Updated on 09/17/2011 11:57PM

Speciosa takes 1000 Guineas


Speciosa scored one for racing's lesser lights at Newmarket on Sunday, when she stormed to victory in the Group 1, $607,000 1000 Guineas Stakes over a rain softened Rowley Mile that her better connected rivals could not handle. Earlier in the day, Shirocco reveled in the soft going to easily take the Group 2, $167,000 Jockey Club Stakes in his first start since he won the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Overlooked in the betting at 10-1 despite two group race victories going seven furlongs on the same Newmarket track, Speciosa led virtually throughout under Michael Fenton to defeat the 12-1 Confidential Lady by 2 1/2 lengths. It was another length back in third to Nasheej, who went off at 16-1. Trained by the unheralded Pamela Sly, who is also part owner of the Danehill Dancer filly with her son Michael, Speciosa had Godolphin's Silca's Sister back in fourth while 3-1 favorite Rumplestiltskin, clearly uncomfortable with the ground, trailed to the quarter pole and finished seventh of 13, 11 lengths behind the winner. The time for the straight mile was 1:40.53.

The Irish-bred Speciosa had won her last two starts at Newmarket, the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes last Oct. 15 and the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes on April 18. Out of a Sky Classic mare who is a half sister to the very good French-trained mare Pride, Speciosa gave the Slys and Fenton their first taste of classic glory. "I hope this has given all the little people hope. Don't give up, you can do it," said Pamela Sly, 62, who has just 13 horses at her yard in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

There was no denying Shirocco in the Jockey Club Stakes. Christophe Soumillon kept the 10-11 Shirocco just behind the pacesetting Bandari before taking command at the quarter pole. Shirocco ran on to a 3 1/2-length victory over Munsef, with Bandari another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2:36.25.

Trainer Andre Fabre, who declared that Shirocco is even stronger than last year, will aim Shirocco to all of the world's best 1 1/2-mile races. Fabre said that Shirocco has the Coronation Cup (at Epsom on June 2), the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on his dance card, as well as a defense of his Breeders' Cup Turf title.