/ Racing

Rizeena heads 1000 Guineas contenders

Updated: Friday, 02 May 2014 21:35 | Comments

Rizeena (left) will go in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket
Rizeena (left) will go in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket

Ante-post favourite Rizeena features in a field of 19 declared for the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday, with Clive Brittain bullish about her chances of giving him a third triumph in the race after Pebbles in 1984 and Sayyedati in 1993.

Winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot over the minimum five-furlong trip, the daughter of Iffraaj relished seven furlongs when claiming the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh and was a fine second to Chriselliam in the Fillies' Mile on her final two-year-old start.

Brittain's confidence has not been diminished despite having to change jockey with champion Richard Hughes replacing Ryan Moore, who rides Bracelet for the Aidan O'Brien team, and James Doyle, who is required for Joyeuse.

The veteran Newmarket handler, who is still going strong at the age of 80, said: "Her work has been according to plan, she has done everything we have asked of her really well and we are going to the Guineas with a very fine chance.

"The draw's (seven) not too worrying and the ground will be perfect as far as I'm concerned.

"With Richard (Hughes) riding I've no lack of confidence in the jockey.

"He hasn't sat on her, but he sat behind her last year and beat her once (on Chriselliam), so he knows enough about her.

"Rizeena proved last year that she was top class and shows all the signs that she has improved from two to three just as both Pebbles and Sayyedati did.

"There are 19 runners so you always think you need a bit of luck, but if you've got the best horse you'll win. That's the way I look at it."

George Margarson's Lucky Kristale, who defeated Rizeena in the Duchess of Cambridge Strakes on Newmarket's July course, takes her chance.

The once-beaten filly is reported to be "spot on" for her date with destiny as she bids to add a Classic to her CV after landing the Lowther Stakes following that Newmarket success.

"Like everyone else, we could have done with another three weeks I suppose, but she's where I want her. She's spot on and you couldn't get her any better," said Margarson.

"I know she hasn't had a run (this year), but she won't lack fitness and she doesn't lack experience.

"I'm in the same boat as Clive (Brittain). I think we both think we've got our horses spot on, so let's do battle!

"I'm happy with the draw (15). We're towards the stands side and there's plenty of pace around us and she's ready."

Euro Charline was supplemented on the strength of her fast-finishing second to Sandiva in the Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs.

On that evidence, the extra furlong seems certain to suit the Marco Botti-trained runner.

Botti said: "She's in good form and we have been happy with her since she was second in the Nell Gwyn.

It's another step up in class, but I don't think the mile will be a problem."

The daughter of Myboycharlie is highly rated by connections which is why they were happy to put her in the race, as Barry Irwin, founder member of syndicate owners Team Valor, explained.

"We think she's pretty good. That's why we decided to go ahead and put the money up," he said.

"The reason we are doing it is two-fold.

"Firstly, this will be her third start of the season. If this had been her second start after a race like that last one I'd be a little concerned, but Marco said she has bounced back from that effort really well and had a previous start on the all-weather, so she should be sharp.

"She's run more than the other horses this year, she's had a race over the course and she finished like a mile is going to suit her. Everything looks pretty good to me."

The Jane Cecil-trained Joyeuse has a lot to live up to as a half-sister to Frankel, but she in the 1000 Guineas on merit after finishing third to J Wonder in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury.

"She's been straightforward since Newbury and has come on for the run. She obviously needs to have done so, but everyone is happy with her," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

O'Brien is double-handed with Bracelet and Tapestry, while there are two French raiders in Andre Fabre's Miss France and the Philippe Sogorb-trained Vorda, winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes.

Godolphin are represented by UAE 1000 Guineas and Oaks victor Ihtimal together with Majeyda.

Charlie Hills relies on Royal Ascot winner Kiyoshi, as Sandiva and the supplemented Euro Charline, the first two home in the Nell Gwyn Stakes last month, renew rivalry.

Completing the list of Classic hopefuls are Alutiq, Betimes, Joyeuse, Lady Lara, Lamar, Lightning Thunder, Manderley and Princess Noor.

O'Brien is happy with his hand in a race he also has won twice through Virginia Waters (2005) and Homecoming Queen (2012).

He said of Tapestry: "Everything's good so far. She's a very easy filly to get fit.

"She came very quick after the Curragh (racecourse gallop) and she's been well fit for the last couple of weeks and hopefully we can just nurse her away."

There were several quite high-profile withdrawals among those taken out at the 48-hour final stage Amazing Maria, J Wonder, Al Thakhira, My Titania, Balansiya, Cape Factor and Queen Catrine.

Vorda was beaten in the Group Three Prix Imprudence on her reappearance, when second to Xcellence, but trainer Philippe Sogorb expects her to put that behind her as she returns to the scene of her victory in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

"I was quite disappointed when Vorda was beaten into second in her comeback race but the tempo of the race was slow and she had to hit the front quite early," said Sogorb.

"She won't be ridden like that on Sunday and should get the strong pace she needs.

"I have been really pleased with her in the four weeks since the Imprudence. Up until then she had not really developed physically over the winter, but I have noticed a big difference over recent days, she has really changed."

"I think seven furlongs is her best distance and I cannot be sure that she will stay the mile. But she is a smart filly who is clever enough to manage her resources and not give everything until the closing stages."

The other French raider is the Andre Fabre-trained Miss France, winner of the Oh So Sharp Stakes on the Rowley Mile, but only sixth in the Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte.

"She's in good form and hopefully there will be good ground. It's a very competitive race, but she deserves to take her chance," said Anthony Stroud, racing manager for owners Ballymore Thoroughbreds.

Charlie Hills went close with Just The Judge 12 months ago and is hoping Kiyoshi, who was third to Vorda in the Cheveley Park, can go one better for the stable.

"It looks like she's got a nice draw (13) and I'm very much looking forward to running her," he said.

"I've been pleased with her at home. She's not done anything wrong and she's got some very good form with the best fillies in the race.

"I think she's got a very good chance. She's got a great turn of foot, which is key."

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