The first Classic of the British Flat season is here as the 2000 Guineas takes centre stage on a spectacular card at Newmarket on Saturday.

Here are Nick Luck’s best bets as well as at Goodwood and Thirsk.

Use our bet calculator to work out your potential winnings.

Newmarket

STARCAT looks a likely big player at 15/2 in Newmarket’s TV opener on 2,000 Guineas Day (1.50pm). A runner in the big race on this day last year, when a respectable seventh behind Kameko, he posted several fair efforts in defeat thereafter, while looking somewhat less than straightforward. There is a strong chance, however, that a gelding operation and this intermediate trip of nine furlongs will bring about an improved performance.

GARRUS is the answer at 11/2 in the Palace House Stakes (2.25pm). Charlie Hills could hardly contain his excitement at running this one at Newbury, and he was far from disgraced trying to concede four pounds to today’s rival Came From The Dark. The slick nature of this track should suit his freewheeling style, he’s well drawn towards the stands side, and he can reverse the form on these better terms.

PYLEDRIVER is a confident pick at 2/1 to get his season off to a perfect start in the Jockey Club Stakes (3.00pm). He is a long way clear on ratings here, earned with his excellent efforts in the Great Voltigeur and the St Leger (didn’t stay). His stable – under its new joint licence – is going well, and he should have a bit too much pace for his rivals here, for all that Al Zaraqaan is an exciting prospect.

THUNDER MOON is just the pick at 5/1 in a very open 2000 Guineas (3.40pm). His win in last season’s National Stakes was the signature juvenile performance of the season, while there are grounds for thinking that he was the best horse in the Dewhurst, when he travelled exceptionally well before fading late. Some believe that was down to lack of stamina, but I’m more inclined to believe that soft ground and a fruitless visit to France the previous weekend might have been enough to take the edge off. He can gain revenge on Wembley here, while a bigger threat may come from Aidan O’Brien’s apparent third string Van Gogh, a hardy and experienced horse as a two-year-old whose pedigree says he’ll come forward significantly and enjoy the soft ground. One Ruler may do best of the rest.

  1. Thunder Moon

  2. Van Gogh

  3. One Ruler

Goodwood

LILAC ROAD can book her ticket to something a bit better in the Listed Conqeuror Stakes at Goodwood (2.05pm) at 2/1. She made quite an impression when thumping the very highly touted Kestenna at Kempton last time and, given it was a three runner race, the time was pretty respectable too. As a three-year-old early in the season, she gets an absolute stack of weight from her elders here and this straightforward filly could take a fair bit of pegging back.

Thirsk

NUGGET can win another valuable handicap in the Thirsk Hunt Cup (2.40pm) at 4/1. Quite impressive on the clock at Newbury last time against two rivals who were similarly well found in the market, he might have been quite lucky to get away with a five pound rise for that success. His profile is most progressive and the likely strong pace here should play to his strengths at this trip.

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