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot. Well done to our man Fran Berry, who has some more interesting ones to come.
1st Ajman Princess (6/1)
2nd Elysian Fields
3rd Dance The Dream
1401. Listed race at Goodwood (2.05) sees Dubka top of the market. For those who took the early prices about Ajman Princess it's grim reading as she's now right out to 13/2 from about 9/4. She is well clear on the official figures and doesn't have any penalties to deal with. Those who simply read the facts and bet accordingly will be looking to fill their boots here. I'm happy to take a slightly more cautious approach. I just don't like that mammoth drift, not one bit.
1356. Something of a turn-up in the first with Sir Michael Stoute taking top spot but with Ballet Concerto's stablemate Playful Sound under William Buick, who rides Larchmont Lad in the big one. Next Stage looked like he'd nailed the gamble at the furlong marker but the extra yardage today compared to last time just caught him out. Perhaps he doesn't want more than a mile, perhaps the filly just showed a slightly better attitude when it mattered most. Either way, it's a strong start at Newmarket for the layers. The runner-up hit 1.05 on the in-play exchange markets.
1st Playful Sound (10/1)
2nd Next Stage
3rd Central Square
1347. Expect Grapevine to be held up and delivered late by Jamie Spencer. He proved he could handle quick ground when just denied on his Newbury reappearance but he could ultimately prefer a little bit of ease underfoot.
Godolphin's Next Stage is the latest being heavily punted and he's now actually joint-fav with Ballet Concerto. The son of Dubawi certainly takes the eye and he looked to win with a bit in hand over the bare mile here at the Craven meeting. Best of luck if you've played at Newmarket today, but Abareeq each-way for me.
1345. Mick Channon and Graham Lee win the first at Goodwood with October Storm and now we're moments away from the opener at HQ, where our expert Ben Linfoot has two on side with Abareeq and Grapevine, who have both attracted support. Ballet Concerto is strong at the top of the market after his Donny win and he's a best of 5/2.
1335. We're under way in Ireland with Peticoatgovernment winning the fillies' handicap at Cork under Billy Lee. It's a successful start for favourites as the 100/30 jolly obliges. That's four winners from his last six runners for trainer Willie McCreery. Impressive form. He's got three more to come including 7/4 chhance Diarist in the 5.30.
1332. I realise we're already pretty heavy on tips on site today and Ian's highlighted several interesting runners across the cards earlier in today's blog but I can't resist a small word for Burnt Sugar in the 5.15 at Doncaster. One or two northern dogs (Yorkshire Terriers, no doubt) have been barking and the money is definitely coming for this well-handicapped Roger Fell runner. He was a 112 horse at his peak for Richard Hannon and is having just his third start for the yard since being gelded. There's still a spot of 9/1 if you're quick.
1325. Other fancies of my own at Newmarket this afternoon are Goldream in the Palace House and Via Serendipity in the last. Hugo Palmer's runner goes handicapping from a mark of 92 after his fifth in the Greenham and moving up to a mile for the first time should bring about some improvement based on his pedigree.
1318. The Guineas is one of those races where the same names tend to pop up and the Hannons have done remarkably well with some relatively limited colts in this event over the years.
They've got the highly-regarded Greenham winner Barney Roy as their main hope and he's bound to win some nice races as the season goes on. Ben Linfoot makes an interesting counter-argument against he and Craven winner Eminent, who are both quite inexperienced and I could certainly see that being a possible issue. Barney Roy's stablemate Larchmond Lad was the subject of my antepost money at 40/1 and he remains the same price today after a moderate-looking effort in the Craven.
However, I was at HQ that day and Hannon did stress that the horse might just improve for the run and stressed he was being trained specifically for the Guineas. I still quite like his chances and the shape of the race (10 runners, two no-hopers) means it's crying out for an each-way bet.
1312. Thanks to Ian for the early coverage and he's now handed over. I'm Matt Brocklebank and I'm in the hot-seat to guide you through a pretty hectic day's racing action.
And what a time to be alive. With the first Classic of the season comes a huge amount of hope and expectation and even at the end of the day I'm sure plenty of the beaten runners will be talked up as potential Derby (or St Leger?) candidates.
Churchill is clearly already at the top of the Derby betting, but can he take the 2000 Guineas en route. Chesham winners don't win the Guineas, do they?
1252. The first race of the day comes from Cork and in the second on their card (at 2.00) is a horse that caught my eye on her debut.
She's done little in three starts since to suggest that I was in any way right but if Passionatta pops up at 25s today, I will be claiming her as a winner!
A more likely winner is Son Of The Stars in the last at Newmarket who was still in the Guineas reckoning when winning at Chelmsford but Richard Hannon has gone down the handicap route instead.
Murt enjoyed a profitable April and has three selections at Uttoxeter.
1233. Some Willoughby adjectives used to describe Al Wukair include indolent, disorganised and devastating.
Will he be more professional today or is he so talented that it won't matter?
1225. I've got half an ear on Racing UK and they've just played an interview with James Doyle who rides Barney Roy and James Willoughby is a fan of the Hannon runner.
