O'Brien looks to close on G1 record in Fillies Mile

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October 12th, 2017

Aidan O’Brien is just two wins away from equaling Robert Frankel’s world record of 25 group/grade one victories in a year.

By the end of Friday, there’s a great chance that number will be one.

O’Brien is set to saddle three horses in the Fillies Mile (G1) at Newmarket, one of the premier races for juvenile fillies in Europe – and they fill the top three positions in the market.

Happily and Magical, both fillies by Galileo, are the most favored. They were locked together at the end of the 7-furlong Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) at The Curragh Sept. 10, with Happily just getting the decision by a head over her more-favored stablemate.

Happily, a sister to multiple group one winner Gleneagles, then went on to become the first filly since 1986 to win the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) against the colts Oct. 1. In doing so she proved the mile was well within her reach.

The same day, Magical lost a little luster when she finished fourth in the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1), though she didn’t have as much room as she might have and could improve on that effort at Newmarket.

The third O’Brien runner is September, one of the horses bred through Coolmore’s experiment with Japanese champion sire Deep Impact. She won her first two races, the second being the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, before finishing fourth to Magical in the Debutante Stakes (G2) and third in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

The best chances outside the O’Brien team may come from the stable of Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke. He has two runners: Laurens, winner of the May Hill Stakes (G2) at Doncaster, and Elthea, winner of the Park Stakes (G3) at Naas in Ireland. Also worth watching is Godolphin’s Magic Lily, an eight-length winner of her only race.

Happily deserves to be favorite and will be very tough to beat, with Magic Lily perhaps having the most potential to overturn her.