James Ferguson is “full of confidence” that Mise En Scene will run a big race in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Sunday (1st May) and insists it would be a “wonderful achievement” for everyone in the yard should she secure victory in the fillies Classic at Newmarket.
After a winter of waiting the Newmarket trainer will finally saddle his first ever Classic runner at his home town track when taking the wraps off the daughter of Siyouni in the mile Group One prize, which she is a general 10-1 chance for.
Like a number of her rivals (14 fillies were declared today) Mise En Scene will enter the race without the benefit of a recent run, but Ferguson believes the Qatar Racing and Racehorse Club-owned filly is ready to do herself justice following a recent racecourse gallop at Chelmsford City.
Ferguson said: “Mise En Scene has been training nicely and Sheikh Fahad, the team and myself made the decision not to go for a trial as I didn’t want to drop her back to seven furlongs.
“She shows plenty of speed and is quick enough for a mile but she is a horse, depending on how she runs in the Guineas, that with her pedigree you could step up to a mile and a quarter afterwards.
“I’ve taken her for a racecourse gallop at Chelmsford City which went as expected and we are going in full of confidence that she will run a big race and hopefully we can get the ball rolling this year for the Qatar team and hopefully win a big one.
“It’s a Classic and it will be a tough race. At the end of the day, if she runs well we will be delighted. It is early on in the season and there is only one Guineas. It is wonderful to have a filly this good and she deserves to be the shortest-priced British runner.
“James Ferguson racing is not just me. It’s the farriers, the vets, the staff and the riders. Everyone pulls together and I’ve got a seriously good team here.”
A wide draw virtually put paid to the chances of Mise En Scene securing victory on her final start last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Del Mar, USA, however Ferguson believes that the trip to America was not lost on his star filly.
Ferguson said: “She will hopefully have benefitted of the experience of going to America, mentally more than anything.
“She handled the trip very well and it is good to know that in the future we can go travelling with her and she will take it well. Winning from that draw around a track like Del Mar was going to be pretty impossible.
“She jumped so well she almost found herself in front. We then had to get across and she had to use too much energy doing that. She did too much early because of the draw. To be quite honest to finish where she did (10th) - if you don’t look at the paper and you watch the race, she hasn’t finished that far behind.
“To keep going like she did was a really bold effort. In my opinion our fate was written in the stars when the draw came out so I’ve put a line through it.”
Stamina can be overlooked in a race where there is an emphasis on speed, but one thing Ferguson is confident of is Mise En Scene’s ability to see out the trip judging by her staying on fourth over course and distance in last year’s Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile.
He said: “I think she ran a great race. I think if the race had been run a bit differently she would have finished closer.
“I think you can argue that she was probably second or third best filly in the race and the result doesn’t do her justice, but that is racing.
“She is going into the Guineas with course form and she handled the dip well and I think she really powered up the hill.
“The Rowley Mile is not an easy track to ride or for the horse to run on and she showed a lot of class making up a lot of ground up the hill. The fact she has got stamina in her pedigree will help her.”
With Qatar Racing’s retained rider Oisin Murphy still sidelined through suspension, it paves the way for Cieren Fallon to renew his partnership with Mise En Scene.
Although Fallon has only ridden the filly once in public Ferguson, who was born nearby in Cambridge, has plenty of faith in the 22 year old being able to shine on the big occasion.
He said: “The Fillies’ Mile was not the first time Cieren had sat on her. He had ridden her in plenty of work even though last year he knew he wasn’t going to necessarily be riding her in the races. He puts in the hours riding all the Qatar horses in their work.
“From an experience point of view it was a big thing to find out an hour before the Fillies’ Mile that he was riding her, but that experience will help him.
“He has ridden her plenty of times here and knows the filly well. He has every reason to be going into this race full of confidence.”
Most trainers duck questions about rival horses but Ferguson is clear in his mind who the filly is that all will have to beat.
