QIPCO 1000 Guineas Preview: Viva la France!
Nineteen go to post for the 201st running of the fillies classic at Newmarket (15.50) on Sunday, May 4th, and Miss France looks worth siding with in a wide open affair.
Andre Fabre’s filly was for a long time ante-post favourite for the Group 1 mile contest following her impressive win win in the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes over 7f at headquarters.
The daughter of Dansili only beat Lightning Thunder by a head, but was value for much more than the winning margin after pricking her ears and idling badly when hitting the front.
She cruised through from off the pace that day and showed a good turn of foot to put the race to bed with the first two home pulled five lengths clear of third-placed Sweet Acclaim to give the form a solid look.
The manner of the success marked Miss France out as a really smart prospect, and although beaten on her recent reappearance when finishing just sixth of 10 to Xcellence in the Group 3 Prix.
Impudence at Maisons-laffitte the result does not tell the whole story.
Miss France endured a troubled passage for much of the contest, run at a typically slow French pace, and kept on under hands and heels to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
Her jockey was at pains to give her as easy a time as possible once it was clear she would not be winning, and Miss France looks sure to come on a bundle for the run.
The virtually guranteed stronger gallop in this contest is likely to see Miss France in a far better light, and she remains an exciting unexposed prospect open to plenty of improvement.
Rizeena, trained in Newmarket by the veteran Clive Brittain, heads the betting and is bidding to give her handler his third win in the contest.
Brittain, who saddled Pebbles to win in 1984 and Sayyedati in 1993, is confident Rizeena has what it takes to follow in their footsteps.
The daughter of Iffraaj was kept very busy as a juvenile, running eight times and winning on four occasions.
Those wins included a two length success in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot over 5f and a battling 3/4 length victory over Tapestry in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
Rizeena also finished an excellent second in the Fillies Mile at this venue, but I am not convinced that she has the scope to improve as much as several of her main rivals.
Lucky Kristale beat Rizeena in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes last season and went on to land the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York in good style.
The George Margarson trained filly is yet to race beyond 6f, but settled well enough as a juvenile to suggest that is every likelihood she will get a mile.
The daughter of Lucky Story, who has been beaten just once in five starts, is reported to have thrived over the winter and her chances should not be underestimated.
Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who saddled Virginia Waters to win the race in 2005 and Homecoming Queen in 2012, has two interesting representatives in Bracelet and Tapestry.
The pick of the duo on form is Tapestry, who won twice at the Curragh as a juvenile including the Group 2 Friarstown Stud Debutante Stakes.
The daughter of Galileo was the beaten 3/4 of a length into third by Rizeena in the Moyglare, but endured a far from clear passage and was promoted to second following a stewards’ enquiry.
To me Tapestry did not get the best of rides that day, and it would be no surprise to see her improve significantly this season, reverse the placings with Rizeena, and prove the main danger to Miss France.