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Dark Horses for the 2021 Series: Part 1

28 Jan 2021

Who are the dark horses for this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series?

In the first of a four-part series, we look at a trio who could become contenders for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2.

A’SHAARI

Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Form: 1

The Godolphin-owned daughter of Dubawi is a sister of Wuheida, who won two Group 1 races for the same connections and was also runner-up in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes in the 2017 QIPCO British Champions Series.

Charlie Appleby will no doubt be delighted if A’Shaari can scale similar heights and she got off to a bright start when winning a 7f maiden in taking style at Newmarket in August – just as Wuheida had before her.

A’Shaari travelled strongly and beat Ready To Venture by three and a half lengths despite being eased. The runner-up did her bit for the form when scoring on her only subsequent start at Yarmouth.

We didn’t see A’Shaari in the autumn but look out for her in a Guineas trial this spring. She is available at 33/1 for the fillies’ Classic and is the same price for the Oaks, although distances of about a mile may suit her best.

POTAPOVA

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. Form: 1

Sir Michael Stoute has saddled two QIPCO 1000 Guineas winners, most recently with the Cheveley Park-owned Russian Rhythm in 2003.

Potapova also carries the famous red and white silks of Cheveley and her grand-dam is Russian Rhythm, so there will be a sense of history repeating itself if Potapova prevails on May 2.

Last summer passed by her without her but she could hardly have been more impressive when winning by a wide margin on her debut over 7f at Chelmsford in November. The time was good and a couple of those behind had shown some ability.

Stoute is never one to rush his horses and it will be a tip in itself if Potapova runs in a trial this spring. She is 33/1 for the Guineas and 50/1 for the Oaks but, as with A’Shaari, a mile and a half may be a stretch for her.

QUEEN’S SPEECH

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Form: 1

The American Pharoah filly is related to several winners in America and made quite an impact on her debut at the Curragh in early November when thumping 15 rivals in a 7f fillies’ maiden.

It is difficult to know what she achieved that day – the opposition were either newcomers or had previously not shown much – but there was no mistaking the authority of her success.

She fits into the “could be anything” category and is a general 25/1 to give Aidan O’Brien his sixth 1000 Guineas winner since 2012.