Ones to watch in 1000 Guineas

Santa Barbara and Seamie Heffernan win The Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden in September

Santa Barbara and Seamie Heffernan win The Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden during day one of the Autumn Festival at Curragh Racecourse in September - Credit: PA

The 1000 Guineas is the second Classic of the season and takes centre stage on Sunday at Newmarket.

The mile contest, live on ITV at 3.40pm, is solely open to fillies and has been won by a litany of top-class talent in its decorated history.

Her Majesty The Queen famously won the event in Highclere in 1974, whilst other famous winners include Pebbles (1984), Oh So Sharp (1985), Bosra Sham (1996), Minding (2016) and in 2020 by Love.

This year’s contest features a number of exciting contenders and the 6/4 market leader for the Fillies’ Classic is Santa Barbara who bids to provide Aidan O’Brien with a seventh win in the mile event and a fifth win in the last six years.

Santa Barbara, a daughter of 2000 Guineas hero Camelot was a smooth winner at the Curragh of a maiden in September, but goes into the race with just that one start behind her.

However, she has been backed into 6/4 from 33/1 at the start of the year, suggesting confidence is high she could be one of the best fillies O’Brien has trained. O’Brien could also run the ultra-consistent Mother Earth, Snowfall and fellow first time out winner Queen’s Speech.

Pretty Gorgeous is a course and distance winner having tasted Group One glory in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October and has improved dramatically over the winter in terms of her physique according to trainer Joseph O’Brien.

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She looks a leading player along with Alcohol Free who captured the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newbury in April. The question mark with her is whether she will see out the mile trip, having only narrowly scored in the Fred Darling over seven furlongs on her reappearance at Newbury last month.

Sacred won the Nell Gwyn Stakes on her reappearance at Newmarket and is of interest, but the filly she beat into second that day Saffron Beach looks sure to be suited by the step up to a mile and looks a cracking each-way contender.

Statement was second to Alcohol Free at Newbury and would have been in front with another stride. She looks a fascinating contender judged on that effort and should be monitored along with Vadream who was third in that event.

Fev Rover was a smart two-year-old and is a danger on the pick of her form as well as Thunder Beauty who was well-beaten at Longchamp on her final start last term, but will appreciate quicker ground here.

Group scorer Lullaby Moon, Baby Alya, Seattle Rock and Star Of Emaraaty complete the potential runners.

Big-race verdict – Santa Barbara 6/4

Santa Barbara looks rock-solid. The vibes have been strong about her chances all winter and she can now blossom into a very exciting filly. Pretty Gorgeous should give her the most to think about having been a Group One winner last term, whilst Saffron Beach looks sure to be suited by this step up in trip. Alcohol Free needs to prove she can stay this trip and is opposable given that concern, with Santa Barbara a very exciting prospect who can justify the hype.

1000 Guineas betting: Santa Barbara 6/4; Pretty Gorgeous 7/1; Alcohol Free and Sacred 7/1; Saffron Beach 8/1; Mother Earth 12/1; Statement 14/1; Fev Rover, Thunder Beauty and Vadream 16/1; Queen’s Speech 25/1; Lullaby Moon 33/1; Bar 66/1

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