1999 – Wince (Sir Henry Cecil, Kieren Fallon)
19th century trainer Robert Robson may have the honour of training the most winners of this event (nine), but Sir Henry Cecil also managed to win it six times, including with great fillies like Oh So Sharp, Bosra Sham and Sleepytime.
This was his last winner of this heat at his local track, although he did score in the colt’s equivalent with the mighty Frankel in 2011, and she would have delighted many racegoers who followed the Warren Place handler’s athletes devotedly as she went to post a 4-1 favourite having touched 6-1 on course.
Kieren Fallon, who had also partnered Sleepytime for Cecil, was also a punter’s pal and after he gave her the office just before the furlong marker, despite his mount hanging left, the pair crossed the finishing line half a length ahead of Wannabe Grand.
Wince was only seen in public on one further occasion when she failed to follow up for backers, finishing fifth of 18 and a beaten ‘jolly’ in the Irish equivalent.
2001 – Ameerat (Michael Jarvis, Philip Robinson)
It would have been a travesty if late, great trainer Michael Jarvis hadn’t trained an English Classic winner and although he would later also saddle Eswarah to win the Oaks, this was his first and it was a pleasure to be there.
Jarvis was a quiet man, but boy did he know his horses and such was the respect that he had among his own training ranks, he was known as ‘the professional’s professional’.
On the day long-term ally Philip Robinson produced the filly over a furlong from home and the pair led well inside the last to get the better of a thrilling finish under a power-packed ride by a neck from Muwakleh.
One of my earliest racing memories is Jarvis winning the Arc with Carroll House in 1989, but a Classic win at his local course must have given the Suffolk sorcerer, who died in 2011, immense satisfaction.
2006 – Speciosa (Pam Sly, Mickey Fenton)
Generally the Flat tends to be dominated by the bigger operations and yards and it was fantastic to see Cambridgeshire conjuror Pam Sly score in the first fillies’ Classic, particularly as she lives just down the road from me and I’m more used to seeing her at Huntingdon than Newmarket!
Although I’m an after-timer here and didn’t back her, you can argue the market got her chance completely wrong as she was returned at 10-1, having won her only two previous starts at Headquarters including the Nell Gwyn Stakes which is considered one of the two main English trials for the race.
If Speciosa had been trained by Aidan O’Brien or Sir Michael Stoute, she’d surely have gone off much shorter than 10-1, but it was absolutely marvelous to see Pam and Mickey Fenton, securing the biggest win of their careers, have their day in the limelight.
2007 – Finsceal Beo (Jim Bolger, Kevin Manning)
The Mark Johnston-trained Attraction was the first horse to complete the English/Irish 1,000 Guineas double in 2004, but it didn’t take Finsceal Beo too long to emulate her.
The winner was later placed in a couple of top-class races, but it’s probably fair to say she was a bit disappointing after The Curragh. However, as a huge fan of self-made man and master trainer Jim Bolger, it was marvelous to see him win this heat for a first time.
Punters were in clover as well as she was sent off a furiously-backed 5-4 favourite and when Kevin Manning, a jockey I’ve always regarded as one of the best when it really matters, hit the front over two furlongs out the result was never in doubt as she stayed on to win by two and a half lengths from Arch Swing.
2012 – Homecoming Queen (Aidan O’Brien, Ryan Moore)
Writer’s licence allows me to put this one in as really it should have gone in my funniest moments piece – but I ran out of room.
One national newspaper tipster that year managed to pinpoint this winner despite her being 25-1 and Aidan also having the 13-8 favourite, Maybe, in the same race.
This one had slipped our minds, @rumsbyc1961
Homecoming Queen surged clear at 25/1 in the 1000 Guineas of 2012. She was a beaten favourite on her next two starts and never raced again. pic.twitter.com/5B2ntANbOj
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 14, 2020
Later one of the Coolmore ‘lads’ approached said tipster and asked how they had found her? The hack attempted to bluff their way out of it with lines like the form book you know, etc. etc.
What actually happened is there was a miscommunication between the tipster and the paper’s copy writer on the phone and the wrong number of their selection in the 1,000 Guineas went in the next day’s edition.
So ‘Lady Luck’ had it that incorrect digit was Homecoming Queen’s number five.
- Punter turns £7.50 into £2,550 with Lucky 15 Sunday strike
- Ruby Walsh: Un De Sceaux’s 5 best moments that I’ll remember forever
- Ruby Walsh: The 10 Sportsmen I admired most in my career
- Mick Fitzgerald: My 10 best races of the 209/20 jumps season