The Nell Gwyn Stakes is regarded as one of the leading three-year-old trials for the 1,000 Guineas, being run over the same course as the second Classic of the season, which this year takes place in May 1st at Newmarket.
There are 12 horses lining up this year following the withdrawals of Illuminate and Aljazzi, with the Newmarket going deemed softer than ideal for that pair.
Our resident King of Stats has run the rule over those who do remain, with his anticipated winner available below:
12 of the last 13 winners were making their seasonal reappearance
This immediately rules out the two rank outsiders in the field, with Squash having finished down the field in an all-weather Listed contest at Lingfield in March and Yeah Baby Yeah already seen on the racecourse four times in 2016.
10 of the last 13 winners had previously finished in the first three in their latest start
This rules out a further four of the field, who were all beaten in Group races. One was sole Aidan O’Brien entrant Coolmore, who was only fourth last time in the Grade 1 Dubai Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Also discounted are Ashadihan following a poor showing when last in the Lowther Stakes, Doubly Motivated after being well beaten in the Rockfel Stakes and Epsom Icon, who seemed outclassed in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood.
7 of the last 13 winners had previous experience of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course
Just the sole additional omission, with Fourth Way having his three starts at Yarmouth or Newbury.
6 of the last 13 winners had previously tasted success over 7f
Of the remaining five runners, Only Mine is still waiting for a first victory over the Nell Gwyn distance, having achieved both of his career triumphs so far over a shorter 6f trip.
8 of the last 13 winners had already won a race in Listed or Group class
Nathra is the clear favourite for the Nell Gwyn, but her only attempt at such a level came when finishing second last time to 1,000 Guineas ante-post favourite Minding, so she is disregarded despite owning the best form.
Mix And Mingle’s victories have been in a maiden and a handicap, while Robane’s solitary success in two starts was in a maiden too.
This leaves Godolphin’s First Victory as the most likely Nell Gwyn winner, as the only entrant to fit all five trends above.
She is 2-2 in her career so far, beating Robane on her final two-year-old start when landing the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes over course and distance. The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained filly is yet to race away from Newmarket.
First Victory is 7/2 to win the Nell Gwyn and being a horse that is more about pace than stamina, she could be too quick for her rivals, many of which will view this distance as a minimum.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.