Mawj (far side) gets the better of Tahiyra in a fantastic battle in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket (Credit: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos))
David Jennings (Racing Post, Deputy Editor Ireland)
The sequel to a thrilling 1,000 Guineas is all set for Royal Ascot later this month after Dermot Weld reported Tahiyra to be heading for a rematch with Mawj in the Coronation Stakes.
The original was a classic in every sense of the word as Mawj and Tahiyra were embroiled in an absorbing battle inside the final two furlongs at Newmarket, a tussle from which the Godolphin filly emerged victorious by half a length. There were seven and a half lengths back to the third.
Tahiyra lost her unbeaten record there, despite trading at an in-running low of 1-5 on the Betfair Exchange, but she dusted herself down to win the Irish equivalent at the Curragh in superb style last month.
Now Weld has his sights set on winning a second Coronation Stakes, 45 years after his first with Sutton Place, who did the business under Wally Swinburn in 1978.
Weld said: “Tahiyra is on schedule for the Coronation Stakes and I’ve been satisfied with everything she has done since the Irish Guineas. Royal Ascot is the plan at the moment.
“She’s a very adaptable filly so Ascot shouldn’t be a problem. The Coronation Stakes is always a high-class Group 1 and it looks like this year is going to be no different.”
Despite her defeat at Newmarket, bookmakers believe Tahiyra will get her revenge at Ascot as she is generally a 6-4 favourite for the mile event on June 23, with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mawj next best at 2-1.
Bin Suroor and Godolphin are yet to win the Coronation Stakes, but the trainer confirmed his daughter of Exceed And Excel to be on course to right that wrong. He said: “Mawj worked last Thursday on our Chippenham gallops, her first serious work since the 1,000 Guineas. She’s doing good and it was always the plan to miss the Irish 1,000 Guineas and go to Royal Ascot as she needs time between her races to show her best form.”
In Tahiyra, Weld has arguably one of the best fillies in training, and he unleashed a very exciting colt at Gowran Park on Monday too.
Knight To King, a regally bred son of Kingman and Weld’s 1,000 Guineas heroine Nightime, won his maiden on his debut by seven and a half lengths under Chris Hayes.
Although entered in next month’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, Weld said no decision has been made about where Knight To King will go next. He did, however, state that the wide-margin win came as no surprise.
Weld said: “We left him in the Irish Derby, but there is no definite plan at the moment and we will see how he comes out of his maiden first. I’ll have a chat with Maurice Regan [of owners Newtown Anner Stud] and we’ll decide the best thing to do for the colt. He’s still immature.
“I wasn’t surprised by what he did as he had been showing me a lot of talent and had been working exceptionally well.”
Knight To King is a 20-1 shot for the Irish Derby with Paddy Power, for which Auguste Rodin is 4-6 favourite following his impressive victory at Epsom on Saturday.
Coronation Stakes (June 23)
BoyleSports: 5-4 Tahiyra, 2 Mawj, 15-2 Meditate, 8 Queen For You, 10 Jannah Rose, Kelina, Sounds Of Heaven, 12 Electric Eyes, 16 bar