04/15/2013 2:53PM

Newmarket: Sky Lantern preps for English 1000 Guineas in Nell Gwyn


If Sky Lantern is to win the Nell Gwyn Stakes on Wednesday at Newmarket and go onto the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas as one of the race favorites, she will need more luck than she had last November in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Favored to win at Santa Anita, Sky Lantern and jockey Richard Hughes got locked into an inside position in a 14-horse field and never got out of it, finishing eighth while never really having a chance to run. The performance was the only blemish on a strong 2-year-old campaign, with Sky Lantern either first or second in her other five starts, three in group stakes races.

Like nearly all the other fillies in the Nell Gwyn, Sky Lantern is making her first start at age 3. She was a fairly tall, scopey filly as a juvenile, the sort of horse who, despite her precociousness, could mature and improve as a 3-year-old, and if that is at all the case, Sky Lantern should be formidable in the seven-furlong Nell Gwyn. Sky Lantern has raced once before over the course at Newmarket, finishing second to the good filly Certify in the Sweet Solara Stakes, though, as a Group 1 winner, she must concede five pounds to her rivals Wednesday.

Among those rivals is the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf sixth-place finisher, Waterway Run, a Group 3 winner last year at 2. Other runners of some note are Nargys and Bailey’s Jubilee, both of whom were group-placed during 2012 campaigns, as well as Hot Snap, a Henry Cecil-trained Juddmonte Farms filly who won her only start at 2.