Roger Charlton: Quadrilateral looks magnificent and these are exciting times
Qipco 1,000 Guineas (Group 1) | 1m | 3yo fillies | ITV/RTV
There were already murmurs about a big future for Quadrilateral after her snug debut win at Newbury but she has been the favourite for this race ever since September 20, when she roared to a nine-length success back over the same course and seven-furlong distance.
To step up from that conditions event to the Fillies' Mile showed the magnitude of her second effort and the esteem with which she was held at Beckhampton.
All went far from according to plan at Newmarket, with the race unfolding in front of Jason Watson and Quadrilateral looking for racing room.
In the end they stuck to the far rail and though the imposing daughter of Frankel only mastered Powerful Breeze close home, the racing experience gained may have been worth its weight in gold.
Trainer Roger Charlton admitted to having felt his filly was beaten passing the bushes, but the way she took off in the latter stages was enough to confirm her as the market leader over what would prove to be Flat racing's longest winter.
Charlton is one of the sport's most patient practitioners and both in waiting for the calendar to settle, and waiting for Quadrilateral to bloom – the trainer admitted to easing off briefly while she was in season – her backers can be assured that the favourite will have been prepared to the minute.
Charlton said: "We're looking forward to it. She looks magnificent. She's a big, strong filly and these are exciting times. I hope she can run as well as she did the last time she went to Newmarket."
Key Stat: tongue-tie no bar to success
Quadrilateral wears a tongue-tie for the first time on Sunday and and bids to become the first winner of the 1,000 Guineas to wear any form of headgear since Virginia Waters scored in this race 15 years ago, also with the aid of a tie.
Love is in the air for O'Brien
The disruption caused by coronavirus and the fact that the resulting collapsed calendar means the Newmarket and Curragh versions of the 1,000 Guineas arrive on top of one another, mean that Aidan O'Brien fields a single candidate in Love in his quest for a sixth win in the race.
Love took three goes at winning a maiden last summer but just 14 days after shedding that tag she was back in the same Leopardstown winner's enclosure after a decisive success in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes.
Her finest hour came in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend and on that occasion and when chasing home Quadrilateral at Newmarket, she shaped as if a mile would be her minimum requirement at three.
"She's a lovely moving filly, so the good ground at Newmarket will help her," said O'Brien. "We're very happy with her. We've always thought she'll stay further too, so she could end up in the Oaks later in the season."
Key Stat: solo O'Brien runners in British Classics
The popular imagination is that Ballydoyle habitually arrive at British Classics with multiple chances but in fact this will be the tenth occasion Aidan O'Brien has fielded a single starter in the 1,000 Guineas. Of her nine predecessors, only Virginia Waters scored. By contrast three of the four solo missions in the Oaks were successful.
Harrington 'very happy' with Millisle
A British Classic winner might be one of the few missing pieces on Jessica Harrington's resume, a fact which is more a reflection on the small number of runners she has saddled.
Millisle bids to rectify that omission and boasts the highest handicap mark among the three Group 1 winners in the field.
Her top Racing Post Rating of 116 puts her 1lb ahead of Quadrilateral and 5lb clear of Love, and was achieved in explosive fashion when running down Raffle Prize in the Cheveley Park Stakes.
Her suitability for a mile has to be taken on trust, with Harrington having kept her to six furlongs last year as she permed a number of exciting juvenile fillies including Albigna and Alpine Star.
With all-important experience of the Rowley Mile gained and already plenty of travel under her belt, the daughter of Starspangledbanner looks primed for a big run.
Harrington said: "I'm very happy with her preparation. She seems to be in good form and the great thing about her is she’s been to England twice already and she more or less took it in her stride each time she went over.
"She's a very good traveller and the only time she got a bit upset was at Salisbury when they took blood off her just before the race. But even allowing for that, she still ran a good race there.
"We were lucky enough to get Oisin [Murphy], he's never sat on her but she’s very straightforward."
Key Stat: Cheveley Park Stakes due a return to fashion?
Millisle was an impressive winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes, a race which has produced the following season's 1,000 Guineas heroine on five occasions since 1982. On four occasions the winning filly was trained in France, including most recently Natagora in 2008 and Special Duty in 2010.
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