05/07/2006 11:00PM

Speciosa upsets Guineas


Speciosa scored one for racing's lesser lights at Newmarket on Sunday as she stormed to a 2 1/2-length victory in the 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 take the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes easily in his first start since having won the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Overlooked at 10-1 despite two-group race victories going seven furlongs on the same Newmarket track, Speciosa led virtually throughout in the Group 1, $607,000 fillies classic to defeat two other soft-ground lovers, the 12-1 Confidential Lady and the 16-1 Nasheej. Trained by the unheralded Pamela Sly, who is also part-owner with her husband, Michael, Speciosa had the Godolphin-owned Silca's Sister back in fourth. The 3-1 favorite, Rumplestiltskin, clearly uncomfortable with the ground, trailed to the quarter pole and came home seventh of 13, 11 lengths behind the winner.

Speciosa, ridden by Michael Fenton, ran the straight mile in 1:40.53.

The Irish-bred Speciosa, a Danehill Dancer filly, gave her trainer, co-owner husband, and rider their first taste of classic glory.

"I hope this has given all the little people hope," said the 62-year-old Pamela Sly, who has just 13 horses at her yard in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. "Don't give up, you can do it."

There was no denying Shirocco in the $167,000 Jockey Club Stakes. Christophe Soumillon kept the odds-on 5-year-old just behind the pacesetting Bandari before taking command at the quarter pole. Shirocco, trained by Andre Fabre, ran on to a 3 1/2-length victory over Munsef, with Bandari third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2:36.25.