Zagora Fends Off British Invaders

Finishing in second and third place respectively were British trained starters Bikini Babe and Rumoush, failing in their bid to defeat the race favourite Zagora in the Prix de Psyche at Deauville.

Deauville Racecourse

Deauville Racecourse

There was a Stewards' Inquiry after the event into an incident involving the winner who, when finding a gap in the field just over a furlong out, bumped into Pearl Away while dashing clear.

The race results were upheld by the Inquiry and Zagora was awarded the win by half a length from Bikini Babe, with fourth place Rumoush a further three-quarters of a length behind.

"We should have won by five lengths," said winning jockey Ioritz Mendizabal.

Mendizabal also said, "I was never really worried because she has so much speed but we didn't have any run until 200 metres out. Finally we won with plenty in hand and today I had to rely on her brilliant acceleration."

Though putting on a good finish, Bikini Babe never really challenged Zagora once she broke clear, while Richard Hills and his mount Rumoush held a small lead midway up the straight before but did not increase the speed.

Rumoush's trainer Marcus Tregoning said, "She is a real galloper and wants a longer distance but we were a little disappointed today.

"I don't want to make any plans until I see how the filly comes out of the race."

Hills added, "We had every chance but she was disappointing. It was an even gallop but she needs the longer trip."

Newmarket 1000 Guineas 2010 Preview

On Sunday it’s the turn of the girls, dear reader, as the three year old fillies prove that pay inequality has been around since the dawn of time (or horse racing at least), and take their chances in the 1000 Guineas over the same Rowley mile trip.

There is no such Irish domination here, with just two winners since 1994. Again, though, the market proves informative, with last year’s winner Ghanaati (20/1) being the only one of the last eleven winners priced at longer than 14/1, and all of them being in the first seven in the betting.

Proven class is an almost omnipresent prerequisite for Guineas aspirants. Whilst Ghanaati was something of a ‘bomb’ last year, prior to that every one of the previous twelve winners had won or been second in a Group race.

Once raced fillies struggle, and all of the last thirteen winners had two juvenile starts or more. There are a number of single form figure animals hovering around the 16/1 – 20/1 mark and I’d steer clear of all of them on grounds of inexperience.

Seven of the last eight winners finished in the first two on each of their previous two starts, and again it is Ghanaati that is the odd one out, having finished third on debut before winning her only other start.

Interestingly, two of the first three in the ante-post lists – Special Duty and Seta – finished third last time out, giving them something to find, according to recent history at least.

With there being few top class two year old races over the mile distance, it is not really surprising that ten of the last eleven winners were winning at the Classic trip for the first time.

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Although Music Show ticks all the boxes, it is quite hard on the face of it to see a dual Bath winner grabbing this fancy prize. However, there may be very few alternatives.

Next in the market is Marcus Tregoning’s Rumoush, who not only won over a mile last year, but also took the nine furlong Feilden Stakes in her Guineas prep, running on close home. She looks for all the world like an Oaks filly, and is overlooked by this scribe for the shorter test next Sunday.

Pollenator won over a mile in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes last back end and, as a defeat in a Folkestone maiden would intimate, she ought not to be good enough to take this. Though, in a year when there is no outstanding candidate, Folkestone form may be as good as Bath form! (With due respect to both courses, where I've enjoyed sun-drenched happy days!)

Further down the lists we search, and the next contender to eliminate herself is Termagant. In fairness to her, she has excellent credentials having seen off both Lillie Langtry and Long Lashes last time in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. However, her trainer is intent on running at the Curragh for the Irish Guineas, and she’ll take a lot of beating there on ground softer than good.

Plume is a non-runner according to trainer Richard Hannon; and Joanna, vanquisher of favourite Special Duty last time, is also not going to run at Newmarket, preferring the French version where she must have an excellent chance.

Hibaayeb has been supported in recent weeks and does have Group form, notably when winning the Fillies' Mile at Ascot last season. She's another who was beaten at Folkestone earlier in her career, and her overall form - whilst high - looks more noteworthy for the longer trip at Epsom than here.

Puff won the Fred Darling first time out this season, and could be interesting. Although she was beaten on several occasions as a 2yo, her first run at seven furlongs was her most impressive performance to date. She has clearly wintered well, and is one of the few for whom a mile looks spot on. She'll have the benefit of that seasonal debut and, whilst I'm not suggesting she'll necessarily win, the 25's with Hills, Ladbrokes and VC looks decent each way value in a wide open year.

Suddenly we are into the realms of the 25 and 33/1 chances, and it looks as though at least one major trend for the 1000 Guineas will be breached. That being the case, I imagine it will be that a horse outside the first two last time out will prevail.

This brings in those at the head of the market: Special Duty and Seta. With the last three French winners of the Cheveley Park Stakes all going on to win the 1000 Guineas, it's not difficult to forgive Special Duty a below-par run last time. That said, nor is it difficult to overlook her from a punting perspective at 3/1.

The other trial of note is the Rockfel Stakes. Both Speciosa and Finsceal Beo won the Rockfel prior to winning the Guineas in recent seasons, so perhaps we do need to consider Music Show’s two Bath victories after all!

I will side with history, and the Cheveley Park and Rockfel form and back Music Show to win, with a saver only on Special Duty. As a more speculative poke, I'll have a couple of farthings each way on Puff, who will outstay many more fancied horses, I believe.

Finally, in the inevitable post-race gushing and fawning, bear these figures in mind before piling into the Guineas winners for the Oaks and Derby:

Only Kazzia (10/3) in 2002 followed up in the Oaks since Salsabil back in 1991; and only the magnificent Sea The Stars (11/4) was able to double up in the Derby since that other giant of the flat game, Nashwan, way back in 1989.

It is likely that the Guineas winners will be offered at very short odds for the next two Classics. Look to oppose them with confidence over half a mile further and on a completely different track constitution.