04/29/2016 11:34AM

O'Brien stablemates clash in English 1000 Guineas


The Aidan O’Brien-trained Minding has been favored to win the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas on Sunday at Newmarket since she captured the Group 1 Fillies Mile last October, and if she’s to be successful, it’s another O’Brien entrant, Ballydoyle, whom Minding might have to catch.

Those two fillies are among 16 who passed the final entry stage Friday for the 1000 Guineas, a straight-course mile that will be contested over a course expected to ride on the soft side of good. O’Brien has said that Minding is versatile regarding going preferences, and she’s already shown an affinity for a straight mile at Newmarket, the Fillies Mile having come under just those conditions.

Minding, a Galileo filly who gets jockey Ryan Moore for her 2016 debut, won three of five last year, her only loss in three stakes coming to Ballydoyle, who led all the way in winning the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh.

Ballydoyle also starts for the first time at age 3, and video posted online of O’Brien observing her major work for the race while driving alongside the filly at his training yard in Ireland showed a horse looking mentally and physically capable of springing an upset.

Lumiere won the Group 1 Cheveley Park over a solid field to cap her 2-year-old season, and though she’s yet to race beyond six furlongs, she’s by Sharmardal and bred to stay this distance, and trainer Mark Johnston, generally high on Lumiere’s chances, is confident that she stays.

Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Midweek, who ships from France for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, is one of the few fillies in the field to have prepped for the Guineas this year, having finished second of 11 over heavy ground at Maison-Laffitte in the April 7 Prix Impudence.

Sunday’s undercard is headed by a strong edition of the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes for fillies and mares, a race featuring Jazzi Top, last seen finishing second by a head in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera on the Arc card last fall in France.

• Legatissimo, the multiple Group 1 winner of the English 1000 Guineas last year and a tough-luck second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last fall, has been retired. Legatissimo had been in training for a 4-year-old campaign, but trainer David Wachman announced that she’d suffered a setback and would commence post-racing life as a broodmare.