He explained: “I honestly think it is the most open 1000 Guineas I can remember. It is a shame Inspiral is not in there as she would have certainly been a short-priced favourite.
“It is an open 1000 Guineas and we have every chance of running a big race but like us I expect Tenebrism will get further this year than last year and she is the filly to beat.
“If I can’t win the race it would be good to see George Boughey win it with Cachet as he is a young trainer, like myself, and we are good friends.”
Mise En Scene will not be the only runner Ferguson saddles during the QIPCO Guineas Festival with progressive sprinter First Folio set to make his seasonal return in the My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap on Saturday.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to him as I think he has done extremely well from three to four. I think he is absolutely crying out for firm-ish ground.
“The bridge from top-level handicaps to Pattern races is one I want to cross this year. He has about 4,000 people involved (the four year old races in the colours of the Owners Group) so it would be great if he could win a big one.
“He has been working well and he won first time out for us last year. I think it’s a case of watch this space.”
Before Mise En Scene takes to the track Ferguson will saddle his first two year old runner of the year when unleashing Beautiful Sunrise in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange British EBF Maiden Stakes in the opening race on Sunday’s card.
He said: “This will be my first two year old runner of the season. He will be there to run well but having not had a two year old runner yet I wouldn’t have a benchmark as far as they are concerned. He is training well but I can only go on what I see.”
The QIPCO 1000 Guineas is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
QIPCO 1000 Guineas – Declared Runners
3:40pm QIPCO 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 1m
1 (12) Ameynah (IRE) 3 9 0 Roger Varian Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum David Egan
2 (3) Cachet (IRE) 3 9 0 George Boughey Highclere T'bred Racing - Wild Flower James Doyle
3 (6) Discoveries (IRE) 3 9 0 Jessica Harrington Ireland Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd Shane Foley
4 (1) Flash Betty 3 9 0 Mick Channon Paul Humphreys & Jonathan Sweeney Silvestre De Sousa
5 (8) Hello You (IRE) h 3 9 0 David Loughnane Amo Racing Limited Rossa Ryan
6 (2) Juncture 3 9 0 Ger Lyons Ireland Juddmonte Colin Keane
7 (7) Malavath (IRE) ts 3 9 0 Francis-Henri Graffard France Everest Racing, Mrs B Keller & D Redvers C. Soumillon
8 (11) Mise En Scene 3 9 0 James Ferguson Qatar Racing & Racehorse Club Cieren Fallon
9 (9) Prosperous Voyage (IRE) 3 9 0 Ralph Beckett Mr M.Chan & Mr A.Rosen Rob Hornby
10 (13) Sandrine 3 9 0 Andrew Balding Kirsten Rausing David Probert
11 (5) Tenebrism (USA) 3 9 0 Aidan O'Brien Ireland Westerberg/Coolmore/Merribelle Stables
12 (4) Tuesday (IRE) 3 9 0 Aidan O'Brien Ireland Mrs J Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith/Westerberg
13 (14) Wild Beauty 3 9 0 Charlie Appleby Godolphin William Buick
14 (10) Zellie (FR) 3 9 0 Andre Fabre France Al Wasmiyah Racing Tom Marquand
14 declared runners
About QIPCO British Champions Series
QIPCO British Champions Series showcases 35 of the UK’s finest Flat races, including three of the world’s top 10. The Series features at all of the UK’s most iconic Flat festivals, from the Derby and St Leger, to Glorious Goodwood and Royal Ascot, presenting unparalleled, quality racing across 10 of the country’s finest racecourses.
The Series includes world-class sporting action across five different categories – Sprint, Mile, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Fillies & Mares.
Five top-class races mark the climax of the Series on the Ultimate Raceday, QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15th October, where the world’s best compete at the nation’s richest raceday.
Put simply, QIPCO British Champions Series shines the spotlight on the best horses, the best jockeys and the best racecourses, so that millions worldwide can follow the finest Flat racing.
For more info on QIPCO British Champions Series and Day visit britishchampionsseries.com