Prior to the Abu Dhabi Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh Mick Channon was telling anyone that cared to listen that his filly Samitar would run a big race and leave behind her two disappointing efforts so far this term. After the Martin Harley-ridden filly had bolted up in the first Irish fillies’ classic of 2012 it was very much a case of ‘I told you so’ from the popular former England centre forward, writes Elliot Slater.
Samitar had enjoyed a tremendous time of things last term when landing the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and the hugely valuable Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket in October, in between times running placed in three hot races including failing by just a short-head to land another big sales prize at Newmarket in August, and more significantly going very close against Godolphin’s Lyric of Light in the Group 1 Shadwell Fillies’ Mile.
Down the field on her reappearance at HQ and never sighted in the French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp earlier in the month, people could be forgiven for suspecting that the daughter of Rock of Gibraltar might have failed to train on, but Channon was adamant she had been ridden incorrectly on both occasions. Bookmakers weren’t convinced though and sent Samitar off with best racing odds of 12/1 at the Curragh, only to see her move far better than the hot favourite and long-time leader Homecoming Queen, who led for much of the contest before weakening into a distant fourth.
Young Martin Harley, (having his first ever ride in a classic), sat ice-cool on the tail of the favourite until easing out and sweeping by over a furlong out to beat outsider Ishvana by a length-and-a-half, with another unconsidered contender Princess Sinead more than two lengths further back in third. Channon suggested to horse racing betting news reporters that Royal Ascot’s Coronation Stakes could well be the logical next step for his classic winner before she is sent to the US later in the season to continue her career.