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Simon Rowlands on the 1,000 Guineas: Pollenator can bee the one

Simon Rowlands RSS / / 13 April 2010 /

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Ryan Moore (centre) rides Pollenator to victory during the DFS May Hill Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse in September 2009

Ryan Moore (centre) rides Pollenator to victory during the DFS May Hill Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse in September 2009

"Lack of peak fitness and the softer ground ( at Maisons-Laffitte for the Prix Imprudence) could be blamed, but I have considerable doubts about Special Duty’s ability to stay beyond sprint trips, and a mile at Newmarket on May 2 will find her out if that proves to be correct."

Our man takes an in-depth, ante-post look at the fillies Classic where the favourites holds little appeal as back material

Following on from my recent look at the 2,000 Guineas from an ante-post perspective, this seems a good time to consider the fillies' equivalent, the 1,000.

The favourite for the race, Special Duty, has already run this year and been beaten, while two other major trials - the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on Wednesday and the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on Saturday - are imminent.

Special Duty had been matched at as low as [3.25] on Betfair during the winter, having emerged as the best two-year-old filly trained in Europe in 2009, but she had her colours lowered in the Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte last week by the seemingly unexceptional Joanna.

Having made the running, Special Duty caved in so much at the end that she was also passed for second by the unconsidered Evading Tempete. Lack of peak fitness and the softer ground could be blamed, but I have considerable doubts about the filly's ability to stay beyond sprint trips, and a mile at Newmarket on May 2 will find her out if that proves to be correct.

Her sire, Hennessy, is best known for his precocious son Johannesburg and for being primarily an influence for speed, his stamina index being just six-and-a-half furlongs.

The likes of Attraction and Natagora landed the 1,000 Guineas despite winning at no further than six furlongs as juveniles (though the latter took the Imprudence and thus had less to prove on that score come the big day), but, as with the colts, stamina counts for plenty.

Those fillies to have won at further than seven furlongs as two-year-olds have accounted for about two-thirds of their rivals in recent years and have provided winners like Finsceal Beo and Speciosa, whereas there have been numerous instances of fillies coming unstuck at the longer trip.

Special Duty ([5.2] to win) looks good place-lay material to me, though the market needs to warm up more before such a bet becomes an option.

Nothing else is currently trading at single figures in the win market, with Music Show ([15.5]) and Atasari ([65.0]) among those declared for the Nell Gwyn. The second-favourite, Seta, makes some appeal, but it has to be said that she has not actually achieved much so far.

At [10.0] to back she is half the price of Pollenator, the filly who beat her in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last September, and the latter looks the best outsider from where I am sitting.

Not only has Pollenator already shown a good level of form (fillies rated over 110 by Timeform at two years have beaten 57% of their rivals in the 1,000 in recent years, and she is rated 111p) but she has already won at a mile.

The fact that she seems unlikely to run before Newmarket is not a worry - those reappearing have fared very nearly as well as those that have had a trial in recent years - especially as her trainer Richard Hannon has started the season in good form. The recommendation is 1 pt win on Pollenator.

* * *

The Kentucky Derby comes in between the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas on the night of May 1, and the final prep races took place at the weekend. Neither the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn nor the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland made much of an impact on the market for the big one, with Line of David and Stately Victor, the respective winners, looking several lengths shy of what will be required next month.

Indeed, Line of David emerged only third- or fourth-best horse at the weights at Oaklawn (Americans seem not to bother much about weight, but should do), having received 4 lb from the next four home in a bunch finish.

The two market leaders, Eskendereya and Lookin' At Lucky, have strong claims, if for different reasons. Anyone looking for a turn-up need not look far for encouragement, however: there will be 20-odd runners, as usual, and last year's winner, Mine That Bird, was the second 50/1 shot to succeed in the last five years.

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