The History of the Irish 2,000 Guineas

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. With the renewal of the Irish 2,000 Guineas taking place today I thought we could have a little look back at the history of the race including some records, so without further ado, let’s just get right into it!


The Irish 2,000 Guineas is a Group One flat race which takes place at the Curragh in Ireland and is open to three year old colts and fillies. It is ran over 1 mile and takes place in May each year. The first running of the race was in 1921, meaning this year will be the 100th year. In 2020 the race was worth €250,000 with the winner collecting €142,500 of that.

So let’s have a look at some of the winners of the race. Firstly let’s jump into the 1970 running of the race, here Decies won the race with Lester Piggott riding for trainer Bernard van Cutsem and owner Nelson Bunker Hunt. In 1972, Ballymore won the race for jockey Christy Roche, trainer Paddy Prendergast and owner Meg Mullion.

Skipping forward to 1984, Sadler’s Wells won the race for jockey George McGrath, trainer Vincent O’Brien and owner Robert Sangster. He then went on to produce horses for the flat and over obstacles, including 4 times Irish Champion Hurdle, 3 times Champion Hurdle and Punchestown Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq, 2 time Ascot Gold Cup and 2 time Irish St Leger winner Kayf Tara, one of the most famous racehorses in the world, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Galileo who has went on to produce many of the horses we have all known and loved over the years. 4 times Ascot Gold Cup, Coronation Cup, Irish St Leger and Prix Royal Oak winner Yeats, Fillies’ Mile winner Playful Act who holds the world record price of $10.5 million (USD) when sold at the Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale in 2007 and Welsh Grand National, Lexus Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised plus many many more.

In 1986, Flash of Steel won the race for jockey Michael Kinane, trainer Dermot Weld and owner Bertram Firestone. In 1994 and 1995, jockey John Reid and trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam had the winners, Turtle Island in 1994 for owner Robert Sangster and Spectrum in 1995 for owner Lord Weinstock.

We then skip to 1997 and the first victory in the race for the leading trainer in the race Aidan O’Brien when he won with Desert King with Christy Roche on board for owner Michael Tabor. The following two year would be won by jockey Olivier Peslier, in 1998 on Desert Prince for trainer David Loder and owners Lucayan Stud and in 1999 on Saffron Walden for Aidan O’Brien and owner Sue Magnier, the leading owner in the race’s first victory.

We then enter the new millennium and in 2000 Frankie Dettori won the race on Bachir for trainer Saeed bin Suroor and owners Godolphin. The following two years were again won by Aidan O’Brien, in 2001 Johnny Murtagh rode Black Minnaloushe to victory for Sue Magnier and in 2002 Michael Kinane rode Rock of Gibraltar to win for Ferguson / Magnier.

In 2005, Dubawi won the race for jockey Frankie Dettori, trainer Saeed bin Suroor and owners Godolphin. He then went on to sire horses such as Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso, Tingle Creek, Clarence House and Queen Mother Chase winner Dodging Bullets, Hong Kong Cup winner Akeed Mofeed, 2,000 Guineas and Lockinge Stakes winner Night of Thunder, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Dubai Sheema Classic and International Stakes winner Postponed, Grand Prix de Paris winner Erupt, Grosser Preis von Baden, Coronation Cup, Eclipse Stakes and International Stakes winner Ghaiyyath, Dewhurst Stakes, Prix Jean Prat and Sussex Stakes winner Too Darn Hot and plenty of others.

If we then skip forward to 2011, for 3 years Joseph O’Brien won the race riding for his dad Aidan O’Brien for owners Magnier / Tabor. In 2011 Roderic O’Connor won the race, with Power winning in 2012 and Magician in 2013.

In 2014, Kingman won the race for jockey James Doyle, trainer John Gosden and owner Khalid Abdullah. Gleneagles in 2015 for jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Magnier / Tabor and the same trio winning again in 2017 with Churchill. The latest running of the race took place in June of 2020 dur to the COVID 19 pandemic, this was won by Siskin for jockey Colin Keane, trainer Ger Lyons and owner Khalid Abdullah.


So who holds the records?

The leading jockeys with 5 wins each are Tommy Burns who won with Soldennis (1921), Soldumeno (1923), Cornfield (1939), Grand Weather (1947) and Beau Sabreur (1948). And Martin Quirke with Salisbury (1929), Glannarg (1930), Museum (1935), Nearchus (1938) and Khosro (1941).

The leading trainer with 11 wins is Aidan O’Brien who has won the race with Desert King in 1997, Saffron Walden in 1999, Black Minnaloushe in 2001, Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Henrythenavigator in 2008, Mastercraftsman in 2009, Roderic O’Connor in 2011, Power in 2012, Magician in 2013, Gleneagles in 2015 and Churchill in 2017.

The leading owner (since 1950 – Including part ownership) is Sue Magnier with 10 victories, all of which were trained by Aidan O’Brien, these are: Saffron Walden in 1999, Black Minnaloushe in 2001, Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Henrythenavigator in 2008, Mastercraftsman in 2009, Roderic O’Connor in 2011, Power in 2012, Magician in 2013, Gleneagles in 2015 and Churchill in 2017.

This means, every victory in the race for trainer Aidan O’Brien apart from his first being Desert King in 1997, was for Sue Magnier.


Very few horses have completed the 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas double, only 9 have ever been successful, the first being Right Tack in 1969 and the most recent horses being Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Cockney Rebel in 2007, Henrythenavigator in 2008, Gleneagles in 2015 and Churchill in 2017.


So there we have it, a little look back at the history of the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Who do you like the look of for today’s renewal? Let me know over on Twitter!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you all tomorrow at 11am where we look at the history of the Irish 1,000 Guineas ahead of the renewal tomorrow afternoon!