Lydia Hislop's Guineas verdict
Lydia Hislop reaches her final conclusions over the 1000 Guineas and reckons Miss France can land the race for Andre Fabre.
The betting for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas is far more open, reflecting the comparative lack of compelling contenders. Taking 7/2 about an eight-raced, eminently beatable filly like Rizeena appeals like a hole in the head. She’s got similar form to contenders twice her price and better.
Those horses include Sandiva, Lucky Kristale, Princess Noor and Vorda – none of whom is likely to improve for running over a mile. Euro Charline is lightly raced but was readily held by Sandiva last time, the trouble in running that she met not accounting for her margin of defeat. Kiyoshi is also about the same horse and she’s got her habit of veering right to grapple with.
So logic tells you to look somewhere new for a horse that can improve quite a bit as a three-year-old. Ihtimal has already done that, but it may be that Dubai’s synthetic track and a step up to ten furlongs is mostly responsible, so she’s passed over.
Miss France is a better candidate, having toyed with Lightning Thunder when winning the Oh So Sharp Stakes at this track last October and with improvement likely now that she’s returned to a mile – a trip over which she beat the subsequent Marcel Boussac winner last season, albeit in receipt of weight.
I’m prepared to overlook her muted seasonal debut in the Prix Imprudence on the basis that she was very much ridden as though the trial was considered exactly that by her master trainer, Andre Fabre – not atypical behaviour.
Perhaps of more concern is her reported edginess in the paddock last time she came to Newmarket. Guineas day will be more of a perturbing experience but, equally, she may have grown up since then. She travelled like class in the race itself and I’m happy with 8/1 for that instinctive view.
I much prefer Bracelet to Tapestry from Team O’Brien. She did well to win a steadily run race over seven furlongs on her seasonal debut and will be better suited by a good pace and a mile. She should run well. Expect her Oaks odds to shorten after the race.
My concern with Tapestry is not just that her form is again closely matched with Rizeena and Kiyoshi, but also whether she will ‘train on’ or regress compared with her peers from age two to three. Her dam did and so did both of her siblings (albeit one never raced beyond his juvenile days.)
Another gut feeling is that Betimes, the most inexperienced horse in the race, should not be underestimated. An extra furlong and the switch to turf are no negative for this ready Lingfield maiden winner.
Gosden, her trainer, could have run Dorothy B instead and is to be respected when pitching a filly in at the deep end like this. I suspect she’ll far outrun her price and even lay down a serious threat to Miss France.
1. Miss France