It was hard not to be very impressed last October with the way Aidan O’Brien’s Minding dispatched a field of talented rivals with utter disdain, winning the Group 1 Dubai Fillies’ Mile by an easy four-and-a-half-lengths under Ryan Moore.
Moore, not one to wax lyrical under normal circumstances, jumped off the daughter of Galileo in the winners’ enclosure and told reporters, “I don’t think Minding could have been more impressive on the day. She travelled beautifully throughout, just cantering the whole way, and as soon as I pulled her out the race was over and she just powered up the hill. She handled everything beautifully.”
That is praise indeed from the world’s leading jockey who often barely raises a smile even after a Group 1 winner.
6 Favorite Contenders for the 1000 Guineas, 2016
Minding is a current 7/4 shot to land the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1, and if, as expected, she is delivered by O’Brien in tip-top shape to run for her life, she will take some beating.
On pedigree she could well run even better over a mile-and-a-half, so a classic double in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June is very much a possibility.
Her profile and stats proof her skill at the moment with 3 wins and 2 place races .
She is currently a 7/2 shot for Epsom but could be closer to even money if she does prevail at Newmarket first.
Northern trainer Mark Johnston won the 1000 Guineas back in 2004 with the terrific filly Attraction, and there has been no hiding the confidence emanating from the Middleham-based handler and his team in the chance of their Lumiere (9/2) repeating the feat at HQ on the first day of May.
The daughter of Johnston’s high-class Shamardal ran three times last term ending with a brave defeat vs the talented Illuminate in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket over six furlongs. Although she has two furlongs further to travel on her seasonal return, Lumiere is bred to stay the trip; the question is whether she will have the class to lower the colors of Minding?
Illuminate (16/1), runner-up to Lumiere in that great battle at Newmarket last autumn, is another who could well take her chance in the 1000 Guineas. Richard Hannon’s daughter of Zoffany won last season’s Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, then added the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival.
After narrowly losing out to Lumiere she travelled to the US where she was far from disgraced in finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf over a mile at Keeneland at the end of a hard campaign.
If last term’s exertions haven’t left their mark, Illuminate could give supporters a good run for their money and represents sold each-way value.
Aidan O’Brien not only has Minding on his side in the 1000 Guineas, he may also run Ballydoyle, the filly named after her trainer’s world famous training stables.
She beat Minding at the Curragh in August in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, before Minding gained her revenge with a three-quarters-of-a-length success over her old rival in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the same track a few weeks later.
Ballydoyle (8/1) ended the term with a tremendous win on Arc day at Longchamp, running on powerfully to beat Jim Bolger’s Turret Rocks in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and is a tremendous prospect.
It would come as no surprise to see her join Minding in the 1000 Guineas line-up and give her stable companion a serious battle as well in this race.
5. Turret Rocks
Turret Rocks (20/1), runner-up to Ballydoyle in France, is another possible 1000 Guineas contender, but gives the impression she may be better at 10 furlongs this season. She is also unproven on ground any worse than good.
Champion British trainer John Gosden could saddle the talented Nathra (12/1) in the big race. This daughter of Iffraaj has already shown she has trained-on and is in form, winning the Group 3 Nell Gwynn Stakes at Newmarket on April 13 in good style.
She finished fourth to Minding last season in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies Mile so has some improvement to find, but that is by means beyond the bounds of possibility given her trainer’s outstanding talent and her proven fitness.
 skysports.com, Minding Horse Profile, Stats and Form, 2016