Royal Ascot’s juvenile races often act as a jump off for the discussion of potential contenders for next year’s Classics and this year’s meeting has been no exception, with impressive performances highlighting some likely ladies for next year’s 1000 Guineas.
The Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes and the Group 3 Albany Stakes saw some of this term’s more talented two-year-old fillies do battle and both were won in taking style.
Undoubtedly the more impressive of the winners was Charles Hills’ Kiyoshi, who scored in the latter contest by three-and-a-quarter lengths from Kevin Fahey’s highly-rated Sandiva, earning 10/1 favouritism for next year’s Classic in the process.
The Albany looked a pretty competitive affair with 17 of the 19 runners previous winners, but Sandiva and Joyeuse were the form picks. The former in particular had plenty of solid evidence to speak for her, having beaten four previous scorers when taking a listed race on her previous outing.
However she had no answer when Kiyoshi turned on the afterburners under Jamie Spencer just over 1f from home and despite that one hanging so far right she almost grazed the running rail, there was only one winner from then on in.
If not for that erratic running style she would have won by further, so it seems there could well be more to come for the daughter of Dubawi with the benefit of further experience. Her sire was an Irish Guineas winner who has previously sired an English 2000 Guineas victor in Makfi, so there will be little doubt that she will stay at least 1m next season.
The same cannot be said with quite such certainty of Queen Mary winner Rizeena – currently a 16/1 shot for Newmarket glory next season. Neither her sire or her grandsire have a stamina index – the average distance over which all wins by their offspring have been recorded – of as much as a mile.
That’s not something that seems to perturb trainer Clive Brittain, who has suggested he will follow the same race program with the daughter of Iffraaj as he did with his 1993 Guineas-winning filly Sayyedati.
Iffraaj’s reputation as sire of precocious juveniles – the 38 two-year-old winners he brought into the world during his first campaign at stud is still a record among European first season sires – may be another reason to be circumspect about Rizeena’s chances in spite of her trainer’s positivity and at this stage Kiyoshi would have to rate the superior ante-post bet for next year’s 1000 Guineas.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.