By Nicholas Godfrey
Ireland: Aidan O’Brien’s Classic plunge horse Santa Barbara is now as short as 11-4 favourite for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday May 2 after a drastic price cut this week as the daughter of Camelot emerged as Ballydoyle’s number one contender for the fillies’ Classic.
A half-sister to multiple G1 winner Iridessa, Santa Barbara made an impressive winning debut on her only start at The Curragh in September. She was an 8-1 shot earlier in the week – before O’Brien made a series of notably upbeat comments in an enlightening Stable Tour feature for the At The Races website.
Santa Barbara is now a best-priced 7-2 with Ladbrokes for the fillies’ Classic. “She’s done unbelievably well in physical terms over the winter,” said O’Brien. “She looks like a five-year-old colt. She goes through her work unbelievably well.”
O’Brien has won the 1,000 Guineas six times, including four of the last five runnings with MInding (2016), Winter (2017), Hermosa (2019) and Love (2020).
The trainer added that it had yet to be decided whether Santa Barbara will run in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown or go straight to Newmarket.
“We won’t over-race her, we’ll keep her runs to a minimum if we can, but she shows an unbelievable amount of class at home,” he added. “She just toys with horses in her work. We’re very excited by her.”
Among the Ballydoyle colts, Battleground will go straight to the 2,000 Guineas, for which he is now 7-1 co-favourite of three with Ladbrokes, alongside stablemate St Mark’s Basilica (goes straight to Guineas) and Thunder Moon, trained by O’Brien’s son Joseph. Wembley will also head straight to Newmarket.
Leading Derby contenders such as ante-post favourite High Definition and Cleveland are likely to bypass the Guineas in favour of reappearing in a Epsom trial, while O’Brien told ATR’s Kevin Blake that Van Gogh “is working like a horse who has enough pace for the Guineas”.
O’Brien also had news dual Classic-winning filly Love, whose first significant target will be the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh.
1,000 Guineas betting (William Hill): 11-4 Santa Barbara, 7 Pretty Gorgeous, 12 Indigo Girl, Shale, 14 Joan Of Arc, 16 Alcohol Free, Mother Earth, Snow Lantern, 20 bar.