Best 1,000 Guineas Winners of the 21st Century

Rowley Mile at Newmarket Racecourse

Late April/early May each year sees one of the most anticipated weekends of the flat racing season, as Newmarket plays host to the three-day Guineas Festival. The colts take to the stage in the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday afternoon, before the spotlight then shines upon the best of the three-year-old fillies in Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas.

Not all 1,000 Guineas heroines go on to greatness, with no fewer than eight winners since the turn of the century failing to win another race. However, for every filly for whom this represented a final peak, there is another who went on to further embellish their legacy. Here we remember five of the best since the year 2000.

5. 2003: Russian Rhythm

  • Trainer – Sir Michael Stoute
  • Sire – Kingmambo
  • Peak Career Rating – 120

Sir Michael Stoute’s Cheveley Park runner, Russian Rhythm, had made a perfect start to her career at two, winning her first three outings. She was however beaten on her final juvenile outing when turned over at odds-on in the Cheveley Park Stakes. A combination of that defeat and negative vibes from connections, saw the mount of Kieran Fallon sent off at odds of 12/1 for the Guineas, having been as short as 5/2. Despite that market drift, the filly proved well suited by the step up to a mile, weaving through the field to surge clear in the final furlong.

Firmly back on track, the good-looking chestnut backed up her Classic success with impressive wins in the Coronation Stakes, and Nassau Stakes over 1m2f, where she displayed admirable guts and determination to go with her undoubted class. Defeats followed in the late-season QEII and the Champion Stakes, but she proved she still had what it takes when landing the Lockinge Stakes on her only start at four.

4. 2017: Winter

  • Trainer – Aidan O’Brien
  • Sire – Galileo
  • Peak Career Rating – 119

The first of three Aidan O’Brien-trained fillies on our list is the beautiful grey, Winter. This daughter of Galileo was beaten in her 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown, and overlooked by Ryan Moore on the day in favour of hot favourite Rhododendron. Moore must have been regretting that decision some way from home, as Winter swept down the outside to hit the front around a furlong out, ultimately coming home two lengths clear at the line.

Winter was then even more impressive on her next outing, when routing the field at the Curragh, to become one of four fillies in the current century to complete the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas double. Again, proving the best of the Classic crop of fillies in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, her final top-level success came when mastering her elders in a gruelling edition of the Nassau Stakes.

3. 2004: Attraction

  • Trainer – Mark Johnston
  • Sire – Efisio
  • Peak Career Rating – 119

Mark Johnston’s greatest-ever filly wasn’t quite so regally bred as others on this list. Nor did she particularly look the part, with her front legs appearing to have a mind of their own at times. However, looks and style aren’t everything, and however she went about it, Attraction managed to get the job done more often than not. A perfect five from five at two years of age, she carried that success into the Guineas, when making all the running in tenacious style for a game half-length success.

Sent over to the Curragh for her next start, the result was the same, as the mount of Kevin Darley led them all in a merry dance to become another member of the dual Guineas winners club. Perhaps the most impressive performance of her career then came at Ascot, where she brilliantly made it eight wins on the bounce in the Coronation Stakes. Three defeats followed, but she was back on track with a narrow win in the Sun Chariot Stakes, before adding the Matron Stakes to her Group 1 haul in 2005.

2. 2020: Love

  • Trainer – Aidan O’Brien
  • Sire – Galileo
  • Peak Career Rating – 122

The second of three entries representing the irresistible Aidan O’Brien/Galileo combination, Love had enjoyed a productive juvenile season, with three wins from seven starts, including in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. Raced just three times during her Classic campaign, her year began with a bang in this race, as that big white face came storming home down the outside for a four-and-a-quarter length success.

Good as that 1,000 Guineas triumph was, her next start in the Oaks was even better. Few mares would have got anywhere near Love on that June afternoon at Epsom, as she scorched the turf for a tremendous nine-length success. The Yorkshire Oaks proved to be similarly one-way traffic on her final start at three years old, before she picked up the last of her career wins in the 2021 edition of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

1. 2016: Minding

  • Trainer – Aidan O’Brien
  • Sire – Galileo
  • Peak Career Rating – 122

A brilliant win in the Fillies’ Mile over this course and distance saw one of Galileo’s greatest daughters rocket to the head of the market for this, and she never looked like disappointing favourite backers on the day. Prominent throughout, Ryan Moore pushed his mount into the lead two furlongs from home, and the response was immediate as she quickened to go three and a half lengths clear of the field and maintained that advantage to the line.

Her next start resulted in a shock defeat in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, but that wasn’t too hard to forgive, considering she badly injured her head as the stalls opened. No such mishaps were in store at Epsom, and the filly promptly bounced right back to her best to mow them all down inside the final furlong. Having won at 1m and 1m4f, Minding then proved the intermediate trip of 1m2f to be no obstacle when bagging both the Pretty Polly Stakes and the Nassau Stakes. She then rounded off her campaign when beating the best of the colts and older horses back at a mile in the QEII, to make it seven Group 1 victories from nine attempts.