Established in 1973, the Fillies’ Mile has become one of the season’s most prestigious juvenile events.
Originally run at Ascot, the race now takes place at Newmarket over the Rowley Mile. Upgraded to Group 1 status in 1990, the event now forms part of the eagerly anticipated Future Champions Festival.
When looking at recent winners it comes as no surprise to see that Godolphin and Coolmore have dominated. Six of the last nine renewals have been shared between the two powerhouses, with Aidan O’Brien taking the race last year thanks to the Galileo filly Together Forever. She appeared to cope best with the testing conditions that day, and failed to build on her Group 1 success. Lucida was arguably the most talented filly in the race, but failed to pick up in the holding ground.
Godolphin’s run of success has been severely tainted by the fall from grace of trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Certify and Lyric of Light were winners for the disgraced handler, but the Godolphin operation powers on, and both Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby have continued to churn out top-class racehorses capable of winning major prizes.
The former is responsible for one of tomorrow’s most fancied runners. Promising Run was impressive last time when winning the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes. Staying on strongly on that occasion, this step up in trip looks sure to suit. She’s a lovely big filly, powerful looking with a long stride. A winner already on good to soft, her action suggests that any rain that has fallen in recent days should not inconvenience her.
Aidan O’Brien may well arrive double-handed with both Coolmore and Minding set to line up. The latter defeated the Prix Marcel Boussac winner Ballydoyle last time out at the Curragh. She appeared to improve for the slight ease in ground conditions, and won somewhat cosily. Alice Springs was back in third that day, giving the form an even more impressive look.
Coolmore carries the family name and has been gradually warming to the task with experience. The most recent run was her best, though she took every yard of the seven furlongs to get going. A full sister to Gleneagles, she’s certainly bred to be top-class, but still looks a work in progress, and if her brother is anything to go by, the word soft in the ground description may not be ideal.
One that certainly won’t be inconvenienced should there be a little give in the Rowley Mile turf is John Gosden’s filly Nathra. The daughter of Ifraaj out of a Danehill mare was visually stunning last time at Newbury. The form doesn’t amount to much, and this is a huge step up in class, but with trainer sweeping all before him it’s no real surprise to see her near the head of the betting. She sits there more on promise than substance.
Of the remainder, Hawksmoor will be more suited by both trip and any give in the ground. Hugo Palmer’s filly needs to bounce back from a thumping last time at the hooves of Promising Run. Ground does look crucial to her chances, the softer the better for this daughter of Azamour.
Marenko is another capable of a decent run at a big price. It would be a huge turn-up if she was to win, but her last run at Doncaster when second to Turret Rocks in a Group 2 was a solid performance. Out of a Pivotal mare, expect her to improve for any give in the ground.
It looks a suitably high class renewal with such a valuable prize on offer. The juvenile events have thrived over the summer with names such as Shalaa, Emotionless, Lumiere and Ballydoyle instantly springing to mind.
The action at Newmarket over the next few days looks sure to add an appropriate gloss to a thoroughly enjoyable season, with the Fillies’ Mile a potential highlight.