Fillies’ Mile

The Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket is an important trial for the following year’s Classic races. It has been won by many top class juveniles who went on to win or place in the Guineas and the Epsom Oaks. Notable winners include Oh So Sharp (1984), Diminuendo (1987), Bosra Sham (1995), Soviet Song (2002) and Minding (2015).

The Race

The Fillies’ Mile, as the name suggests, takes place over a mile at Newmarket in October. It was formerly run at Ascot but Newmarket’s straight miles make it one of the toughest tests for two-year-old fillies at this level. Winners of this race will feature prominently in the ante-post betting for the following season’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks.

Famous Fillies’ Mile Winners & History

The Fillies’ Mile was first held at Ascot in 1973 with Her Majesty The Queen’s Escorial winning for Ian Balding and Lester Piggott. The race was given Group 3 status in 1975 and was sponsored by Hoover from 1978 to 1989, becoming established as one of the top two-year-old races of the season. It was promoted to Group 2 in 1986 and finally became a Group 1 race in 1990. The Fillies’ Mile was transferred to Newmarket in 2011 and is now part of the Future Champions’ Festival meeting.

The first horse to win this and the 1000 Guineas was Quick As Lightning in 1979. She had finished third in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury prior to the Guineas and started at 12-1 before winning under Brian Rouse. The Queen’s association with this race was strengthened when her Height Of Fashion won in 1981. Although the filly did not compete in the Classics, she proved a revelation at stud where her foals included Nashwan, Nayef and Unfuwain.

Oh So Sharp added her name to the roll of honour with victory here in 1984. She would go on to win the Fillies’ Triple Crown of 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and the St Leger at Doncaster. Oh So Sharp was trained by Sir Henry Cecil and ridden by Steve Cauthen in all three Classic races. Cecil unleashed another star in Diminuendo in 1987, the subsequent winner of the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks. Cecil’s Bosra Sham (1995) and Reams Of Verse (1996) also went on to Classic glory in the 1000 Guineas and Oaks respectively.

Other notable Fillies’ Mile winners include multiple Group 1 winner Soviet Song (2002), Breeders’ Cup winner Chriselliam (2013) and 1000 Guineas and Oaks winner Minding (2015). The latter followed her Classic victories with wins in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot for the Aidan O’Brien stable.

Key Fillies’ Mile Trials

The May Hill Stakes at Doncaster has proved to be by far the most informative trial for the Fillies’ Mile. Ten of the last twelve May Hill winners have run here on their next outing and five of them have been successful; White Moonstone (2010), Lyric of Light (2011), Certify (2012), Laurens (2017) and Inspiral (2021).

Four of the last twelve winners came from the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. Minding (2015) was the only filly to win both races during that time.

Fillies’ Mile Betting Trends

Eight of the last twelve renewals were won by the favourite or joint-favourite. Inspiral (2021) was the third to do so at odds-on after White Moonstone (2010) and Certify (2012). Minding (2015) was another well-backed favourite at 5-4 while her stablemate Rhododendron (2016) returned joint-favourite at 5-2.

There have been shocks in this race, most notably Chriselliam in 2013 who sprang a 28-1 surprise for Charles Hills and Richard Hughes. Iridessa (2018) returned at 14-1 and Laurens (2017) was a 10-1 chance.

Fillies’ Mile Stats

The last twelve Fillies’ Mile winners had all raced within the previous month. Eight of those 12 had been successful and the same number had at least one previous victory over a mile. All but two of those winners had at least three races under their belts. An official rating of 110 or higher is normally required to win this, although Chriselliam (2013) and Iridessa (2018) were under that mark on 95 and 98 respectively.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

Sir Henry Cecil remains the most successful trainer in the history of the Fillies’ Mile with six winners, four of which went on to win Classic races the following season. His six winners were Formulate (1978), Oh So Sharp (1984), Diminuendo (1987), Tessla (1988), Bosra Sham (1995) and Reams of Verse (1996).

Aidan O’Brien is currently one behind Cecil’s record. His five winners to date are Sunspangled (1998), Listen (2007), Together Forever (2014), Minding (2015) and Rhododendron (2016). John Gosden also has five, four under his own name and most recently Inspiral (2021), shared with his son Thady.

Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner of the Fillies’ Mile on a record seven occasions. He partnered Inspiral, his first winner in the race since Lyric of Light in 2011. His other winners were Shamshir (1990), Glorosia (1997), Teggiano (1999), Crystal Music (2000) and White Moonstone (2010).

Betting on the Fillies’ Mile

There is an ante-post market for the Fillies’ Mile which takes shape after the May Hill Stakes at the Doncaster St Leger meeting. The form of that race is usually rock solid and the outcome of this race often establishes a clear favourite for the following season’s 1000 Guineas.

Five of the last eleven winners lined up for the Guineas on their next outing but only Minding (2015) was successful. Rhododendron and Laurens both finished second in the Classic and Quadrilateral finished third. The overall statistics suggest that it takes a really exceptional filly to win both races.

Summary

The Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket often produces a leading contender for the 1000 Guineas and is one of those races that is worth replaying for future Classic clues. Although the recent record of winners in the Guineas is poor, it will always have a big impact on the shape of the ante-post market.

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