The QIPCO 1000 Guineas is the fillies’ equivalent of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, both of which are run over the historic Rowley Mile on turf at Newmarket.
As with the 2000 Guineas, the Classic is so named because the original prize fund was 1,000 guineas, though the current prize fund for both races stands at £350,000.
The youngest of the British Classics, the 1000 Guineas was first staged in 1814 and won by Charlotte, ridden by Bill Clift and owned by Christopher Wilson, the same combination responsible for Wizard, the initial victor of the 2000 Guineas in 1809.
Neva in 1817 became the first 1000 Guineas winner to go on and win the other British Classic restricted to fillies, the Epsom Oaks. A total of 47 three-year-old fillies have won both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks, with Kazzia the latest in 2002.
Hannah captured the 1000 Guineas in 1871 and was one of the most outstanding fillies of her era. She progressed to claim the fillies’ Triple Crown – the 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St Leger. Another six fillies have also managed this feat – Apology, La Fleche, Pretty Polly, Sun Chariot, Meld and Oh So Sharp.
Sceptre, successful in the 1902 1000 Guineas, remains the only winner of four British Classics outright, having also succeeded in the 2000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger. For good measure, she also finished fourth in the only other British Classic, the Epsom Derby.
The exceptional Pretty Polly won the Newmarket Classic in 1904, scoring with ease in a then course record time of 1m 40s when coming three lengths clear. She was successful in 22 of her 24 starts and is regarded by many as the greatest filly of all time.
One of the race’s stars was Tagalie in 1912 who has the distinction of being the only winner to go on and land the Epsom Derby.
In 1942, the 1000 Guineas fell to Sun Chariot, owned by King George VI, and she progressed to take the fillies’ Triple Crown.
Meld in 1955 was the next fillies’ Triple Crown heroine, while Petite Etoile, owned and bred by the Aga Khan, was one of the best fillies of the second half of the 20th century. She took the 1000 Guineas in 1959 and was never out of the first two, while her 14 other successes included the Oaks, Sussex Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks, Champion Stakes and two Coronation Cups.
The most recent fillies’ Triple Crown winner was Oh So Sharp in 1985. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed, trained in Newmarket by Henry Cecil and ridden by Steve Cauthen, she captured the three British Classics, the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger.
Cecil is the most successful current trainer with six wins in the 1000 Guineas, also scoring with One In A Million (1979), Fairy Footsteps (1981), Bosra Sham (1996), Sleepytime (1997) and Wince (1999).
Excellent 1000 Guineas winners include Pebbles in 1984, who the following season went on to become the first British-trained horse to win a race at North America’s Breeders’ Cup meeting, while the French-trained Miesque, successful at Newmarket in 1987, subsequently landed two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, in 1987 and 1988.
Salsabil, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by John Dunlop, progressed in 1990 to capture the Epsom Oaks and proved an outstanding filly by defeating the best colts of her generation in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Harayir, the 1000 Guineas heroine in 1995 who was also owned by Sheikh Hamdan, became the first winner of a British Classic race to be run on a Sunday and the race has continued to take place on that day.
Cape Verdi gave Godolphin an initial 1000 Guineas triumph in 1998, defeating Shahtoush by five lengths before going on to run in the Epsom Derby.
Kazzia provided the second success for the international ownership entity in 2002 and she also won the Epsom Oaks and the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Russian Rhythm was the winner of the 2003 1000 Guineas, defeating Six Perfections by a length and a half, in a tremendous renewal.
The 2004 edition went to the Mark Johnston-trained Attraction, who came back from injury to make all on her seasonal debut, holding on by half a length from Godolphin’s Sundrop. Attraction went on to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes later in the season – all Group One contests.
The following year, the 1000 Guineas fell in decisive fashion to Virginia Waters, who finished two and a half lengths clear of subsequent Coronation Stakes winner Maids Causeway.
For the winning team of owners Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor, trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Kieren Fallon, it followed the success of Footstepsinthesand in the 2000 Guineas a day earlier, making them the first owner/trainer/jockey combination to achieve the Guineas double since King George VI, Fred Darling and Gordon Richards with Big Game and Sun Chariot in 1942.
Kieren Fallon (pictured) is the most successful of the current generation of jockeys in the Newmarket Classic, with a quartet of victories that also includes Sleepytime (1997), Wince (1999) and Russian Rhythm (2003).
The 2006 renewal provided a fairytale success for Cambridgeshire handler Pam Sly, when Speciosa, bought for just 30,000 guineas as a two-year-old, relished the testing conditions to storm home two and a half lengths in front of Confidential Lady.
It was the first British Classic success for a woman trainer licensed in Britain, although Helen Johnson Houghton trained Gilles De Retz, winner of the 1956 2000 Guineas, when women were not allowed to hold a licence and her achievement has been retrospectively acknowledged. French handler Criquette Head-Maarek has captured the 1000 Guineas on four occasions.
The 2007 running of the 1000 Guineas was won by the Jim Bolger-trained Finsceal Beo, whose Irish name fittingly translates to ‘Living Legend’ (her time of 1m 34.94s was the fastest seen for the Classic but it was overtaken two years later).
Ridden by the trainer’s son-in-law, Kevin Manning, Finsceal Beo, nearly completed a famous hat-trick of 1000 Guineas, finishing a close second in the French equivalent before landing the Irish version within a month.
Having been successful in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes the previous October, Natagora returned to Newmarket for the 2008 1000 Guineas and produced another stunning front-running performance to defeat Spacious by half a length.
Trained at Chantilly by Pascal Bary, the daughter of Divine Light subsequently became the first filly for 40 years to gain a place in the French Derby when third behind Vision D’Etat and took on both colts and older horses when second at the highest level in both the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Prix de la Foret.
In 2009, 20/1 shot Ghanaati finished a length and a half clear of Cuis Ghaire in a new best time for the Classic of 1m 34.22s and gave Barry Hills a second victory following Enstone Spark’s success in 1978.
It was a third victory for the jockey, the trainer’s son Richard, who had previously scored on Harayir in 1995 and Lahan in 2000, while owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum was winning the race for a fifth time.
In 2010 the Khalid Abdulla home-bred Special Duty landed the Classic for French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek in dramatic circumstances. The filly, successful in the previous season’s Cheveley Park Stakes, crossed the line a nose second under Stephane Pasquier behind the Henry Cecil-trained Jacqueline Quest but was awarded the race in the stewards’ room after her rival leaned in and carried her right throughout the closing stages.
Head-Maarek, based at Chantilly in France, has a tremendous strike rate in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, with three other winners Ma Biche (1983), Ravinella (1988) and Hatoof (1992) from just 10 runners in the Newmarket fillies’ Classic.
Last year Blue Bunting took the spoils, coming with a tremendous late run to score going away by three quarters of a length and give both owner Goldophin and jockey Frankie Dettori a third QIPCO 1000 Guineas success while it was a first British Classic victory for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Blue Bunting progressed to become a leading middle-distance filly with victories in both the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks.