THE late Sir Henry Cecil used to say that the turf flat season didn’t really start until Newmarket’s Craven Meeting. The ten-times champion Master of Warren Hill also had the midas touch with fillies and his six English 1,000 Guineas winners and eight Oaks victories bear testimony to that. One wonders what he would have made of Eirene’s third in yesterday’s historic Classic Trial, the Nell Gwyn.
After a very cold and wet winter, summer arrived early yesterday and the second day of Headquarters three-day Classic Trials meeting saw temperatures in the 20s and genuine good ground. Eleven went to post for the Group 3 fillies’ trial and the stable’s Eirene, a dual juvenile winner including the Listed St Hughs’ Stakes at Newbury over 5f was tackling seven furlongs for the first time.
Held up by Robert Winston, she always travelled nicely and made headway a furlong from home. Hanging right did not help her cause but the daughter of Declaration Of War stayed on to be a very comfortable third, beaten two lengths by the winner, Soliloquy and just a neck behind the runner-up, Altyn Orda. If she had not hung, she would probably have come second.
Eirene was a 20/1 shot in the race and certainly defied those odds. She is in the English 1000 Guineas and is still a big outsider at 66/1 although one has to question whether she’d turn the tables on the winner and she is a fifth of those odds.
While one could not rule out the stable filly winning over a mile and the French 1,000 Guineas is an option, it may be that she will be better suited by seven furlongs in which case The Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot could come into consideration.
Wherever she goes, Eirene has a future and should give her owner, Michael Yarrow a lot to look forward to this year.