Just twenty-four hours after the dust settles on the first Classic of the new Flat season with the 2017 running of Qipco 2000 Guineas, the fillies get their turn in the sun with their equivalent 1000 Guineas showpiece.
The fillies’ Classic gets underway at 3.35pm on Sunday 7th May over the same course and distance as the colts’ race on Saturday, and boasting a first-prize in excess of £280,000, a strong field of top-class three-year olds will line up over the one mile trip.
Aidan O’Brien is once again responsible for the ante-post favourite in the race, having saddled the top-class Minding to win in 2016, and the Ballydoyle maestro will turn out another strong hand for the race headed by his Rhododendron
) who won three of her five starts last term, which included a defeat of stablemate Hydrangea
) to win the Dubai Fillies’ Mile on her last start.
Rhododendron will spearhead a strong Ballydoyle challenge for the fillies' Classic.
The Galileo filly ran out an impressive winner, showing a good burst of speed to take up the running between the last two furlongs before powering clear under Ryan Moore. She boasts obvious claims, as does dual-winner WUHEIDA
) from the Godolphin yard who would bid to defend an unbeaten record having won both her starts.
Charlie Appleby’s charge made a taking impression when beating Spatial by just over one length here on debut; and the Dubawi filly stepped up on that effort when fast-tracked into Group company to contest the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly, beating Promise To Be True and Dabyah to that Group One prize.
She looks sure to improve this term, and likely to get further in time given her breeding she holds a solid chance, although the Godolphin record in this race is abysmal since Blue Bunting won for Mahmood Al Zarooni back in 2011; while no horse in the last ten years has successfully defended an unbeaten record heading into the Fillies’ classic.
That is a not-inconsiderable statistic to overcome; nevertheless, she looked very smart in that French success, and with the potential for better she could be the answer.
Wuheida had Dabyah behind when winning the Prix Marcel Boussac.
John Gosden’s Dabyah
(16/1, Sky Bet
) was losing her unbeaten record in that race, having won her previous starts at this venue over the July Course, and at Newbury previously.
The Sepoy filly cast a bold sight from the front at Chantilly, and she showed plenty of determination to keep on all the way to the line having tried to steal a march on rivals when kicked clear entering the final two furlongs.
She had plenty of use made of her in that race, and there is a suspicion she did too much early; while Wuheida mostly matched her in that race although was outpaced for a few strides when the Gosden runner went for home.
The Godolphin runner was strong at the finish, and while there shouldn’t be much between the pair again, Charlie Appleby’s charge should confirm that form.
Frankel progeny Fair Eva
(16/1, Paddy Power
) and Queen Kindly
) saw their progress flatten out towards the end of last season, with the former beaten here in the Rockfel Stakes; while the latter came off the back of a York win to finish only fourth behind Brave Anna in the Cheveley Park.
Fair Eva saw her progress stall last term.
The step up to one mile may unlock some further improvement in both Frankel fillies, both of whom had shown smart form prior to their respective defeats; while William Haggas’ Sea Of Grace
(16/1, William Hill
) and Andrew Balding’s Poet’s Vanity both won back-to-back races last term and are others open to improvement.
The former was a Group Three winner in Ireland when trained by John Oxx, and the Born To Sea filly could improve for the switch to this yard; however, she is bred for further than this but showed a good attitude when battling well to beat a well-regarded sort of Dermot Weld’s in Eziyra.
(20/1, William Hill
) also won a Grade Three last time, beating Glitter Girl to land the Oh So Sharp Stakes here in October, having previously posted an impressive Salisbury success when beating Contentment by ten lengths.
While that form is probably nothing special, she had also shaped with some ability despite greenness when finishing fourth behind Wuheida on her debut over the July Course.