The Classics 2024: Eye-catching Performances from Guineas Weekend

Guineas Weekend is always one of the most anticipated moments on the UK horse racing calendar with the first Classics of the season taking place at Newmarket. These prestigious races often give us plenty of clues ahead of upcoming major flat racing events and there are always one or two competitors who tend to catch the eye of the experts. We’ve picked out some of the runners who managed to make a significant impression at the Suffolk track at the beginning of May. 

Saturday

Notable Speech was victorious on Saturday afternoon for trainer Charlie Appleby at a price of 16-1. City of Troy, who began the race as an odds-on favourite could not justify the market support and ended up finishing down the field in ninth. 

Notable Speech will obviously attract admiring glances and remains unbeaten after four starts. The talented three-year old colt has been installed as one of the favourites for the St. James’ Palace Stakes by the majority of UK bookmakers. Many of this weekend’s competitors will head straight to Royal Ascot and those who enjoy an ante-post bet on horse racing will already be looking ahead to the June meeting at the Berkshire track and starting to plan their long-term flutters. 

Ghostwriter didn’t get much luck in running on Saturday afternoon. The Clive Cox colt had won his first three starts, yet having dwelt at the start, he clipped the heels of another runner and had to steady himself within the first few furlongs. Ghostwriter was unable to regain his poise until charging through to grab fourth place in the final furlong. 

His trainer said that the French Guineas would be the aim, although he also has entries for the Dubai Dante Stakes at York, the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St. James’ Palace Stakes. This long-striding individual looked fit and could be a force to be reckoned with in 2024. 

The Palace House Stakes was a fiercely contested event and there were several eye-catching runs on display. Vadream and Twilight Calls are the two horses to take from the race with the impressive pair finishing second and fourth respectively. The former went off at 14/1 for Charlie Fellowes and despite ducking at the start, managed to stay in touch with the leaders and briefly led before being pegged back at a late stage. In contrast, Twilight Calls was stuck at the back of the pack and showed a fantastic turn of foot to rattle home in fourth place. It’ll be interesting to see how the gelding gets on when competing in the King Charles III Stakes next month. 

Funny Story kept on strongly to finish second under a superb ride from Rossa Ryan and is one to keep an eye on going forward. The promising filly finished within a length of William Haggas’ Unequal Love in the listed Ellen Chaloner Stakes and it’ll be interesting to track her progress throughout the summer of 2024. 

Sunday 

Silvestre de Sousa claimed his first Classic success when partnering Elmalka to victory in the 1,000 Guineas. The Roger Varian-trained filly was having just her third start and was the slowest out of the stalls. At 28-1, she wasn’t expected to make much of an impression at Newmarket, however, she found a perfect passage through a tiring field to finish in front. 

Although Elmalka’s name will be added to the list of Classic winners, it was Tamfana who arguably caught the eye back in fourth. David Menuisier’s charge was given a patient ride by Jamie Spencer, yet was denied a clear run twice and still managed to power home to finish within a length of the winner. Although the three-year-old hasn’t been confirmed for Royal Ascot, she is already penciled in for a run in the Betfred Oaks at the end of month. 

Ramatuelle, who finished third also showed plenty of ability but didn’t quite see out the trip. Ylang Ylang ran a decent race in fifth and may need a little further in time. Aidan O’Brien’s horse could be one to watch in the aforementioned Betfred Oaks. 

Friendly Soul was the other notable winner on Sunday’s card. The 22/1 prospect beat the 4/6 favourite by over a length in the Pretty Polly Stakes and rarely looked like surrendering the lead despite being challenged by a couple of rivals. The Gosden-trained runner is now two from two and already has Royal Ascot entries for the Group 1 Coronation Stakes and the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.