Another Vigorous, Brandy for Guineas Trials
FOR the first time in years, the Thornbird and Prince Consort Stakes actually do have some semblance of being sneak previews, 'Trials', for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas to be run a month later.
Bar COMMANDER TWO and Sir Howard Stakes winner WILSON's absence from the Prince Consort Stakes, both races can be safely passed as Guineas fields, but not sitting at level weights, as they will next month.
MARQUESAS' claim to fame is having won the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes. However, he did so by beating a filly, BRANDY, who was badly hindered at the start - a race in which the last two furlongs were run in 29.1 seconds.
Hence, ANOTHER VIGOROUS, who missed that race with an injury and was clearly the second-best two-year-old, behind highly talented but faulty-pins PATRIARCH, must get the vote after returning to blow away United States-bred horses by almost nine lengths, reporting off a four-month lay-up on February 10.
Among the fillies, Anthony Nunes' FAYROUZ and Wayne DaCosta's BRANDY have been playing a cat-and-mouse game ever since they debuted against each other last October. BRANDY won that first meeting, going 1100 metres, by a fast-diminishing three-quarter length, holding off late-closing FAYROUZ.
They next met in the Boxing Day Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, three weeks after FAYROUZ beat maidens. BRANDY had already faced the best colts, PATRIARCH twice, followed by a brave second to MARQUESAS at 1200 metres - two weeks before the big one.
However, on the day in question, BRANDY, partnered by Orlando Foster, was badly bounced at the start by PATRIARCH, who made a mad dash from the gate to go after COMMANDER TWO, dropping her second-to-last after the first furlong, which the form lines won't show, because she had recovered to race fifth at the first call, the half-mile.
FAYROUZ, meanwhile, was in a cosy position, albeit several lengths off tearaway leaders PATRIARCH and COMMANDER TWO, moving as a team with MARQUESAS, who quickened off the turn to reel in the leaders a furlong and a quarter out.
BRANDY, recovering from her dilemma, caught FAYROUZ a furlong out and was clearly the best filly on the day, finishing two and three-quarter lengths behind MARQUESAS.
FAYROUZ did get the upper hand in their next meeting, closing for second behind speedy COMMANDER TWO at 1500 metres on January 31, going past BRANDY, who finished fourth, three and a half lengths adrift her old rival, after chasing the pace.
However, in a rather strange decision, DaCosta had started BRANDY without her regular equipment, a tongue tie and figure eight, both of which have been replaced for their Thornbird Stakes rematch.
The speed of the Thornbird Stakes is expected to be a scorcher with horses such as MY SISTER, LICI'S PEPSI and BREEZY ADLIH, not to mention DISABILITY CHARM, all coming to run their races from on or just about off the pace.
Nunes has been priming FAYROUZ in the mornings, upside stablemate NADESHICO, injecting speed which saw her clocking 1:07.3 for a five-and-a-half furlong gallop on Sunday.
FAYROUZ and BRANDY are both racing at 55.0 kilos, lighter than BAND OF GOLD, who recently ran on to beat DISABILITY CHARM and LICI'S PEPSI in the six-furlong Hot Line Stakes. At the handicaps and a line through her ill-fated start in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, plus the fact that DaCosta has refitted her equipment, BRANDY gets the nod.