Jane Chapple-Hyam has never been afraid of a challenge and in Saffron Beach she has a genuine live chance in Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
It has been one-way traffic in the betting this spring for Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara, who is set to go off an even shorter price for the Classic following the defection of Fillies’ Mile winner Pretty Gorgeous on Friday morning.
Saffron Beach has achieved more on the track, though. Unbeaten in two runs as a juvenile, including success in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, she looked sure to be suited by stepping up to a mile when second on her return in the Nell Gwyn, finishing behind the reopposing Sacred.
“From all accounts Adam (Kirby) was happy with her last time,” said Chapple-Hyam.
“It was a trial and he feels she was strong at the line and took a fair bit to pull up. With that in mind, we’re really looking forward to running her over a mile.
“Once the winner had flown a bit, Adam wasn’t too hard on her, so she had a good experience and didn’t have too hard a race. She wouldn’t have been fully wound-up there, either.
“She had a good experience. It was her third time on the track which can count for a lot in the Guineas, she picked up some more black type – which is important – and we’re looking forward to Sunday, when hopefully she can pick up some Group One black type.”
Given the positive reports from O’Brien about the favourite, Chapple-Hyam feels if they are correct, Santa Barbara could be a new superstar.
“Aidan’s no fool. If he feels she’s been galloping well against colts, that just says it all. Good fillies can go by colts,” she said.
“If she’s as good as that, then we might have a new Enable on the scene.”
Pretty Gorgeous misses out following an unsatisfactory scope.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained daughter of Lawman had been second favourite, but O’Brien said on Twitter: “Unfortunately due to an unsatisfactory scope Pretty Gorgeous will not be declared for the 1000 Guineas this weekend.”
In her absence, 12 were declared for the Classic, with Santa Barbara joined by stablemate Mother Earth.
Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free, winner of the Cheveley Park last season and the Fred Darling on her return two weeks ago, arguably heads the home defence.
She just held on from Statement and Vadream at Newbury and the three meet again.
Nell Gwyn winner Sacred represents Cheveley Park Stud and William Haggas, while Richard Fahey is sweet on the claims of Fev Rover, a Group Two winner in France last season in the Prix du Calvados.
Thunder Beauty, Lullaby Moon, Seattle Rock and Star Of Emaraaty complete the field.