Monday 21 January 2013

Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)

The excitement of Royal Ascot's second day sees the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 (19th June, 2013). This 5f race for two-year-old fillies is named after Queen Mary the consort of King George V. The race was first run in 1921 with Wild Mint proving victorious.

In 2004, the Queen Mary was upgraded from Group 3 status. 

From a historical perspective, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 5 wins (Supervisor 1932 - Apparition 1946). While Fred Darling has trained 7 winners. 

Since the 1990s Richard Hannon & Mick Channon have achieved great success with a number of talented fillies. This race has been a tip for future juvenile successes. Lyric Fantasy, Gay Gallanta, Blue Duster, Attraction & Queens Logic where all awarded the title of European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Many others have been made favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, including the ill-fated Bint Allayl, who was trained by Mick Channon. One of the most successful winner was seen in 2003. Attraction, a small filly with terrible conformation,  trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Kevin Darley, won by three lengths. This exceptionally gifted filly went on to win both English & Irish 1,000 Guineas.    

Famous past winner:

Ceiling Kitty

This bay filly, a daughter of Red Clubs, is trained by Tom Dascombe. Andrew Black - one of the founders of Betfair - and The Master Bettors owned this tough juvenile. She was bred at Black's stud in Cobham, Surrey. 

Ceiling Kitty was sent to the Tattersall October Yearling Sales where she was bought by the vendor for 16,000gns.

This February foal started her career in a fillies' maiden at Kempton. Starting 11/4f she finished a creditable second after a terribly slow start. In April she made her second start at Beverley over 5f on testing ground. By all account this was a disappointing performance. The joint favourite could only finish fourth of ten, beaten a number of lengths.

Clearly connection held this filly in some regard but so far all had not gone to plan. 

However, a return to Kempton saw a professional third start to win by half a length. 

Dascombe's charge was one of the outsiders for the Marygate Fillies' Stakes Listed contest at York over 5f. Early season hot shot, Bailey's Jubilee, was an odds-on favourite but ran poorly. Ceiling Kitty ran on strongly to win by two lengths at 20/1. Many considered this a surprise victory. 

Her next target was the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 at Royal Ascot, 2012. Although priced at 20/1, seemingly second string to the stable's debut winner Upward Spiral, she made the most of her experience winning by a length from Michael Bell's Hoyam who finished with great gusto. Once again, Ceiling Kitty defied the odds beating twenty six rivals bagging a prize of over £42,000.

After a month on the sidelines she contested the Flying Childers Stakes Group 2, which featured some of the fastest two-year-olds in training. Finishing 4th, beaten less than two lengths, was a bold effort over this 5f dash. Hoyam finished a place behind.

Her penultimate race saw her competing at the highest grade: the Jaguar Cheveley Park Stakes Group 1 at Newmarket. Here she would attempt 6f for the first time. Finishing 7th behind Rosdhu Queen was no disgrace.

The finale to a sparkling two-year-old season saw her fly to the Unites States being the only European runner at Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint over 6f. Tom Dascombe commented: ''She's tough and has experience. If she gets 6f on dirt she has some sort of chance and she probably doesn't need to be to top class to win this race.'' However, this bonny filly never looked happy and was bustled to the front only to finish last.