04/29/2011 2:47PM

Newmarket: 1000 Guineas looks wide open


The spotlight in the 2011 2000 Guineas 1s firmly fixed on the standout colt Frankel, but there is no real point of focus at all when it comes to Sunday’s 1000 Guineas, the 3-year-old filly counterpart to Saturday’s race for boys. A field of 19 is expected for the 1000 Guineas, which will be contested at one mile over a straight course at Newmarket, and English bookmakers have seven horses clustered at odds between 9-2 and 12-1.

Widely but mildly favored is Moonlight Cloud, a French-based filly trained by Freddie Head who was bred and is owned by a Pennsylvanian, George Strawbridge. Moonlight Cloud, set to make her 3-year-old debut in the Guineas, showed strong form last year at 2, winning her debut at Longchamps by six lengths, then finishing a close fourth of 10 while facing males in the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere.

Moonlight Cloud is far from the only filly making her 2011 debut. In fact, more than half the field has yet to start this year. Havant takes the inscrutability factor to an extreme: Not only does she make her first start at 3, she raced only once last year, easily winning the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes, also at Newmarket. Third in that race was Khawlah, who beat Master of Hounds while winning the UAE Derby in Dubai. Havant’s trainer, Michael Stoute, also entered Cape Dollar, a Group 2 winner at Newmarket last fall.

Aidan O’Brien has three chances, with Misty For Me, a two-time Group 1 winner in 2010, the most accomplished of his trio. Hooray, a quick four-time sprint winner at 2, may make the early pace, with the field starting from stalls placed in the middle of course. The going is expected to be good to firm.