Four of the last six renewals of the Qipco 1000 Guineas, which takes place on Newmarket’s famous Rowley Mile at 3.35pm on Sunday afternoon, have gone to mesrs Smith, Magnier and Tabor and once again, the Coolmore gang are heartily represented in 2018. Godolphin
Rightfully heading the market is the wonderfully bred, very talented and dual Group 1 winning Happily, who finished down the field in the Fillies’ Mile at Del Mar when last seen in November. She is better judged on her efforts closer to home before that however, most notably when winning a good renewal of the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, before following up in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere at Chantilly on Arc day the following month.
She has amassed plenty of experience to date too, which will count for a lot in this strong 18-runner field — but is she too short at around 5/2, with so much equine talent in opposition? All the recent money has been for Charlie Appleby’s Soliloquy, a good looking and progressive filly by Dubawi who William Buick has opted to ride instead of Wild Illusion, on the back of a promising success in the Nell Gywn last month. She could be the one and has recent match practice on her side, but she does need another step forward to win this Classic.
Mick Channon has enjoyed a tremendous start to the season and his recently supplemented Dan’s Gift would be a popular winner and the daughter of Cityscape is going the right way, but you’d have to wonder if she has the absolute class to win a 1000 Guineas, should could easily hit the frame though. Similar can be said of O’Brien’s second string – I Can Fly – who requires a big step forward on one or two fairly promising Trial runs to so far, but cannot be discounted.
At around 8-9/1, I quite like the chances of the Karl Burke trained LAURENS, a strong stayer over this one mile distance and certainly one of the form horses. She denied September to land the Fillies’ Mile here back in October, she’s highly regarded and if they go really fast early on, she should be staying on strongly late-on under PJ McDonald, who knows the filly well having ridden her on all four starts to date.
The second of my fancies in this very tough contest is a real dark horse in the shape of Willie McCreery’s LIQUID AMBER, a filly we’ve not seen since she really caught the eye in a Group 3 at the Curragh last August. She’s a stylish and talented chestnut who could be over-priced and underrated here, for all she has a lot on her plate after such a long time off the track. But putting her away was a deliberate move by her shrewd and capable trainer and in Billy Lee, she will be assisted in the saddle by one of the best riders in Ireland for my money.
It is easy to be charmed by the Godolphin & Coolmore fillies and perhaps taking them on is folly, but I’m going to have a go anyway. A third of the field is taken up by their charges, but a few quid each-way on Laurens and Liquid Amber will do for me, in an attempt to penetrate the powerhouses in favour and hope of a day in the Sun for the “smaller man”.
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