David Elsworth admits he would prefer softer ground to boost the claims of Dandhu in Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Dandy Man filly showed great tenacity to win the Fred Darling, a noted trial for the Classic, on her return to action under Gerald Mosse.
While Elsworth sent her to Newbury far from fully wound up and is expecting improvement, the dry lead-up to the race has not been in her favour.
Elsworth said: “She is a good filly. I am just a bit concerned about the quick ground.
“She went to Newbury for her trial and she had done a lot of honest preparation, but she hadn’t done any competitive work. I gave her one blow and she worked extremely well.
“She hadn’t had a strong preparation for an animal that was going to run in that class of race. She has come out of the race well and she is pretty fit. I believe she is in good shape and I don’t think the trainer has messed it up.”
Impressive Nell Gwyn winner Qabala heads a field of 15 for the Classic and is 11-4 market leader with Betway.
The daughter of Scat Daddy defeated her Roger Varian-trained stablemate Mot Juste at the Craven meeting, and the pair are set to square up again in the fillies’ Classic over the Rowley Mile on Sunday.
“Having been available at 40-1 prior to her impressive Nell Gwyn victory, Qabala heads into the 1000 Guineas as a very strong favourite at 11-4 and would be a costly result for us,” said Betway’s Alan Algar.
“Since that win, she’s has been continuously well-supported and with the extra furlong looking well within her capabilities, she looks a tough nut to crack for the first fillies’ Classic of the season.
“Meanwhile, we’ve seen solid each-way support for her stable companion Mot Juste. She wasn’t far behind Qabala at Newmarket last time and she’s now 10-1 from 12-1.”
Aidan O’Brien has four chances, headed by Rockfel Stakes scorer Just Wonderful, as Ireland’s champion trainer bids to register his fifth win in the race. Fairyland, Fleeting and Hermosa complete his team.
O’Brien’s son Joseph has a leading contender in Iridessa, winner of the Fillies’ Mile in the autumn and third on her reappearance at Leopardstown.
Sheila Lavery’s Lady Kaya, who had Iridessa back in third when taking the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial, is also in the mix.
The other Irish contender is Skitter Scatter, now with John Oxx after a glorious juvenile campaign for Patrick Prendergast that culminated in victory over Lady Kaya in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
Richard Hannon, who struck with 66-1 outsider Billesdon Brook last year, is represented by Star Terms.
Completing the list are Angel’s Hideaway, Garrel Glen, Iconic Choice and Look Around.
The only withdrawal at the 48-hour final declaration stage was Antonia De Vega.