Meditate stays unbeaten at the Curragh
Meditate - could she have the edge?

Cheveley Park Stakes preview: Laura Joy on Meditate v Trillium


Laura Joy looks at the pedigrees of Meditate and Trillium ahead of their mouth-watering clash in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.

A pair of distinguished No Nay Never fillies are vying for Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes favouritism with the market unable to agree on who is the most likely winner. Both proven at Group level with more than enough experience but who deserves to head the market?

Clearly both Meditate and Trillium are daughters of sensational two-year-old sire who is having a splendid and unprecedented season with his juveniles. Meditate’s finest hour came in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes (7f) whilst Trillium proved her Group 3 Molecomb Stakes (5f) victory against the colts was no fluke when accounting for The Platinum Queen in the Group 2 Flying Childers, also over five furlongs, at Doncaster.

The Cheveley Park Stakes is contested on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile over six furlongs and both fillies are presented with a new challenge with their Champion Two-Year-Old Filly credentials on the line.

With No Nay Never almost certain to finish on top of the domestic juvenile sire list and their respective form up for debate, the logical place to look is the pedigrees of these two beautifully bred fillies to find that elusive edge.

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The fact that Meditate’s dam Pembina is by Arc winner Dalakhani and did her winning over six furlongs tells just a fraction of the story. Pembina’s own dam Mahalia is by renowned speed influence Danehill and showed her best form over sprinting trips including a 6.5f Listed Prix Imprudence win. She tried a mile once and didn’t stay the trip and it’s apparent Pembina, her Dalakhani daughter, inherited her speed. This is one of the most fascinating elements of this family, one with the most desirable genes.

Sprinter Mahalia has visited a variety of stallions in her time at stud to varying degrees of success. A visit to Acclamation resulted in Group 3 winning miler Johnny Barnes whilst a trip to Montjeu resulted in Prix de Flore winner Albisola, a Group 3 run over an extended mile and a quarter. The mare who throws to the stallion is a desirable one and Mahalia appears a fine example.

A glance at her less accomplished daughters on the racecourse shows much of the same theme including unplaced Tonnara (Linamix) who produced G1 Criterium International (8f for two-years-olds) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (12f) winner Ectot from a visit to Hurricane Run. Ectot’s half-brother Most Improved is by French Derby winner Lawman (who was also won the Group 1 Jean Prat over a mile). Most Improved was a Group 1 winning miler himself scoring in the St James’ Palace Stakes.

Then there is Malaspina, a maiden daughter of Whipper, who is responsible for Group 3 Nell Gwyn (7f) winner Daban, a daughter of Acclamation, most acclaimed for his sprinters and milers. Daban also placed third in Winter’s 1000 Guineas.

All the above indicates that it really is no surprise Meditate’s connections believe the Cheveley Park trip will prove her most effective. Her dam Pembina was by no means Mahalia’s leading light on the track but could rival her sisters should Meditate add a Group 1 to her race record. Having already won a Group 2 over seven furlongs, it’s fair to say Dalakhani has made his presence felt to some extent. Let’s not forget Meditate is by speed influence No Nay Never out of a 6.5f winning mare.

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Given the Rowley Mile’s stiff incline from the bushes to the winning post, Meditate might possess an edge on her rival as she calls on Dalakhani’s stamina influence to hold on and prevail against her paternal half-sister.

Trillium on the other hand is all speed and precocity and has proven exactly that in taking two of the premier domestic five furlong Group contests for juveniles to date. Her dam Marsh Hawk is by Invincible Spirit, a sprinter/miler sire who hardly needs an introduction.

Marsh Hawk was second in the Dick Poole Stakes, a 6f Group 3 for juvenile fillies, and is a half-sister to Queen Mary second Hairy Rocket (Pivotal). Hairy Rocket is the dam of The Acropolis who was one of Churchill’s early and more precocious stars. Alarm bells might sound next season, The Acropolis showed his best form as a juvenile but for Saturday’s assignment that is irrelevant.

Trillium’s first three dams all excelled over sprinting trips and her first two were best as juveniles. On all known evidence to date, Trillium is much the same. If we want to talk about her 1000 Guineas credentials for 2023 we can go back to her fourth dam, but that’s for another day.

Saturday is all about the Cheveley Park Stakes and which filly is bred to excel over the stiff six furlongs on the Rowley Mile. Prior to the Molecomb Stakes it was felt that Trillium was a force to be reckoned with as long as she had the early pace to lay up over five furlongs. She duly proved she did, and though her pedigree allows her to handle the stiff six furlongs on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, handling it might fall short against Meditate who looks like she might excel.

The market reflects how close a contest this is, without even considering their decorated opposition. Both have proven they possess No Nay Never’s raw speed but when it comes to the infamously testing climb to the Rowley Mile winning post, Meditate’s pedigree indicates she has the necessary edge to nose out her chief rival.

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