Kristale working well ahead of 1000 Guineas
Newmarket-based George Margarson trains one of the smaller strings of racehorses at the legendary home of British Flat racing but the jovial handler is already getting excited at the prospect of taking on the best in the business in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at HQ on May 4, with his smart filly Lucky Kristale, writes Elliot Slater.
A winner of four of her five starts as a juvenile, the daughter of Lucky Story was a revelation in 2013 exceeding all expectations in winning four of her five races, her only defeat coming when sixth of 19 in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, a perfectly respectable effort although one that reportedly stunned Margarson who had believed she would prove very hard to beat.
Having won her first two starts at Newmarket and Yarmouth before tasting defeat for the first time at the royal meeting, most observers felt that the 22,000 guineas purchase had probably achieved as much as she was going to achieve and were sceptical when Margarson insisted that his charge was a potential star. Those who sniggered were soon left laughing on the other side of their face when Lucky Kristale - a 20/1 shot in the betting - produced a tremendous effort at Newmarketís July meeting to beat the Queen Mary Stakes and subsequent Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Rizeena by over two lengths in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.
There was still more to come though as Margarson then headed north to Yorkís showcase Ebor Festival where he had once again produced his two-year-old to run for her life in the Group 2 Connollyís Red Mills Lowther Stakes. She duly came from last to first in the nine-runner affair, quickening up in great style at the furlong marker before going to defeat the Charles Hills-trained Queen Catrine by a length-and-a-half, confirming herself one of the very best fillies in Britain.
Like so many flying two-year-oldís the jury is out on whether or not Lucky Kristale will train on to be quite as good as a three-year-old; so many donít. There is also the question of stamina for the Qipco 1000 Guineas, the race that will be the first this seasonís for Margarsonís star and which is run over the testing mile at Newmarket. So far his charge has never raced beyond six furlongs, and having shown such tremendous pace as a juvenile there has to be a doubt as to whether she will see out a truly run mile at championship level.
Margarson however seems satisfied that his filly has done well from two to three, and that her racing style of settling in behind the pace gives here every chance of staying eight furlongs. Currently rated an 11/1 shot in the ante-post betting for the first filliesí classic of the 2014 season (with bet365), there would be few more popular winners of the 1000 Guineas if the relative Cinderella that is Lucky Kristale proves capable of carrying off the coveted trophy.