Trainer Owen Burrows has revealed that he was never tempted to run his QIPCO 1000 Guineas contender, Talaayeb, in a prep race prior to her contesting Sunday, 7th May’s one mile Classic at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse.
The winner of her only start, a seven furlong maiden on the Rowley Mile back in September, Talaayeb is one of 18 entries for the Group 1 event following yesterday’s confirmation stage. Boasting total prize money of £500,000, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas is the second of 35 races that make up the 2017 QIPCO British Champions Series.
A former jump jockey who acted as assistant to the five-time 2000 Guineas-winning trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, for 12 years, it is only 13 months since 42-year-old Burrows took over the licence from Barry Hills to train at Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn.
But he knows how to get a horse ready for a Rowley Mile showpiece without the benefit of a recent run – he saddled the seasonal debutant, Massaat, to finish second to Galileo Gold in last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
As he did with Massaat, Burrows has taken the opportunity to refamiliarise Talaayeb with the Rowley Mile via a racecourse gallop which, in her case, took place before racing on the final day of the bet365 Craven Meeting, 20th April.
Talaayeb’s potential QIPCO 1000 Guineas rivals are headed by the main protagonists from two prestigious Rowley Mile contests. The Aidan O’Brien-trained ante post favourite, Rhododendron, last ran in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies Mile there on 7th October, beating Hydrangea and Urban Fox into second and third.
More recently, in the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs on 12th April, the John Gosden-trained Daban defeated two more Guineas candidates, Unforgetable Filly and Poet’s Vanity.
Owen Burrows, trainer of Talaayeb, said:
“I am very happy with Talaayeb although I realise that it is a big ask to go straight from a maiden race to a Classic like the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.”
“I never planned to run her in a prep race because she is not the type of filly to take a lot of work and the trial races come up quickly enough before the Guineas itself.”
“Her racecourse gallop was not a serious bit of work, it was just a leg stretch, but it allowed Jim Crowley [her QIPCO 1000 Guineas jockey] to sit on her, as he has done once at home as well, and he was very pleased with how she felt.”
“Her home work has all been on the bridle and her whole temperament and demeanour has always been very professional. She was an exciting prospect even before she got to the racecourse, though I must admit I was slightly surprised when she won her maiden at quite how well she did it.”
“I couldn’t tell you what her best trip will be until we see more of her on the track, and she is entered in both the English and Irish Oaks as well as the Ribblesdale. She does not look slow and has got gears, but she is bred to get a bit further than a mile.”
“Fast ground will be perfect for her, so I am chuffed to bits that is what we seem likely to get on Saturday.”