There may be three individual 1000 Guineas winners in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday, but some bookmakers are making Aidan O’Brien’s Clemmie the favourite.
A clear-cut winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes last season, she headed into the winter as favourite for the Newmarket version, only to meet with a setback in the spring which meant she did not reappear until the Irish Guineas.
O’Brien went on record as saying she would improve greatly for that run in ninth place, and he still expects her to improve after this Group One affair.
“She is in good form. She has come forward since the Guineas, but she will come forward again,” said O’Brien.
“She needed the run in the Guineas badly. She ran well and just got tired. She had a little bit of a setback and lost a good bit of fitness, but she is coming back. She will come forward more after this.
“I think a mile will be within reach, but we will see. We weren’t sure if it was the trip or if she got tired in Ireland, but we think she got tired. It will be interesting.”
David Simcock’s Teppal was a shock winner of the French Guineas off the back of two wins on the all-weather and is now unbeaten in three.
“She had a really good day at Longchamp. She did ever so well to go into that off the back of two novice runs straight into a Classic. It was very special,” said Simcock.
“She was fit and in good shape and the rest was her. She quickened very well that day.
“You would like to think through natural impression she will improve, but we don’t know as at home we’ve not asked her that.
“She has got a great temperament and is a pleasure to train. She is very straightforward. You’ve got the three Guineas winners together and we will see which is the best one, which is always nice.”
The Irish Guineas winner was Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri and she is looking to add to her tally in a race that forms another leg of the Qipco British Champions Series.
“It was a funny race, with the O’Brien horse going off in front very hard,” said Harrington.
“Alpha Centauri had to do all the hard work herself, which is never easy because she had to go and chase and potentially was going to drag the other horses into the race, but they could never get to her.
“All has been good since. She is tough, genuine and pretty talented. What she loves is a nice, firm surface. She’s a very big filly and I think what happens of soft ground is that she basically can’t pull her body out of it.”
Richard Hannon’s Billesdon Brook was a shock winner at Newmarket and after much deliberation over her target ends up in this.
“I think it’s the first time for 30 years the winners of the English, Irish and French Guineas have all met in the Coronation,” said Hannon.
“She’s in great form, we’re very happy with her. People can question the form of each Guineas if they want, but we need to meet to see who is the best.
“She’s as good as she was going into the Guineas, this will be a fantastic race and if she wins then great.
“We haven’t done anything different with her, she’s not doing handstands or anything but she wasn’t before the Guineas.
“We could have gone over 10 furlongs but why when you’ve won a Guineas. She’s taking on a lot of horses she’s beaten. We can go over further later.”
Sir Michael Stoute’s Veracious was another to miss the Guineas but looked promising last year for Cheveley Park Stud.
Racing manager Chris Richardson said: “It has been frustrating but there is plenty of time for her. Whatever she does on her next run she will improve for.”
John Gosden runs Godolphin’s Aim Of Artemis, a winner of two of her three starts.
He said: “She has been happy and well since Newmarket. We were inclined to come here as it is against three-year-old fillies on the old mile and that is a distance that suits her at the moment.
“I was thinking she would want to go a mile and a quarter, but the jockey (Robert Havlin) said after the race at Newmarket to stay at a mile.”