Racing commentator Mike Cattermole looks ahead to Sunday's QIPCO 1000 Guineas, where Happily is taken to do the business for Ballydoyle.
Masar’s fine third in the 2,000 Guineas is surely a firm pointer towards the chances of Happily in Sunday’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas and she is taken to complete an amazing weekend for Aidan O’Brien and give him his third successive winner in the fillies’ Classic.
Saxon Warrior’s somewhat comfortable win on Saturday again demonstrated that the Ballydoyle operation is in a league of its own these days as they continue to build a legacy in the biggest races that may never be matched.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin duo of Soliloquy and Wild Illusion are both much respected but I just wonder if, once again, the Irish team will have their measure.
Happily is a full sister to the stable’s 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles and her defeat of Masar and the highly-regarded French colt Olmedo in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere on Arc day at Chantilly last year is surely the best form on offer in the race.
It was the second time that she had struck at Group One level, having taken the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh the time before.
Only her flop in the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, which was surely too bad to be true, spoils an otherwise excellent record.
On a point of interest, only Minding of the previous four O’Brien 1000 Guineas winners, had not had a seasonal prep run prior to Newmarket.
Of Happily’s three stablemates, I Can Fly is expected to step up on her reappearance third at Leopardstown but she was beaten fair and square by Altyn Orda at Newmarket last October.
Altyn Orda herself was put in her place by Soliloquy in the Nell Gwynn Stakes, a race that the Godolphin filly won with plenty in hand. William Buick has chosen her over Wild Illusion and that is down to the fact that his choice may have the more speed, whereas Wild Illusion has plenty of stamina in her pedigree and so the Oaks maybe a more suitable target.
That said, if there is a female Saxon Warrior in the line-up, it could be her and so backing her for Epsom before the race is no bad idea.
Wild Illusion certainly put up a smart effort to win the Marcel Boussac on Arc day at Chantilly last October, in a time a second faster than Happily achieved in the Lagardere.
That day, Wild Illusion inflicted the first defeat on the very good French filly Polydream, who had beaten Laurens on her previous start.
Laurens is a most likeable filly, though, who kept on progressing last season and ended up holding on by a nostril from September in the Fillies’ Mile over this course and distance last October. I just wonder if she is quite good enough.
Liquid Amber made a nice impression when she ran away with a Group Three at the Curragh last August and the form has been made to look pretty solid.
However, that was over a mile and the performance had the stamp of a stayer about it, as befits her pedigree. If she acquits herself well, she too will tumble in the market for the Oaks and so I have taken a little bit of 40/1 about her earlier this week for that one.
Dan’s Dream won the Fred Darling nicely at Newbury but the ground is drying up and it remains to be seen whether she is best suited by a soft surface.
Mike Cattermole's 1000 Guineas verdict
- Wild Illusion