05/01/2010 11:00PM

Special Duty wins 1000 Guineas on DQ


Special Duty was awarded the 1000 Guineas Stakes in the Newmarket stewards room after she was nipped on the line by Jacqueline Quest. Only a nose separated them, but the stewards ruled that the 66-1 Jacqueline Quest and her rider, Tim Queally, had carried the Stephane Pasquier-ridden 9-2 favorite right through the final sixteenth-mile and gave the $608,000 fillies classic to Special Duty.

As a result, Special Duty's trainer Criquette Head-Maarek landed her fourth 1000 Guineas title, the first three having come with Ma Biche in 1983, Ravinella in 1988, and Hatoof in 1992, which was the last time a French-trained filly had won the race. With the Mikel Delzangles-trained Makfi having won the 2000 Guineas on Saturday, this marks the first time that French horses have won both British classic miles in the same year.

The 25-1 shot Gile Na Greine was just a head further back in third, but those who had been expected to stay the mile all finished well behind. Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Music Show was sixth, Feilden Stakes winner Rumoush was seventh, Fillies Mile runner-up Lady Darshaan was 10th, and the Fillies Mile winner Hibaayeb trudged home 16th of 17. The time for the straight and undulating mile on good to soft ground was 1:39.66.

There had been grave doubts about Special Duty's ability to stay a mile as her big juvenile victory had come in the six-furlong, Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, but her trip to Newmarket on Oct. 2 for that race obviously did her a world of good. Still, she had only been third in her Guineas prep in the seven-furlong Prix Imprudence, and even Head-Maarek was worried about her stamina. Those fears proved unfounded as Special Duty stayed every inch of the testing Newmarket mile.

But it was all heartbreak for Jacqueline Quest. A Rock of Gibraltar filly trained by Henry Cecil, she had only been eighth in Music Show's Nell Gwyn Stakes and only had a single seven-furlong maiden score last September at Chester among her four previous starts. Her disqualification is the first time either the 1000 or 2000 Guineas has been decided in the stewards' room since Nureyev was taken down in the 2000 in 1980 in favor of Known Fact who, ironically, was owned by Khalid Abdullah, the owner of Special Duty.

Head-Maarek said that she might wheel Special Duty right back for a shot at the French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp on May 16.