IF THE Aidan O’Brien-trained Churchill wins the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the 9/4 currently available about RHODODENDRON for Sunday’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas (3.35pm) with 188BET will disappear fast.
Last season’s Fillies’ Mile winner relished the combination of fast ground and the step up to a mile when registering that Group One success over course and distance.
With similar conditions expected again on Sunday, it is hard to pick holes in her challenge and once again any opposition to her is based around price.
She heads the betting for next month’s Investec Oaks over an extra half mile, so there is a niggling doubt she may now need further than a mile.
That said, she showed plenty of speed on her last trip to Newmarket and I’d rather side with a filly with stamina in the locker than without.
Those looking to oppose her are likely to do so with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Daban, who lines up here unbeaten in two starts for in-form trainer John Gosden.
She was mightily impressive for one so inexperienced in the Nell Gwyn last month and the extra furlong is likely to help her too.
Whether she has the class to lower the colours of Rhododendron remains to be seen and she looks pretty skinny at just 6/1 considering she was twice that price a week ago.
Fair Eva looked a potential superstar when winning the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot last summer, but somewhat blotted her copybook when beaten at long odds-on on her final two starts as a juvenile.
The daughter of Frankel steps up to a mile for the first time and slips in here a little under the radar if she can return to her best.
However, at the current prices, I prefer to look further down the list and take a chance on another Aidan O’Brien’s filly in the shape of maiden winner WINTER.
Like favourite Rhododendron, she is another daughter of Galileo, but the comparisons apparently stop there when you compare their respective two-year-old careers.
Winter only ran in three minor maidens and managed to get beaten when a hot favourite at Gowran, before winning at Dundalk back in August.
However, it was her reappearance run when second behind stablemate Hydrangea at Leopardstown in their 1000 Guineas Trial last month that catches the eye.
She had plenty of smart fillies in behind her that day and left the form of her two-year-old days well behind her.
The step up to a mile looks to be ideal and the weight of money for her in recent days suggest that she may still be value at 10/1 with 188BET.
It can certainly be argued that she is bred to be far speedier than Rhododendron, being out of a mare who landed a monster gamble in the Wokingham Handicap over six furlongs back in 2010.
The combination of her sire’s stamina and her dam’s speed make her potentially lethal over one mile and she could easily upset her better-fancied stablemate particularly with fitness on her side too.
Don’t forget back in 2012 that it was a race-fit Homecoming Queen that defeated the same connection’s apparently better fancied Maybe at a monster 25/1.
Looking at the rest and there have been plenty of positive vibes about the once-raced Talaayeb for trainer Owen Burrows.
She looked very useful when winning her maiden at Newmarket last September, but this requires another massive step up.
It’s certainly not impossible, but 11/1 seems a bit skinny for a filly having only the second start of her career.
Instead, for my last selection I’m going for URBAN FOX to potentially hit the frame at a whopping 50/1.
There isn’t a filly in this field with more experience and the daughter of Foxwedge will be having the 10th start of her career on Sunday.
She rounded off her two-year-old career by finishing a well-beaten third behind Rhododendron in the Fillies’ Mile, but that came on the back of a busy season.
The pick of her form was probably her defeat of Unforgetable Filly at Newmarket and she was a bit unlucky not to finish closer when third in the May Hill.
She was a good second to Dabyah over seven furlongs in the Fred Darling at Newbury last time and looks just the type to relish the step up to a mile.
With a run under her belt, she will strip fitter and looks just the unfashionable sort that sneaks into the frame in a race like this.
QIPCO 1000 Guineas 1-2-3
3 URBAN FOX