Frankie Dettori came with a surging late run down the rail to win the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Blue Bunting at Newmarket today.
It was the grey-roan filly’s first run of the season – and she had been touted as more of an Oaks contender, over half a mile further, than a Classic miler. But she had won here at Newmarket over the same trip on her third and final run last season, and she finished like a rocket to give Dettori his third 2000 Guineas victory at 16-1.
“That felt great! It was a pleasant surprise,” said Dettori. “The lads had been telling me that she had been working well but, honestly, she had a lot to prove on form. They went a good pace, which is what I needed, and I haven’t won a Classic for a while, especially here in Newmarket, my home town.”
Blue Bunting, by the top American sire Dynaformer out a Linamix mare, is a first Classic winner for Mahmood Al Zarooni, who is in his second season training for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation. She was bought as a yearling at Saratoga by bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud for $200,000.
Following Frankel’s all-the-way triumph in yesterday’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the fillies’ equivalent had no stand-out contestant. Moonlight Cloud, trained in France by Freddy Head, went off the 9-2 favourite, but could only finish seventh.
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained Hooray led the 18-runner field until two furlongs from the post, whereupon the confirmed front-runner was overtaken by Moonlight Cloud. She didn’t last long in front and surrendered to Together, chased by Maqaasid. But Dettori produced Blue Bunting at the last moment to win by three-quarters of a length.
Together, a 33-1 shot for Aidan O’Brien, finished a length and a quarter ahead of the John Gosden-trained Maqaasid. Nova Hawk was fourth for French trainer Rod Collet. Barefoot Lady, the Nell Gwyn Stakes heroine here a few weeks ago, was fifth.
The well-fancied Memory was reluctant to leave the stalls and trailed in last. Her jockey, Richard Hughes, said: “If she wants to go she can win, but she refused to jump off. She nearly did the same at Royal Ascot [last year] but I got away with it.”
Blue Bunting will now head for the Investec Oaks at Epsom on 3 June as a likely favourite.