Mawj Wins The Battle Of The Rising Stars In The 1000 Guineas

Mawj | PA Media


Frankie's farewell 2000 Guineas was followed 24 hours later by Oisin Murphy and Saeed bin Suroor's comeback 1000 Guineas victory as Mawj (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}–Modern Ideals {GB}, by New Approach {Ire}) prevailed in a thrilling TDN Rising Star tussle with Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) in the QIPCO-sponsored Newmarket Classic. In front of the group racing up the centre from the outset, Godolphin's half-sister to last year's G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was joined by The Aga Khan's 6-4 favourite heading into the dip as they began to pull clear of the far-side leader Matilda Picotte (Ire) (Sioux Nation). Despite minor interference between the first two, there were no excuses as the battle-hardened Mawj held her Irish rival all the way to the line to prevail by half a length at 9-1, with 7 1/2 lengths back to Matilda Picotte in third.

“I had a really good start back thanks to lots of different trainers supporting me,” Murphy said. “Just to get back in the big races with a crowd here, it's a great feeling. All the group one winners mean a lot, but I just realise as I've got older that these top-class horses are super hard to find.”

For bin Suroor, it was a first British Classic success since 2009 and a first in this race in 21 years. “I think this my 195th group one winner around the world and it means a lot, as it has been a long time since we won a Classic race in England,” he reflected of his 13th such winner. “Recently, things have been slow with the quality of horses but luckily when I saw this filly start to work, despite her being tiny, she showed her class. She has a big heart and I thought she was going to win when they were close. The Irish 1000 Guineas could be next, we'll see how she is and talk to Sheikh Mohammed.”

Earning her TDN Rising Star tag on her impressive winning debut here last May, Mawj stayed at six furlongs thereafter and followed a second to Meditate (Ire) (No Nay Never) in Royal Ascot's G3 Albany S. with a battling defeat of Lezoo (GB) (Zoustar {Aus}) in the G2 Duchess of Cambridge S. at the July Festival. Fourth in the G2 Lowther S. at York in August and third behind Lezoo and Meditate in the G1 Cheveley Park S. back at this venue the following month, she had enjoyed an old-school Dubai preparation for this having defeated the much-vaunted Appleby runner Dream Of Love (Ire) (Shamardal) in the seven-furlong Jumeirah Fillies Classic and taken the Jumeirah Fillies Guineas by 8 1/2 lengths on her first attempt at this trip.

As the ground had worsened considerably from Friday to Saturday, Murphy had begun to worry that Mawj was a sitting duck for the proven slow-ground performer Tahiyra and as they came together passing the two-furlong pole that looked to be the case. Chris Hayes had looked full of horse there, but as soon as the Godolphin filly felt her threat she did what she had to Lezoo last summer and at the line was pulling away in one of the most pulsating 1000 Guineas duels of recent times.

Dermot Weld, who was so close to landing his first 1000 Guineas, surprisingly suggested that the rain had compromised the G1 Moyglare Stud S. heroine on her return. “She ran a big race, probably the ground was a shade slow for her,” he said. “We know she has a lot of pace, a lot of speed. The ground just takes the real speed off her. She's run, she's quickened, and Chris Hayes has probably told you that there is another gear there we didn't just quite get today.”

“Because of the weather and things we had, I had to be careful of my training of her,” Weld added. “I would have liked to have got a prep race before today. The ideal plan was to give her a run in Classic trial a couple of weeks ago. The ground has been very heavy and I didn't want to pull the guts out of her. So we came into the race slightly undercooked. We had her 95 per-cent and we didn't have her 100 per-cent and we have got beaten half a length. We'll see how she comes out of the race and I have another Aga Khan filly called Tarawa that ran a very nice prep for the Irish Guineas at Leopardstown today. She is a very sweet filly and she was always on my mind for that, but let's see.”

Kieran Cotter is set to revert to sprinting with Matilda Picotte, who was clear of the field for much of the race. “It was brilliant–she got some cheer in the stands, I can tell you. There are about 20 or 30 of us here. We said coming here that third was up for grabs and we knew we had a serious chance of third. We knew she'd be running on fresh air late on, but she is a marvellous filly. The track is tailor-made for her, because she has so much pace and she can trap down, cruise down into the dip for the climb home. I doubt she will run over the mile again. We'll go back down to six for the Commonwealth Cup.”

Pedigree Notes

Mawj, who becomes the 18th top-level winner for her sire, was continuing the success story of her dam whose aforementioned Modern Games also captured the GI Breeders' Cup Mile as well as the ParisLongchamp Classic. Also responsible for the Listed Windsor S. winner Modern News (GB) (Shamardal), she is a daughter of Gerald Leigh's Epitome (Ire) (Nashwan), linking the late owner-breeder with both Guineas winners over the weekend.

Epitome provided Godolphin with their G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-winning sire Ultra (Ire) (Manduro {Ger}), while she also produced the G3 Prix Minerve scorer Synopsis (Ire) (In The Wings {GB}), while the third dam, the Italian champion Proskona (Mr. Prospector), is the ancestress of Leigh's G1 Prix Lupin and G1 Criterium International-winning sire Act One (GB) (In The Wings {GB}) connected to Riverman's stellar producer Korveya who threw the top Woodman celebrities Bosra Sham and Hector Protector. Modern Ideals' 2-year-old filly is by Mastercraftsman (Ire).

Sunday, Newmarket, Britain
QIPCO 1000 GUINEAS S.-G1, £500,000, Newmarket, 5-7, 3yo, f, 8fT, 1:37.92, sf.
1–MAWJ (IRE), 128, f, 3, by Exceed And Excel (Aus)
     1st Dam: Modern Ideals (GB), by New Approach (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Epitome (Ire), by Nashwan
     3rd Dam: Proskona, by Mr. Prospector
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. TDN Rising Star. O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Saeed bin Suroor; J-Oisin Murphy. £283,550. Lifetime Record: 8-5-1-1, $662,085. *1/2 to Modern News (GB) (Shamardal), SW & MGSP-Eng, MSP-UAE, $225,210; 1/2 to Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), Champion Male Turf Horse-US, GISW-Can, G1SW-Fr, MGISW-US, GSW & MG1SP-Eng, $3,272,966. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Tahiyra (Ire), 128, f, 3, Siyouni (Fr)–Tarana (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire). TDN Rising Star. O-H H Aga Khan; B-His Highness The Aga Khan's Studs SC (IRE); T-Dermot Weld. £107,500.
3–Matilda Picotte (Ire), 128, f, 3, Sioux Nation–Hallie's Comet (Ire), by One Cool Cat.
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. O-Matilda & Kilmichael Racing Partnership; B-Mighty Universe Ltd (IRE); T-Kieran Cotter. £53,800.
Margins: HF, 7HF, 2 1/4. Odds: 9.00, 1.50, 33.00.
Also Ran: Caernarfon (GB), Dance In The Grass (GB), Meditate (Ire), Olivia Maralda (Ire), Lezoo (GB), Queen Me (Ire), Embrace (Ire), Mammas Girl (GB), Dream of Love (Ire), Stenton Glider (Ire), Sweet Harmony (Ire), Remarquee (GB), Karsavina (GB), Naomi Lapaglia (GB), Polly Pott (GB), Fairy Cross (Ire), Powerdress (Ire).


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