By Simon Jackson.
Mick Channon believes that Malabar is a potential Oaks filly after she finished fourth to Legatissimo in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.
The consistent filly has yet to finish out of the money in seven starts that includes a Group 3 win at Goodwood in her two-year-old season, that culminated with a staying-on fourth in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in October.
At Newmarket, the daughter of Raven’s Pass raced in the midfield for jockey Martin Harley. She ran on well to finish six and a half lengths adrift of the winner, the pair separated by second-placed Lucida and Tiggy Wiggy in third.
“I’m chuffed with her,” Channon said of the filly who is best-priced at 25-1 but as short as 16-1 (Ladbrokes) for the Investec Oaks. “She’s a very nice filly and I think she will be better when she gets a mile-and-a-quarter or a mile-and-a-half. It will be interesting to see.
“The mile just had her on her head a little bit, but she ran all the way to the line. I’m well pleased really, in the sense I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but she’s run well.
“I think she’s an Oaks filly. It’s a possibility. I think if we went to Epsom, we’d have to take in a trial, we’ll have to talk about that, but it’s worth a pop. Listen, we won’t be frightened to have a go.”
Meanwhile, the Irish 1000 Guineas may be on the agenda for the Jim Bolger-trained Lucida who was sent off the 9-2 favourite on Sunday.
“There are no excuses,” said Bolger after the Godolphin-owned Shamardal filly finished three quarters of a length behind Legatissimo (13-2). “I’d have to be very happy with her. It would have been lovely to win, but there you go. Her next run is more than likely to be the Coronation Stakes [Royal Ascot] but there’s a possibility of the 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in the meantime.
Tiggy Wiggy, the winner of six of her eight starts at up to six furlongs last season, was a further four-and-a-half lengths back in third and will be stepped back in distance.
Jockey Richard Hughes said: “We’re going to go back to six-and-a-half furlongs now. We’ve had a go and I’m only third because she’s so good.
“You can argue that she stays, but she’s not as effective over a mile. We used her speed over six and it would be unfair to her to keep trying over a mile. The trouble is she’s so good, but you are not using all your assets over a mile.”
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