Forget Ramsey Street. There will be enough plot lines running down the Rowley Mile this after-noon to keep the most ardent soapster glued to the screen. Will fate finally smile on Mick Channon? Were the Godolphin talent-spotters right? Could Pam Sly's wayward upstart bring down the aristos? Will it be first time lucky for Sir Mark Prescott? A dream return to Newmarket for John Gosden? Can Aidan O'Brien's second string upstage the star and set her family record straight? Tune in at 3.30, when all will be answered in the 193rd 1,000 Guineas.
Twice Channon has had the winter favourite for the youngest of the five Classics and twice his candidate has failed to make the line-up. In 1999, Bint Allayl broke a shoulder on the Lambourn gallops three months before the race, and four years ago Queen's Logic went lame the day before.
The West Ilsley contender today is Flashy Wings, like Queen's Logic owned by Jaber Abdullah. The daughter of Zafonic, winner of the Queen Mary and Lowther Stakes, has tasted defeat, in the last two of her six outings last year, but her trainer rates her right up with her two ill-starred predecessors.
The twist is that Channon might have had two chances to lay his Guineas ghost, for last year he had another top-notcher, Silca's Sister, under his care. The two chestnuts are very different characters, but pretty close in talent. Flashy Wings is a generous worker who wears her class on her sleeve; Silca's Sister is lazier but will keep answering any demands. The last-named's performance in beating the colts in the Prix Morny caught Sheikh Mohammed's eye, the unrefusable offer was made to her owner, and the Inchinor filly joined the blues.
When the close-season headhunters called on Sly, though, they were turned away. The trainer and her two partners in bargain-basement buy Speciosa, her son Michael and London GP Tom Davies, decided to live the dream rather than cash in their unexpected asset. Sly has charge of mostly jumpers on her Fenland farm and has sent out just 10 Flat winners in the past five seasons, but Speciosa has earned her place among the élite.
The Danehill Dancer filly is high-mettled - in her youth she was fed a supplement more commonly used to calm mental patients - and is a difficult ride, with a tendency to shoulder-charge across the track, but she has confounded her origins with two Group wins on today's track.
It is no surprise that Sly has never before had a runner in a Guineas, but it is a more eyebrow-raising statistic in the case of Prescott. Yet Confidential Lady will be his first runner in any British Classic after 35 years with a licence. At her best, the daughter of Singspiel has form that puts her right in the mix. She represents Cheveley Park Stud, whose colours are also carried by the Fillies' Mile winner, Nannina, Gosden's first Classic runner from his new base at HQ.
Aidan O'Brien hopes to saddle two, Rumplestiltskin and Race For The Stars, in his bid for the Guineas double and a second successive 1,000. Rumplestiltskin, winner of the Prix Marcel Boussac, is the choice of Kieren Fallon, leaving Johnny Murtagh on the less exposed Race For The Stars (3.30), who scored in style when sent to Newmarket for a test-drive last year. The lovely bay, Fusaichi Pegasus filly can avenge the defeat of her half-brother Hawk Wing by Rock Of Gibraltar (and Murtagh) in the 2,000 four years ago, at the expense of Flashy Wings, Silca's Sister and Confidential Lady.
BETS OF THE DAY
Bunood (Newmarket 4.05) is a tall, scopey filly and is sure to have improved with a winter on her back. She can justify her Oaks entry.
Forgive Confidential Lady (Newmarket 3.30) her final outing last year - when she was recovering from illness - and she is not far short of the best of her generation.Reuse content