Soliloquy proves out on her own for Appleby and Buick
Godolphin - fresh from winning four Group One races on Dubai World Cup night - landed the first meaningful domestic Classic trial of the spring when Soliloquy comfortably took the featured Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.
The performance earned her a quote of 14/1 from Paddy Power for the 1,000 Guineas, run a fortnight on Sunday, but whether she is supplemented (at a cost of £30,000) or not slightly depends on Wild Illusion, her stablemate, and the weather.
One is likely to go to France and one will stay in England, with Wild Illusion expected to head where the ground is softest.
Soliloquy made all the running under William Buick and travelled well before the scopey daughter of Dubawi quickened away from her rivals to beat Altyn Orda by a length and three-quarters.
"That was very pleasing," said Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby. "I'll not shy away from it - I was confident beforehand. She's done nothing but impress,
"She's done very well from two to three and the form of her Ascot win has worked out well so I was confident she'd be bang there. William (Buick) always planned to keep it simple and got a soft lead. She will be kept apart from Wild Illusion."
Appleby - who sent out an Ascot-type two-year-old Strings of Life to claim the juvenile fillies' maiden under Buick - runs Glorious Journey and Masar in today's Craven Stakes.
"Physically, Glorious Journey has done well," he said. "But he's not a work horse. He wasn't at two. He'll improve for the run while Masar (which had a run on the dirt in Dubai in March) is very fit and ready to rock and roll. I don't know if either will be able to beat Roaring Lion."
Appleby and Buick later completed at 52/1 treble when 5/2 favourite Old Persian took the closing handicap.
Richard Hannon landed the European Free Handicap with the 20/1 shot Anna Nerium, another Dubawi filly, which beat Finniston Farm by three lengths and Tom Marquand's mount may now take her chance in the 1,000 Guineas for her late breeder Bob McCreery's wife Jeanette.
"There was nothing lucky about it," said Hannon. "She's been working well. Sometimes this race isn't a great guide but it was stronger than some years. I was thinking French or Italian Guineas, but luckily Jeanette made me put her in at Newmarket!"
McCreery expressed the hope that her filly would return for the Guineas. "I got a good price about her in December," she explained. The filly's trainer is unlikely to take much persuading despite Anna Nerium getting a quote of 25/1. "My first runner in a Classic was Night of Thunder," he said. The colt won the 2014 2,000 Guineas at 40/1. Aidan O'Brien was out of luck as Richard Fahey's Forest Ranger saw off his 6/4 favourite Deauville to claim top honours in the Group Three Earl Of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs.
Frankuus took the field along for much of the way, with Deauville and Forest Ranger (8/1) always his closest pursuers.
When Frankuus wilted Deauville and Forest Ranger move up to dispute the lead, Robin Of Navan briefly threatening to get involved. However, in the end it turned into a straight duel and it was Forest Ranger which edged out Ryan Moore's mount by half a length in the hands of Tony Hamilton. Euginio beat Robin Of Navan to third place.
At Cheltenham, Traffic Fluide came from the clouds to land a thrilling renewal of the Silver Trophy Chase for Gary and Joshua Moore. The eight-year-old attempted to make all, but Go Conquer and Days Of Heaven challenged him for that role, before the latter was left to get on with it.
Coming down the hill Kalondra moved easily into contention, but he was soon to be challenged by Art Of Payroll with Traffic Fluide back in a poor sixth. Bryan Cooper must have thought he had done everything right on Art Of Payroll, but Traffic Fuide (backed into 13/2 favouritism at the off) flew up the hill to win by a length and a half.
At Newmarket today, Tom Hogan's doughty veteran Gordon Lord Byron lines up for the 85th time of his career in the 85th outing of his career in the Abernant Stakes. Among his opponents are O'Brien's Spirit Of Valor but French raider Le Brivido looks the one they all have to beat in this Group Three heat over six furlongs. (© Daily Telegraph, London)