|Thursday 1st April 2021
Santa Barbara Emerging as O’Brien’s Best Hope In 1000 Guineas
The 1000 Guineas at Newmarket is the opening British Classic of the season for fillies and it is Santa Barbara who is emerging as the warm favourite for the race.
The daughter of Camelot, who is trained by Aidan O’Brien, only appeared once on the track in 2020. She was successful in her maiden at the Curragh, scoring by just over two lengths in that 1m contest under the hands of Seamie Heffernan.
Santa Barbara looked very comfortable on the track in that opening run. There were no signs of inexperience and the way she went through the gears on the Rowley Mile suggests she could also be a horse who can step up in distance in the near future.
Fillies' Classic Is a Race O’Brien Has Dominated
The 1000 Guineas is a race O’Brien has dominated over the last couple of decades. He has saddled the winner six times, including four of the last five renewals in an impressive run of results.
O’Brien first won the British Classic in 2005 with Virginia Waters. Last year Love was his latest winner. She went on to have an excellent season, with successes also coming in the Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks. At the Cartier Awards at the end of the year, she was named the Champion Three-year-old Filly.
Santa Barbara is 7/4 with NetBet Sport to give her trainer a seventh victory in the fillies' Classic. The Ballydoyle trainer does an excellent job of preparing his best three-year-olds for the British Classics so expect to see his latest star be fit and ready for the challenge at Newmarket.
Challengers to 1000 Guineas Favourite
Pretty Gorgeous is set to be the biggest challenger to Santa Barbara, according to the betting, as she is the 11/2 second favourite in the ante-post betting for the 1000 Guineas. She is trained by Aidan’s son Joseph, who is looking to win the race for the first time as a trainer.
After completing five runs already in her career, Pretty Gorgeous has much more experience. She also won a Group One contest over the 1000 Guineas C&D last year, prevailing in the Fillies’ Mile.
In the UK, John Gosden is set to be represented in the British Classic by Indigo Girl. She won two of her three starts in 2020 and was only half-a-length behind Pretty Gorgeous on her last start at Newmarket.
Gosden has won the 1000 Guineas just once. That victory came in 2000 when Lahan was too strong for her rivals in the 1m race. Indigo Girl, who won the Group Two May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last season, is 10/1 to give her trainer another success in the Classic.
This year’s 1000 Guineas is set to take place on the 2nd May. Two days later, the colts will take centre stage at Newmarket in the course’s biggest weekend of the year.