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16 May 21 09:38
Date Joined: 05 Jan 02
| Topic/replies: 2,416 | Blogger: jamesp's blog
It's far too early, of course, to be even thinking of next year's classics, and traditionally bookmakers don't even start to price up horses for the Guineas before Royal Ascot, but I thought it would be worth starting a new thread to note fillies who are already showing considerable promise. Top of the list, and the only one to have made a big impression so far, is Contarelli Chapel. Aidan O'Brien's filly looked a bit green and wayward on her debut at Naas, but once she got the hang of things she sprinted clear to win a 6f fillies' maiden by a wide margin (the third has won since). That maiden race has been won in recent years by the likes of Roly Poly (2016), Alpha Centauri (2017) and Fairyland (2018), all of whom went on to score at the highest level. She won that maiden race more impressively than any of those other recent winners of the race, she reappears at Naas this afternoon in the Gr.3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes, where she is a long odds-on favourite, and it will be a major surprise if she fails to take the step up in class in her stride. She's by Caravaggio out of the Sadler's Wells mare Chenchikova (a full sister to High Chaparral), which makes her a half-sister to dual Gr.1 10f winner Fancy Blue and 12f winner Casterton. It remains to be seen what her trip will be this season, but there is plenty of stamina on the dam's side of the family and she's a good-sized filly who should continue to progress. A very promising filly.
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Report FOYLESWAR May 16, 2021 12:20 PM BST
there was a stat anything that had run as early as royal ascot had not won a guineas for years big negative ,mother earth broke that stat this year so that wont harm contarellis chance james ,by the way james do you bet in the colts classic and other classics ?
Report jamesp May 16, 2021 3:38 PM BST
There was a period when that stat was valid for the 1000 Guineas, FOYLESWAR, but remarkably five of the six most recent winners of the race (Mother Earth, Love, Billesdon Brook, Winter and Minding) had already run before Royal Ascot in their juvenile season. Mind you, most of them hadn't made much of an impression on debut - in fact, all of them were beaten first time out! Impressive debut performances are not always what one should be looking for in potential Guineas winners.

To answer your other question, I do sometimes bet on other classic races, but I have generally found that fillies' races tend to be less competitive than colts' equivalents, with fewer potential top class performers to keep on the radar. The 1000 Guineas has always appealed as an antepost betting race because of the importance of juvenile form, but it has become increasingly difficult in recent years due to the dominance of the Ballydoyle outfit and the terribly poor-value odds quoted by bookmakers (compared with when I started betting on the race about 30 years ago).
Report jamesp May 16, 2021 4:49 PM BST
Contarelli Chapel sank without trace this afternoon at odds of 2/7, finishing tired and onepaced in fourth behind a 50/1 newcomer. Perhaps the soft ground found her out (she won on good ground previously), but it was a puzzling performance nonetheless - seemingly too bad to be true. Royal Ascot plans for this one will surely have to be revised.
Report jamesp May 16, 2021 4:55 PM BST
A day of shocks: how on earth Coeursamba won the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (the French Guineas) this afternoon at 66/1 (with a 100/1 shot in third), I'll never know. She has seemingly improved out of all recognition: she was consistently well beaten in Group company last season (including by several of today's rivals), and was only third in a conditions race on her seasonal debut. Results like that make one wonder why one bothers to study the formbook.
Report FOYLESWAR May 16, 2021 6:04 PM BST
i have found studying form /times etc too confusing s and misleading.  what i look for around january /feb is a "type " on  breeding /connections etc form does play a part obviously but not as great as it once did ,a lot knock ballydoyle but its the 1st place to look for a gns filly you could say you are half way there as you can often whittle their fillys down to a few who you can be sure are targeting the race .  going by the last 3 years a certain trend is emerging with the coolmore fillies .
Report jamesp May 17, 2021 6:31 PM BST
Fozzy Stack's filly Hermana Estrella, who sprang the 50/1 surprise (though not to the trainer or jockey) at Naas yesterday, has reportedly come out of the race well and is under consideration for either the Gr.3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Gr.2 Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh on 27 June.

