Horse racing Aidan O'Brien

Clemmie a 1000 Guineas Doubt; Happily New Favourite

10 months ago

The challenges of ante-post punting have again come under the spotlight in the last few days with the news that Clemmie, the leading juvenile filly of last season, trained by the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien (pictured above), is a big doubt to be ready to race in the Qipco 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile on May 6.

Clemmie had been a general 3/1 favourite with all firms in the ante-post market for the first British fillies’ classic of the season, but the daughter of Galileo, a full-sister to the outstanding miler Churchill, met with a small setback a few weeks ago. O’Brien has made it clear that the chances of her being fit enough to race at Newmarket are not great and she has drifted dramatically in the betting to a high of 7/1 with Sky Bet. 

The Ballydoyle-based handler’s Happily, winner of Group 1’s at both the Curragh (see video below) and Chantilly last autumn, is now a best priced 4/1 favourite (with Ladbrokes) for the big race.

“Clemmie had a hold-up last month and is only back walking,” the world-record breaking trainer told reporters. “It’s possible the Newmarket Guineas might come too soon for her and we might decide to aim her at the Irish 1,000 with possibly a race before then. Because of the little hold-up we had to go easy for a week or 10 days and we would have to force her to get her to Newmarket. She’s in full work at the moment, but it’s probably going to come a bit too quick for her.”

In what might prove a telling further comment on last term’s Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes heroine, O’Brien added: “Her brother, Churchill, got a mile but only just, so there are no guarantees she will get the distance. If she doesn’t then we can always drop her in trip. She showed last season she has plenty of speed.”

With a number of Irish trials having already been run and three days of classic trials getting underway in Britain at Newmarket today – with more to come at Newbury on Saturday – the picture for both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas should become clearer, as highlighted in yesterday’s free horse racing tips and analysis on the Craven meeting.

Our earlier ante-post advice for the 1000 Guineas remains on track. We opposed Clemmie with her stable companion September who remains on target to reappear in the big race and is now down to a top priced 7/1 (with Bet365) having been recommended two weeks ago at odds of 10/1. Our each-way advice, Dermot Weld’s once raced Leopardstown maiden winner Contingent, remains on offer at appealing odds of 25/1 (with BetBright).

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.