Trainer Roger Varian is responsible for Altyn Orda and Madeline, two of the 20 fillies to stand their ground at yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) scratching stage for the Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas, which will be run at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Sunday, 6th May.
Worth £500,000 in prize money and contested over a straight mile, it will be the 205th renewal of the Classic and is the second leg of the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Both Varian’s charges are intended runners. Altyn Orda has the strongest form having posted sound efforts in seven furlong Rowley Mile events on each of her last two starts, landing the Group 3 Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes in October and then finishing second in the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes a week ago on her return from a six-month absence.
Madeline has not been seen in public since the Breeders’ Cup in November and has yet to win a Pattern Race, but she did win the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury last July prior to finishing placed in both the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York and the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Aidan O’Brien will be bidding to win this prestigious event for a third straight year and has a powerful six-strong entry, headed by the dual Group 1 scorer, Happily, and September, who flew home to get within a nose of victory in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile over the full Guineas course and distance last October.
Other notable entries are Wild Illusion, successful in France’s top race for juvenile fillies, the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and the filly that denied September in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile, Laurens.
Roger Varian, trainer of Altyn Orda and Madeline, said:
“I was delighted with Altyn Orda’s second place in the Nell Gwyn Stakes. She was much quieter in the preliminaries than she had been as a two-year-old and she went to post without a hitch. She travelled strongly through the race itself and while the winner won a shade cosily, I liked the way our filly stuck to her task and she hit the line strongly, shaping like she will be well suited by the step up to a mile.”
“She has taken the race very well. She was ready to do herself justice in the Nell Gwyn, but the plan was always to use the race as a stepping stone to the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and I expect her to improve for the run.”
“The handicapper has taken a slightly downbeat view of this form, dropping her 2lb to a mark of 103, but I have a more upbeat view about the race - the winner [Soliloquy] arrived there completely unexposed and the third [Eirene] was only a neck behind subsequent easy Free Handicap winner Anna Nerium in the Dick Poole as a juvenile. The front three pulled nicely clear and I think time will show we haven’t run below our Oh So Sharp form.”
“The QIPCO 1000 Guineas looks an open renewal this year and I think our filly is well worth her place in the line-up.”
“I think she’s very versatile concerning underfoot conditions – it was on the soft side when she won the Oh So Sharp but she handles cut just fine. I have no stamina question marks about her and softer ground might inconvenience some of the principals more than us, but I don’t think we’ll have any excuses ground-wise and I’m not worried either way.”
“Madeline is training very well and she will head straight to the 1000 Guineas. I am very pleased with her progress and I look forward to running her too.”