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Ihtimal cut for classic glory after Chriselliam tragedy

Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas may seem a long way off as Britain continues to battle through a bleak mid-winter, but the season’s first classic came to the fore this week for contrasting reasons. On Thursday, Godolphin’s Ihtimal produced a brilliant performance to win the UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan.

The filly was a progressive two-year-old who won the Sweet Solera Stakes and the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster. In her final start she had finished a highly creditable third behind Chriselliam in the Fillies Mile at Newmarket.

The winner went on to record a magnificent win in the Breeders’ Cup and was among the favourites for the 1000 Guineas. Tragically, she had to be put down on Friday as the result of a foot infection that had spread to her pedal bone.

The news will come as a devastating blow to former champion jockey Willie Carson who owned the filly in partnership with Chris Wright and Emily Asprey. She was trained by Charlie Hills who had been hoping to go one better than last season when Sky Lantern beat Just The Judge by half a length in the fillies’ classic.

Chriselliam’s win at Newmarket was the outstanding two-year-old fillies’ race of the season with Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Rizeena in second place and Ihtimal third. Silvestre De Sousa had offered no excuses after that race but he did seem to give his filly a lot of ground to make up.

He settled Ihtimal back in the field again on Thursday from her inside draw and raced around the leaders turning for home to deliver his challenge. He was tracked through by Wedding Ring, already a winner herself in Meydan this winter.

Wedding Ring had beaten Ihtimal in a maiden race back in June but the form had been reversed comprehensively in the Sweet Solera. Ihtimal confirmed her superiority on Thursday and extended the margin between the pair to over five lengths.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor considers her to be the best of the Godolphin fillies and she earned a quote of 14-1 for the 1000 Guineas and 16-1 for the Epsom Oaks. The UAE Oaks could be next on the agenda for the daughter of Shamardal.