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2019 1000 Guineas tips – Ante-post preview and two tips for fillies’ Classic at Newmarket

Billesdon Brook (right) scores a surprise victory in last year's 1000 Guineas.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for first fillies’ Classic of the season and provides readers with his tips for Newmarket on Sunday 5th May.

Guineas weekend comes to a close in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon, as a field of the finest fillies in the sport line up in the second Classic of the 2019 campaign. The list of previous winners of the 1000 Guineas reads like a who’s who of British flat racing - with greats like Pretty Polly, Sweet Solera, Oh So Sharp and Minding adorning the incredible roll of honour. Our expert has taken a look through the ante-post betting for this year’s renewal to find his best bets.

2019 1000 Guineas Preview

Best Of British

The strangle-hold Ireland had on the 2019 1000 Guineas was broken earlier this month, as Qabala (7/2 Ladbrokes) romped into Classic contention with an excellent victory in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. A 66/1 shot in the Classic betting before that trial, Roger Varian's filly extended her unbeaten record in fine style, surging home from an unpromising position to claim an emphatic victory.

The first Guineas Trial on British soil was he Fred Darling Stakes and it was David Elsworth's Dandhu (12/1 William Hill) who prevailed. Gerald Mosse was forced to hold his mount up after a sluggish start, but once Dandhu got rolling down the centre of the track, she managed to assert her class and claim a narrow victory. Dandhu was nowhere near as impressive as Qabala, but it's safe to say there's more to come from this filly as she steps up in distance.

Pretty Pollyanna (20/1 Betfair) sat happily atop the ante-post betting for the Guineas last summer, following back-to-back triumphs in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes and the Group One Prix Morny over in Deauville. Results drifted towards the end of the season, with Michael Bell’s filly losing out in the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Fillies’ Mile, but Pretty Pollyanna still had an exceptional two-year-old season and shouldn’t be written off in 2019.

Top Irish Raiders

The news that Patrick Prendergast was to surrender his training license and join forces with two-time Derby winner, John Oxx was a big talking point in Ireland over the summer. Skitter Scatter (8/1 Coral) is one of those now stationed in the former trainer of Sea The Star’s stable and Oxx will be an integral cog in her Guineas preparations.

Skitter Scatter progressed beautifully in 2018 - beating Sergei Prokofiev over five furlongs on her second start, before beating Lady Kaya to the Moyglare Stud Stakes on her seventh and final outing of the season. Skitter Scatter brings some of the best form figures with her to Newmarket and seeing out the extra furlong should be no trouble for this four-time Group race winner.

As with practically every major race on the level, Aidan O’Brien is the name to be feared in the 1000 Guineas. While it’s often very difficult to get a handle on which of the Ballydoyle entrants is the best, Just Wonderful (9/1 William Hill) has been touted as O’Brien’s leading hope on the Classic front this term and the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes winner has valuable course form in the bag.

So does stablemate Fairyland (12/1 Betfair), who successfully held off The Mackem Bullet in a trilling finish to the Cheveley Park Stakes. Fairyland lost just one of her five appearances as a two-year-old, ending the season with two Group race victories and she looks to have the right blend of strength and speed to succeed over a mile.

Skitter Scatter (left) romps home to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Likely To Miss Out

The first Guineas Trial of the season went the way of Lady Kaya, who saw off a handful of Guineas entrants in convincing fashion at Leopardstown. Sheila Lavery sent her stable star over to Newmarket for the Cheveley Park and she would be a big danger were she to make the trip once again. Lady Kaya’s current lengthy odds, however, suggest the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh will be her primary target.

So Perfect is the only Ballydoyle resident entered into this Saturday’s Fred Darling Stakes and she’s a horse I followed with intrigue last term. In a recent stable tour, O’Brien said So Perfect isn’t a guaranteed stayer over a mile and the big sprints will be on her agenda during the first half of the campaign, so I’d be surprised if she turned up at Newmarket – unless she demolishes the field at Newbury.

In the very same stable tour, O’Brien spoke in glowing terms of Pink Dogwood and he feels this daughter of Camelot could challenge for Classics this term. The master of Ballydoyle seems to have the Oaks in mind for Pink Dogwood, making an outing over eight furlongs in the Guineas highly unlikely.

Just Wonderful (left) cruising to Shadwell Rockfel Stakes glory.

Potential Oaks Horses

Hermosa (20/1 Coral) is another who will thrive over trips further than a mile, but she could be an integral part of Aidan O’Brien’s Guineas team. The Galileo filly impressed with her consistency last season, winning two of her seven starts, with three placed efforts in Group Ones to her name. Hermosa was positioned perfectly to challenge in the Fillies’ Mile before fading in the final furlong, but she will return to Newmarket a year older and a year stronger.

After a smart maiden victory over Zagitova and a Group Three triumph at Goodwood, Antonia De Vega (33/1 Ladbrokes) was a fancied 5/1 shot heading into the Fillies’ Mile. As soon as the gates were flung open, however, it was clear Ralph Beckett’s filly wasn’t on a going day and Harry Bentley was easing his mount down well before the line. The style of her victory at Goodwood suggests Antonia De Vega will get further than eight furlongs and she’s got the ability in her to contend for major honours.

