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The 1000 Guineas follows in the footsteps of the 2000 Guineas in kicking off the 2019 flat racing season at Newmarket on Sunday.
The leading fillies in the field will be competing for the crown in the one-mile event. Aidan O’Brien has enjoyed a similar run of success in the 1000 Guineas as he has in the 2000 Guineas.
His horses have won three of the last seven races, including triumphs in 2016 and 2017 with Minding and Winter respectively. Richard Hannon ended his streak of victories at two as Billesdon Brook took the crown last season with a fine performance, defying the odds.
There are a number of quality competitors vying for a place in the winners’ circle this term. We’ll now break down the leading contenders for the title, using the latest betting odds.
Roger Varian sends one of the elite horses into the race aiming to claim the crown. The three-year-old has been established as the favourite for the event due to her form in her fledgling career to date. The American-bred horse made her bow at the end of last season in the Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.
She was named the favourite for the event with Silvestre de Sousa in the saddle. Although Qabala did not make a rapid start to the race, she was able to quickly find her stride on the track to move into contention. The bay filly pulled level with Desirous one furlong from the end of the contest and the two horses battled it out down the stretch. However, Varian’s charge had the pace when it mattered the most to clinch the win by a head.
Qabala returned to the track last month once again at Newmarket in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes. She was named the favourite for the race and this time with David Egan in the saddle, the bay filly was assertive on the track to deliver the victory by one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of her nearest rival. Two wins on the bounce at Newmarket are strong credentials for the 1000 Guineas and at odds of 11/4 3.75 +275 2.75 2.75 -0.36 with Bet365 she is the justified favourite.
The American-bred horse has passed into the hands of John Oxx for the 1000 Guineas out of the yard of PJ Prendergast. The three-year-old is one of the most experienced horses entering the contest with seven races under her belt. She began he career at Dundalk last March in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, placing third.
Skitter Scatter returned to the same racecourse to claim her maiden triumph in a five-furlong event, defeating the Aidan O’Brien trained Sergei Prokofiev by a short head. She was narrowly off the pace in her next outing at the Coolmore Stud Sprint Stakes, although she performed well enough to finish third. A second-place finish at the Grangecon Stud Stakes was to follow – ending half-a-length behind So Perfect.
Skitter Scatter ended the campaign with a flawless record, winning all three of her races, starting at Leopardstown in the Silver Flash Stakes. The American-bred horse finished one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Moravia to clinch the win. An even stronger performance would follow in the Debutante Stakes as Ronan Whelan guided his charge to a dominant victory over the field.
She ended the term at Curragh with her third win on the bounce, triumphing in the Moyglare Stud Stakes by two lengths. Oxx has the experience to get the best out of Skitter Scatter, but her lack of experience at Newmarket could hold back her charge. Treat her odds of 6/1 7.00 +600 6.00 6.00 -0.17 with 888Sport with caution.
Aidan O’Brien does not enter a dominant charge into the event, although Just Wonderful does have pedigree. The bay filly might not have the quality of Winter or Minding, but she still has victories on the circuit that will make her a dangerous competitor. She won the first race of her career in Curragh last May before being put forward for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Just Wonderful was not ready for the ferocity of the competition and placed down in 14th out of 18 horses even after being named the favourite for the event. She regained her form at the Flame Of Tara Irish EBF Stakes, beating out her stable-mate Peach Tree for the victory by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
The American-bred horse had momentum to take into the Moyglare Stud Stakes. However, she failed to rise to the occasion as Skitter Scatter won the race in Curragh. O’Brien’s charge bounced back with a fine performance – notably at Newmarket – in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes, defeating Dandhu by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
Just Wonderful ended her campaign in America to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but finished in fourth place. O’Brien does have a strong record in the Guineas, but there is better value to be found elsewhere than Just Wonderful’s odds of 7/1 8.00 +700 7.00 7.00 -0.14 with 888Sport.
The other hope for O’Brien in the 1000 Guineas is Fairyland, who is arguably a stronger contender for the victory than her stable-mate Just Wonderful. She has less experience than her American-bred counterpart, but has enjoyed greater success on the track, winning four out of her five races.
Fairyland won the first race of her career last May in the Coolmore Irish EBF Fillies Maiden, defeating a talented field in the process. She backed up her performance on debut with another triumph in Curragh, finishing two-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of her stable-mate Van Beethoven. O’Brien then entered his charge in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Unlike Just Wonderful, Fairyland was able to rise to the occasion, although it did not yield a win for the bay filly, placing in third narrowly off the pace off the winner Main Edition. The Irish-bred horse responded with a victory in her next outing in the Lowther Stakes at York, although she was pressed by The Mackem Bullet, closing out the win by a nose.
The two horses would again collide in the last race of the campaign for Fairyland. Once again she just had the edge on Brian Ellison’s charge to win the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket by a neck. That triumph more than any other enhances her credentials for the 1000 Guineas and at 8/1 9.00 +800 8.00 8.00 -0.13 with 888Sport, she does have good value to claim the title.
Fairyland To Win 1000 Guineas
Sunday 5th May 2019 15:35 BST
Odds: 8/1 9.00 +800 8.00 8.00 -0.13