Racing: Stack moved by filly's narrow Guineas win: Las Meninas provides trainer with first Classic

Victory for Las Meninas in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket yesterday brought tears to the face of her trainer, Tommy Stack, just as his moving Grand National success on Red Rum had done 17 years before.

There can be few more diverse challenges in racing than the 30 fences of the Grand National and a straight bolt up the Rowley Mile, but success in both events had a similarly devastating effect on the Irishman's emotions.

As Stack contemplated his first Classic victory, he brushed his eyes and answered in a faltering voice. 'I shouldn't be like this,' he mumbled. 'But it was the same with Red Rum at Liverpool. It's that sort of day.'

The pattern of the race cannot have helped the trainer's equilibrium. Drawn in stall one, Las Meninas's jockey, John Reid, had no option but to hold his mount back as the action boiled around him. Up front, Dance To The Top, Relatively Special and the favourite, Mehthaaf, each took a turn in the vanguard as Reid, riding his filly for the first time, found himself in a position that would have tested Houdini.

'I had plenty of horse underneath me, and it was a matter of just being patient and waiting for the field to break up,' he said. 'But it seemed to go on a long time. I couldn't have sat there much longer.'

Once a fissure appeared, Las Meninas wriggled free, and joined the leaders. The problems then were narrowed down to two horses, the Lanfranco Dettori-ridden Balanchine and Coup De Genie, ridden by Cash Asmussen. Las Meninas and Balanchine surged past the post in apparent unison but the photographic evidence showed that Las Meninas had won, as they say in these circles, by the thickness of a cigarette paper.

For Reid, it was a third Classic, following Dr Devious's Derby in 1992 and On The House's victory in this race 12 years ago. 'I've won the 1,000 Guineas before but it seems like a lifetime ago now,' he said. 'These days are magic.'

A neck behind the principals was France's Coup De Genie, completing a one-two- three without either a British- trained horse or British rider. Mehthaaf was fourth and her jockey, Willie Carson, gave the reason that riders should deliver more often. 'They were better horses,' he said in explanation for his filly's eclipse.

Perhaps even more discomforting for the home team than the foreign domination was that the runner-up was prepared over the winter in the warmer environment of Dubai. Putting horses in a hothouse to encourage their development is not a new idea, but the experiment has never been conducted with the vigour of Sheikh Mohammed, Balanchine's part-owner, who has nurtured 50 thoroughbreds in the Gulf this winter.

Perceived wisdom has it that his filly, who is trained by the Dubai champion trainer, Hilal Ibrahim, is six weeks ahead of her rivals in terms of maturity. She ran like it, and there is now solid evidence that Britain's early-season Classics may become easy prey for horses from the Middle East.

Sheikh Mohammed and Robert Sangster, Las Meninas's owner, greeted each other warmly as the photo-finish print was being processed. Sangster had less to lose as the developer was being poured out. He bred Balanchine and received a sizeable sum when selling her to the Sheikh last year. Now the members of her family which he retains have had their value enhanced.

The greenhouse effect has not been lost on Sangster and he intends to import two-year- olds to Britain from his Australian string. But, for now, he himself can bask - in the achievements of Las Meninas.

The filly is named after a painting by Velazquez. Yesterday, their values were brought much closer together.

Photograph and report, page 37

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before