Star Terms (40/1 Paddy Power) could be included in the final section of this piece, as her current odds do not currently reflect the form Richard Hannon’s filly produced as a juvenile. Star Terms was good value for her narrow victory in a handicap here at Newmarket during the summer and she was able to transfer that form into Grouped races, following Fleeting home in the May Hill Stakes before losing out in the Prix Marcel Boussac. A mile may be a little on the short side for this improving sort, but Star Terms is one to side with moving forwards.

Star Terms (second left) finishing a close second to Fleeting (centre, blue) in the May Hill Stakes.

Overlooked Outsiders

Iridessa (16/1 Betfair) may have fallen to a comfortable defeat behind Lady Kaya on her reappearance, but Joseph O’Brien’s filly shaped with plenty of promise and shouldn’t be written off after just one run. Wayne Lordan’s mount was an unfancied 14/1 shot heading in last year’s Fillies’ Mile, before cruising to a surprise victory. Iridessa carried herself like a classy horse that day and the O’Brien team are confident she will come on from that unsuccessful return.

Mot Juste (20/1 Ladbrokes) may have been beaten by her stablemate in the Nell Gwyn, Roger Varian’s filly has plenty to build from when she enters the Guineas. The Distorted Humour filly romped to victory from an unfavourable draw in a maiden at Beverley and upset Angel’s Hideaway to win the Oh So Sharp Stakes at odds of 12/1 last season. Qabala proved a little too classy on the day, but Mot Juste looks capable of improvement over the coming months.  

East (20/1 Ladbrokes) carried an unbeaten record into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, having secured two comfortable wins at Hamilton and Saint-Cloud. Newspaperofrecord was in imperious form on the day but, despite landing a horrible wide draw, Jamie Spencer’s mount made up stacks of ground late on to finish a seven-length runner-up. A turning track like Ascot or Goodwood may suit better, but East is not a challenger to be overlooked.

Main Edition (right) flying home to win the Albany Stakes.

Look At Those Odds

While many of her British counterparts started out at Newbury and Newmarket, Simon Crisford sent Imperial Charm (66/1 Paddy Power) to Longchamp to take part in the Grade Three Prix de la Grotte. Andrea Atzeni also made the trip across the channel to take the ride and the 15/1 shot performed well, finishing just two lengths behind the winner in second. This daughter of Dubawi has some solid form on the Rowley Mile, dismantling a field of fellow novices on her final start of 2018 and could be one to watch when she returns to home soil.

No runner of Aidan O’Brien’s can be written off in a Classic and Fleeting (66/1 Betfair) looks highly likely to be part of Ballydoyle’s Guineas squad. Stepping up to a mile really suited Fleeting at the end of last season, with a third-place finish behind Just Wonderful at the Curragh and a victory over Star Terms at Doncaster putting the Zoffany filly in a lovely position heading into the new season.

Fairyland surging to victory in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

2019 1000 Guineas Tip 1

While you cannot deny Qabala was extremely impressive in the Nell Gwyn, I still feel the Irish fillies are a little way ahead of this year's crop of British contenders. Skitter Scatter could be the best of the Irish battalion on last season’s form. I do fear, however, that connections may chose to swerve a return to Newmarket in favour of a tilt at the Irish 1000 Guineas instead.

Just Wonderful is a progressive filly who I will want to keep on-side as she steps up in trip, but over a mile, I fancy her stablemate FAIRYLAND will be a force to be reckoned with this term.

I love any horse shows they have the stomach for a fight and Fairyland did plenty of battling at the top table last term. Aidan O’Brien’s filly had to work really hard to see off The Mackem Bullet in both the Lowther Stakes and the Cheveley Park, but she did just enough to win on both occasions and the runner-up has gone on to prove herself a fairly decent yardstick.

The only time Fairyland lost last season was in the Albany Stakes, where she found herself on the slowest portion of the track and was still on beaten a length. Kodiac may be better known for producing sprinters, but I have no fears Fairyland won’t see out the trip on the Rowley Mile. She could be a very exciting filly moving forwards.

Iridessa (centre) bursts through to beat Hermosa (left) and Pretty Pollyanna (right) in the Fillies' Mile.

2019 1000 Guineas Tip 2

To see last year’s Top European Filly, Pretty Pollyanna sitting at 20/1 is a surprise and she offers plenty of value. I'm still a little doubtful whether she truly stays a mile, so I’m going to go with a proven stayer in IRIDESSA for my second selection.

I was really impressed with the style in which Iridessa put the Fillies’ Mile to bed back in the autumn. Wayne Lordon tracked Pretty Pollyanna for much of the contest, before making her move as the runners came out of the dip. Iridessa had to muscle her way into contention, but once she pierced a gap between the leaders, the result was never in doubt, with Iridessa pulling clear of Hermosa to win rather comfortably.

Yes, she suffered defeat on her reappearance, but there was no shame in losing out to a speedy sort in Lady Kaya, especially over a seven-furlong trip which was clearly a little stiff. Returning to a mile will definitely suit and Iridessa has some valuable course form to fall back on. She will be my big each-way ante-post punt!

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2019 1000 Guineas tips – Ante-post preview and two tips for fillies’ Classic at Newmarket

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for first fillies’ Classic of the season and provides readers with his tips for Newmarket on Sunday 5th March.

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