Qabala fires into Guineas favouritism with eyecatching Nell Gwyn verdict

Roger Varian’s charge heads ante-post lists following Newmarket success

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Qabala is the new favourite for next month’s Qipco 1000 Guineas after she justified strong market support to beat her stablemate Mot Juste in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

Roger Varian’s Mot Juste brought Group-winning form to the table, but in the minutes before the race, Qabala was backed from 13-2 into 100-30 favouritism.

Pretty slowly away, David Egan was content to bury her in the middle of the field as Orchid Star took them along, with Mot Juste well placed to challenge.

When Mot Juste hit the front coming out of the dip, Qabala still had plenty of ground to make up, but she displayed an electric turn of foot to burst through and win by a length and three-quarters on just her second start.

Mot Juste was another three-quarters of a length in front of John Gosden’s Angel’s Hideaway, who came from last into third.

Betway makes Qabala its new 5-1 favourite for the Guineas, with Ladbrokes two points bigger at 7-1.

Varian said: “I was very impressed. She came in inexperienced only having the one start. She has worked well and she worked well last year before she ran and won. We have high hopes for her.

“When you come off the back of one run and go into a competitive race like this, you are never quite sure. I was delighted how she switched off and she quickened really well.

“They are two nice fillies. Mot Juste ran a great race. She was ridden a bit more forward, travelled strongly and went there to win her race. She got a bit tired up the hill and got a second wind.

“I think Qabala had a lovely passage through and came into the picture a bit later. They are different types of fillies. They move differently and behave differently.

“Qabala would be more flashy in her homework, but they don’t work together. They both deserve – given health and soundness – to possibly come back for a crack at the Guineas.

“Qabala has not come in her coat yet and I nearly didn’t run her. She had been trained for the race to trial today and bar having a long coat, I have been happy with her work and she has got a healthy look to her. There wasn’t a reason not to come except she hadn’t come in her coat.

“I hope race will bring her on and I think she will look different in her appearance next time she races. We thought the maiden form was strong at the time and we liked her before that maiden, so we went into the winter thinking she was a nice one.”

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