The trainer reported: "She'd been working well at home. She hasn't been away to work or anything and hasn't even worked on grass, so it was actually a very good performance. She'd shown plenty of talent at home. If it hadn't worked out we'd have been left with egg on our face if she'd run very green, but it worked out well. She's a smart filly. Royal Ascot would be a possibility, or maybe the race on Derby weekend here. It will be the Albany or that race, I'd imagine. We'll take our time and talk to connections and see what everybody wants to do. She gets six furlongs well, so the soft ground in Naas might have helped on that front, but I don't think she needs it soft. I'd like to think she could step up in trip for something like the Moyglare later in the season."

On breeding it's hard to know whether she'll get a mile later on: she's by the sprinter Starspangledbanner out of an unraced half-sister to the fairly useful dual Gr.3 7f winner Lady Springbank. Judging from her Naas run, she looks like she will get 7f this season.
Report jamesp May 18, 2021 4:14 PM BST
Staying with the Irish fillies for the moment, I must flag up Discoveries, trained by Jessie Harrington. She's a full sister to multiple Gr.1 winner Alpha Centauri and half-sister to Gr.1 winner Alpine Star (both won the Gr.1 Coronation Stakes), so she's bred to be a top class miler. She has yet to make her debut: she has been entered in the Gr.3 Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, a sign of the high regard in which she is clearly held, but a more likely and suitable target is the 6f fillies' maiden at the same course on Sunday.
Report jamesp May 23, 2021 11:50 AM BST
A filly I'm very much looking forward to seeing again is Roger Charlton's first two year old runner of the season Silver Bullet Lady, who won a 5f fillies' conditions race at Salisbury on 1000 Guineas day, despite appearing to completely blow her chance at the start by diving to the left from her outside draw. Having been slowly away, she was out the back and green before gradually working her way into the contest, she made good progress to lead towards the finish and she won quite comfortably in the end. Considering how much ground she lost at the start, she did very well to beat two previous winners (the third has also gone on to win next time) and will be seen to much better advantage over 6f next time. She's the first winner for first-season sire Decorated Knight (triple Gr.1 winner at 10f) out of a dam who stayed a mile (and was related to a host of 8-10f performers), so it's remarkable that she was able to win over the minimum 5f trip. The Salisbury race has been won by some smart performers in recent years including Gr.1 winner Tiggy Wiggy (also Guineas-placed), Gr.2 winner (Gr.1 placed) Illuminate and Gr.3 winner (Gr.2 placed) Good Vibes, and I think this year's winner could be quite smart.
Here's a link to a recording of the race:
Report jamesp May 23, 2021 11:51 AM BST
Report jamesp May 23, 2021 11:58 AM BST
Post-race comments on Silver Bullet Lady:

"A crack at the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot could be on the cards for Silver Bullet Lady", Harry Charlton told Racing TV. "I think Hollie and I thought we were going to be in trouble after a furlong having jumped left like that. "From then on, you’re constantly trying to lay up with them, and there’s some fair winners in there. She made up a lot of ground from the three to the two and I thought she might be third and have run well. But Hollie said she picked up again – it’s very exciting. It’s very encouraging for Decorated Knight – he’s obviously got an incredible pedigree so it’s no surprise that he could produce one. She’s always shown a lot of ability. I think Royal Ascot has to be considered and the Queen Mary could be one to look at."