Doyle revealed that it took him a long time to pull up Barney Roy at Newbury where he 'dropped his shoulder like a panther' Willoughby reports Tom Segal as saying.
The question for Willougby though is whether Barney Roy can put in the hard yards on this relatively quick turnaround but there is no doubt that Churchill can.
1223. As for myself? Well, I'm a fan of Churchill. I just like the way he goes about his business, he's not that electric sort of colt but he keeps getting the job done.
Nothing remotely original there but I did like the look of Truth Or Dare at Doncaster tonight, he isn't badly handicapped on the best of his form for William Muir and the booking of Jamie Spencer on the six-year-old's debut for James Bethell takes the eye.
Spencer heads north from Newmarket for four rides on Town Moor and all look to have decent claims.
1213. As well as the joy of watching top class racehorses, most of us would also like a winner or two to help the day tick along and I've got good news for you on that front.
There's plenty to get stuck into on site with columnists Richard Fahey, Mike Cattermole, Fran Berry, Simon Holt, Donn McClean and much more besides.
There'll also be a fresh perspective through the afternoon with Matt Brocklebank taking over the reins from me (and now I've just realised I never introduced myself this morning. Hello, I'm Ian) and he'll no doubt have a useful snippet or two to share.
1204. You'll see the link at the top of the page to Sky Bet and here are a few details of some of the specials that are available today.
There's Money Back in the 150 at Newmarket if your selection is second or third and there are three extra place races, namely the 220 at Newmarket, the 3.40 at Thirsk and the 515 at Doncaster.
Sky Bet will also be top price on all favourites at Doncaster this evening plus there's the Price Boosts (detailed below), Jockey Boosts and more besides.
1153. It's not all about the Guineas though and we will try and keep you in touch with what's going on elsewhere.
The undercard at Newmarket is of obvious interest but there's a couple of Listed races at Goodwood, a £15k chase at Uttoxeter which rather took me by surprise, the Thirsk Hunt Cup and more besides.
Do you remember when Farhh won the Thirsk Hunt Cup? I don't suppose there's a dual Group One winner lurking in today's field but you never know.
1140. A few more snippets from The Opening Show where Oli Bell and Jason Weaver were joined by Dettori.
Dettori couldn't see past Churchill who could provide Aidan O'Brien with a record (eighth I think) win in the race. He was interesting on Al Wukair who was ridden cold in the Djebel before picking up stylishly, warning that such tactics aren't easy to employ at Newmarket where front runners are often favoured.
1128. There are a few notable non-runners today and you can find them and the latest going by . Newmarket nons include Berkshire, Profitable and Across The Stars - the latter's absence has left Seventh Heaven as a short-priced favourite in the Jockey Club Stakes.
1118. We've got some market movers from the Sky Bet offices along with the firm's Price Boosts and a tip of the day from the traders.
14.20 – Washington DC 5/1 from 8/1
14.55 – One Foot In Heaven 10/3 from 11/2
15.35 – Eminent 11/2 from 7/1
16.10 – The Wagon Wheel 15/2 from 9/1
16.45 – Majoris 12/1 from 16/1
13.35 – October Storm 7/1 from 10/1
15.15 – Just Us Two 10/1 from 16/1
16.25 – Harry Beau 5/1 from 15/2
13.55 – Seen The Lyte 5/1 from 10/1
15.40 – Cote dAzur 11/1 from 20/1
13.40 – Park House 5/1 from 7/1
17.05 – River Of Intrigue 7/2 from 6/1
17.15 – Handsome Dude 5/1 from 13/2
17.50 – Jim Rockford 5/2 from 5/1
15.35 Newmarket: 2000 Guineas - Churchill - Feature Boost
14.05 Goodwood: Daisy Warwick Stakes - Ajman Princess
15.20 Uttoxeter - Hargam
15.30 Wexford - Stars Over The Sea
16.20 Cork - Harbour Beacon
17.35 Hexham - Slim Pickens
20.20 Doncaster - Vuela
16.15 Thirsk - Olivia Fallow
220 Newmarket- Muthmir
With Marsha having a penalty and over half the field making their seasonal debuts there should be no excuses from Muthmir with ideal conditions. A strong pace looks guaranteed which suits this strong traveller and with the ground riding fast he should go really well after his warm up victory at Bath three weeks ago. Look out for the extra places on this race and Sky Bet are paying on the first 5 on e-w bets.
1115. I've got The Opening Show on the +1 channel and my favourite quote so far is from Eminent's trainer Martyn Meade who said 'the others do worry me a little bit'.
I've not heard too much of Meade being interviewed but I imagine there's a little bit of whimsy involved there. Make no mistake, he's a big fan of his colt but he's worried that this might come too soon and the Derby is very much on his mind.
Fellow Opening Show guest Frankie Dettori felt that Eminent had been underestimated.
1109. Good morning and welcome to our Saturday racing blog as we hope to guide you through the day's action.
Taking centre stage of course is the Qipco 2000 Guineas where Churchill is a warm order but there will be plenty of support for Eminent who could write his name large in the history books in becoming the first Frankel to win a Classic.