It was a tale of two fillies this weekend with thundering performances from Legatissimo and the truly Amazing Maria.
The latter continued her meteoric rise with another stunning Group 1 success. This time she travelled to France to defeat the French guineas winner Ervedya in the Prix Rothschild. Much has been spoken and written of the skills of trainer David O’Meara, and the return to form of this four-year-old since arriving in his care has been quite incredible.
Her victory in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot was seen as an upset and many thought it unlikely that she would follow up in the Falmouth at Newmarket. However she was just as impressive when powering clear in that Group 1 and this latest win underlines her status as this season’s leading filly at a mile.
“She looked like she won pretty comfortably today. She is very versatile,” O'Meara said. “At Ascot we sat her in last and at Newmarket they had been winning from the front all week so James [Doyle] made sure he got a nice close position. Today there was no real plan going out. Olivier knows Deauville much better than me. I've never had a runner here before. I just told him to go out and try and win.”
The Sun Chariot back at Newmarket or maybe the QEII at Ascot on Champions Day could be potential targets for this daughter of Mastercraftsman. A clash with the colts could prove a fitting end to her season, and few would argue that she has the class and the physical presence to be more than a match for the boys.
A possible challenger for those ‘end of season’ events is David Wachman’s Nassau Stakes winner Legatissimo. She stormed to a stunning success on Saturday; making it two from four in Group 1’s this summer. The three-year-old is versatile as regards trip, though the Oaks appeared just beyond her range when she was chinned on the line by Aidan O’Brien’s Qualify.
It’s likely that a mile and a quarter is now ideal, but she dazzled when winning the guineas back in May, beating a decent yardstick in Lucida. Her acceleration on Saturday was a major factor in her success. She travelled with such ease through the race before jockey Wayne Lordan decided the time was right to make a move. “She's a very high-class filly and when I asked her to quicken she quickened up well, said Lordan. “She has everything.”
A return to Newmarket for the Sun Chariot and a likely clash with Amazing Maria, is a mouth-watering prospect. However, chances are that she will continue at 10 furlongs with a trip to York for the Juddmonte International Stakes now on the cards. She also holds an entry in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September, along with the Matron Stakes back at a mile on the same card. How she performs in the Juddmonte will be key to the rest of her season.
The summer’s two outstanding fillies may well take separate paths and a thrilling clash may never materialize. Their performances so far this season, mark them down as leading contenders in whichever Group 1’s come next.