Hollie Doyle was equally impressed, saying: "Silver Bullet Lady was very impressive today… once she got into the stride of things and hit the cutaway she showed a great turn of foot to make up a lot of ground. Obviously being Decorated Knight’s first runner in the UK, it’s a great stamp for him and she definitely looks like she has Royal Ascot potential."
Report jamesp June 8, 2021 5:39 PM BST
Latest figures for the top-rated juvenile fillies so far this season, courtesy of the Racing Post:
98 Diablotine (H. de Nicolay) -11
97 Hermana Estrella (J. Stack) -1
96 Nymphadora (A. Balding) -61
96 Hello You (R. Beckett) -1
95 Flotus (S. & E. Crisford) -1
94 Quick Suzy (G. Cromwell) -212
94 Beautiful Sunshine (G. Boughey) -811
92 Contarelli Chapel (A. O'Brien) -14
91 Juncture (G. Lyons) -21
90 Tenebrism (A. O'Brien) -1
90 Mountain Madness (L. Gadbin) -1
90 Yet (A. O'Brien) -1
89 Cachet (G. Boughey) -1

Diablotine has chalked up a couple of comfortable 5f wins on soft/heavy ground in France but has prospects of getting further, being by Kodi Bear out of a winning miler, and she stretched out well on both occasions (latterly in a Listed race at Vichy), shaping as though 6f+ will suit: she looks quite a smart prospect.

Fozzy Stack's filly Hermana Estrella sprang a surprise in a Gr.3 at Naas first time out (see above) and is likely to contest the top 6/7f fillies' races this season: it's hard to know at this stage how far she will stay (being by sprinter Starspangledbanner). She's highly regarded and obviously has a lot of class.

Hello You bolted up in a Wolverhampton 6f event on debut, winning by an impressive 6½ lengths (the fourth won next time). She's by Invincible Spirit out of a modest 7f performer by Pivotal. Ralph Beckett reported afterwards: "I was delighted with that. I thought she’d run well, but it looked a warm race beforehand. I thought she’d go close, but there was plenty of money for other horses. It was more than we expected, obviously – not too many win like that on on debut. She appears to have taken the race well, so we’ll give ourselves three weeks to get to Ascot. That straight track normally rides quick, but I think she’ll handle it fine."

Flotus made an impressive winning debut at Goodwood, travelling well and quickening up in the style of a smart filly to win by nearly 5 lengths. The form may not amount to much, but she looks destined for pattern races from now on. She's a Starspangledbanner half-sister to a two mile winner, so it's anyone's guess what her trip will turn out to be: she got 6f well on debut and shapes as though 7f will be within compass, but there's plenty of speed in the pedigree.

Contarelli Chapel flopped (relatively speaking) on her second start (see above), but it's worth noting that the runner-up in the maiden race she won so impressively has since gone on to land what looked quite a hot maiden at Leopardstown (see Juncture below).

Juncture showed the benefit of her debut run behind Contarelli Chapel when scoring by 3 lengths in a 7f fillies' maiden at Leopardstown recently. This race has thrown up some smart performers in recent years: Cayenne Pepper had subsequent classic winner Love back in fourth when winning this race in 2019 and went on to win at Gr.2 level and was runner-up in the Irish Oaks; September, the 2017 winner, was later beaten by a nose in the Gr.1 Fillies' Mile; the 2013 winner Bracelet later won the Gr.2 Ribblesdale and Gr.1 Irish Oaks. This year's winner is by Dark Angel out of a half-sister to Gr.1 winner Promising Lead. The fillies that chased her home should also be worth following: Radiyka (D. Weld) is a daughter of Gr.2 winner Raydara; Discoveries (J. Harrington) is a sister to multiple Gr.1 winner Alpha Centauri; and Madonnadelrosario (A. O'Brien) is a half-sister to Gr.1 Prix Morny winner The Wow Signal. The form should work out well.

Tenebrism won a 5f Naas maiden at the end of March (this year's 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare won the same maiden race in 2020), despite things not going entirely to plan (started awkwardly, in rear, ran green, but quickened up smartly to win by nearly 4 lengths). She might not be simply a fast early two-year-old, as she's by Caravaggio out of dual Gr.1 winning miler Immortal Verse. She looks a good prospect.

