Clear, concise, comprehensive horseracing analysis and insight from Paul Jones, former author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, concentrating on jump racing in addition to the best of the Flat and leading Sports events.
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Fillies and Mares Book?

December 15th

Week 5 of the Cheltenham Ante-Post Service was uploaded last night and Mike Henderson’s outright betting preview of the World Darts Championship went live early this morning. Mike’s first round analysis will be uploaded on Wednesday morning with Big Race Focus also being available from 1.00 p.m. tomorrow.

To celebrate 10,000 editions of The Racing Post, they have been running a series of Top Tens since they launched back in 1986 (I still have the first edition in my garage somewhere with Graham Goode’s TV tips) which usually spark plenty of debate. The Top Ten to generate most interest for a mainly jumps enthusiast like myself was their (or Peter Thomas’s) Top Ten jumps horses during that period and it is hard to quibble with eight of them; Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre, Desert Orchid, Denman, Moscow Flyer, Istabraq, Master Minded and Carvill’s Hill. I’d take issue with Imperial Commander and Long Run deserving a slot ahead of Hurricane Fly (heaven only knows what the Irish made of that omission) and Big Buck’s personally but each to their own. I rather feel that list concentrated too much on official ratings than overall achievement. 

As for their Top Ten Flat horses or (Steve Dennis’s), again hard to disagree with the majority headed by Frankel, Dancing Brave, Sea The Stars, Dayjur, American Pharoah, Dubai Millenium, Montjeu and Peintre Celebre but I’d replace Daylami and Generous (wouldn’t get in my top 25) with Treve and Black Caviar. I thought that list needed at least one filly Steve!

On the subject of fillies, I had an idea a few years back about writing a book on the best Fillies and Mares in recent history (50 years anyway) which was well received on Twitter and by the editor of a leading racing media paper but I didn’t really do a lot more with it after preparing much of the groundwork including which would be to the top 50 fillies and what made them special.

Having quality photos is important to any project like this though. Perhaps when Cheltenham is out of the way I’ll revisit it now that I don’t have two other books a year to write. A quality photo aside other essentials would be (2) an essay on each filly/mare’s career and why she was so endeared by the racing public, (3) owner/trainer/breeder details, (4) her race record (runs, wins, 2nds, 3rds, prize money won, official rating), (5) a listing of major victories and awards, (6) her pedigree (three-generation) and (7) colour and year of foal. Other content ideas included (8) what she went on to achieve as a broodmare, (9) a thumbnail by a different leading racing figure explaining what she meant to him/her, (10) connections’ quotes from archives and (11) a ‘For More Information’ section listing books, videos or YouTube clips at the bottom of each filly/mares’ profile.

If I wrote it then it wouldn’t be meant as an authority like ‘A Century Of Champions’ by John Randall and Tony Morris, more of a light read about magic names and I do feel that fillies tend to hold a more affectionate place in our hearts. I also felt that there should be an all-time greats section outside of the last 50 years featuring the likes of Pretty Polly, Sceptre, Sun Chariot, Meld, Diadem, Petite Etoile, Kincsem, Godiva, Rockfel, Noblesse, Coronation, Sweet Solera and Musidora amongst others plus a Top 25 jumps section. Knocking it down to just 50 fillies/mares for a double-page spread was tough I can tell you so I thought that there maybe should also be a next-best 50 receiving one page each. Here were the ‘A’s and ‘B’s:


What Made Her Special: The only European-trained horse and first filly to be crowned American Horse of the Year following four Group/Grade 1 wins in three different countries during an incredible autumn of 1983 and also went on to finish second in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1984.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Washington DC International, Rothmans International Turf Classic, Prix Vermeille.


What Made Her Special: The first filly in history to win over $1 million, she became the catalyst for Daniel Wildenstein’s substantial investment into horseracing after winning the Arc.

Big Race Wins: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches, Prix De Diane, Prix Vermeille, Prix D’Ispahan, Prix Ganay (x2), Prix Dollar.


What Made Her Special: Became the first of only two fillies to win both the 1000 Guineas and Irish 1000 Guineas despite demonstrating a most distinctive and unusual helicopter action have been born with crooked forelegs.

Big Race Wins - 1000 Guineas, Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Matron Stakes, Cherry Hinton Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes.


What Made Her Special: Attained international superstar status being undefeated in 25 starts, 15 of which were Grade or Group 1 event and she was officially the best horse in the world for 18 months and European Champion Sprinter in 2012.

Big Race Wins: Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Lightning Stakes (x3), Patinack Farm Classic (x2), William Reid Stakes (x2), Australia Stakes (x2), Newmarket Handicap, BTC Cup, C F Orr Stakes, Robert Sangster Stakes, Goodwood Handicap.


What Made Her Special: Described by Sir Henry Cecil, who trained 15 British Classic winners with fillies, as the best filly that he ever trained despite her feet causing serious training difficulties. The highest rated horse in Europe or America over 1m2f as a three-year-old and the top rated older filly/mare in Europe as a four-year-old.

Big Race Wins: 1000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Fillies’ Mile, Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

So…….am I sounding you out on the idea? Damn right I am!


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