Mountain Madness scooted up in a Chantilly 6f maiden, winning by 8 lengths despite showing some greenness and a slightly high head carriage when asked to quicken. She holds an entry for the Gr.3 Prix du Bois over 6f later this month. Ludovic Gadbin's filly is by Territories out of a 9f winner and should get a mile eventually.

Yet won narrowly on debut at Dundalk, but she and the well fancied runner-up pulled more than 7 lengths clear of the other runners. Considering she's by War Front out of a half-sister to Giant's Causeway, it's remarkable that she managed to win over the minimum trip and she looks one to follow from the all-conquering Ballydoyle stable. The runner-up Orinoco River (D. O'Brien), by War Front out of a Montjeu mare, should get a mile later on and also rates a smart prospect.

Cachet beat a previous winner when scoring by 5 lengths at Newmarket on debut for George Boughey. She's by Aclaim (high-class at 6½-8f, winner of the Gr.1 Prix de la Foret) out of a Teofilo mare (placed over 12f). She's well regarded and reportedly being aimed at the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

On a slightly lower rating (86) Prettiest was another recent debut winner for Aidan O'Brien, scoring in a slow time over an extended 5f at Navan. The placed horses had both run well previously, and the form has a solid look to it. The winner is by Dubawi out of triple Gr.1 winner Alice Springs, so she's bred to be smart next year over longer trips.
Report jamesp June 14, 2021 4:32 PM BST
I've had a quick look through the declared runners in this week's Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, not in terms of trying to pick the winner (which looks a far from straightforward task) but in terms of Guineas potential.

First, I was expecting to find that the Wesley Ward-trained favourite Twilight Gleaming would have the typical profile of one of the stable's whizz-bang speedsters, but although she was a wide-margin winner over 5f in the States, she's actually bred to get quite a lot further, being by National Defense (top juvenile miler) from a strong staying family (going back to Ribblesdale winner Phantom Gold), so there's every chance on breeding that she might eventually get a mile. However, the trainer's previous Queen Mary fillies have not turned out to be Guineas types. The other US-trained runner Artos is by speed influence Kodiac out of a 10f winner and is best watched.

Nymphadora, Quick Suzy and Beautiful Sunshine have all shown a useful level of form but are all speedily bred and unlikely to develop into milers later on. Desert Dreamer is by Oasis Dream out of a Montjeu mare and has already won over 6f and shapes like she'll get further: she's two from two, but much more is needed here. Illustrating is highly regarded by trainer Karl Burke and won nicely at Catterick: she showed lots of speed to win over 5f, but she's out of Coronation Stakes winner and Guineas runner-up Maids Causeway, so it'll be interesting to see how she gets on when stepped up in trip later on.

The Irish runners Yet and Orinoco River are fascinating contenders, as neither is bred to be effective over the minimum trip, yet they fought out the finish of a 5f Dundalk maiden (see comments in my earlier post). Yet is certainly bred to get at least a mile later on, being by War Front out of Butterflies (mile winner at two, stayed 12f at three), so if she can finish close up in a Queen Mary she could well have Guineas potential.

Finally, a quick word about the Coventry favourite Kaufymaker: it's unusual for a filly to take on the colts in this race, even more unusual for a filly to be antepost favourite, but Wesley Ward's filly showed loads of speed to win easily over 4½f and one presumes she'll always be best at sprint trips.
Report jamesp June 14, 2021 4:46 PM BST
PS It's interesting that Wesley Ward has chosen to run his filly Ruthin in the Windsor Castle Stakes on Wednesday rather than the Queen Mary (where she might have had a favourite's chance). The usual reservations apply regarding long-term prospects for this stable's juvenile fillies, but this one looks interesting on paper, being by top miler Ribchester out of 6-8f winner Selinka (by Selkirk), and she beat Artos (Frankie Dettori's mount in the Queen Mary) by 6 lengths over 5½f at Keeneland. She showed so much speed on that occasion that it's hard to imagine her getting much beyond 6f later on, despite her pedigree.
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