SHEILA Lavery will be bidding for her first ever winner in Britain when she saddles Lady Kaya, one of 24 fillies to stand their ground following yesterday’s scratching stage for the Group 1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas, which will take place at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Sunday, May 5th.
Run over a straight mile, this £500,000 classic is the second leg of the 2019 QIPCO British Champions Series.
Lavery, who has been training in Co Meath since 2012, has never previously had a classic runner.
Indeed, it was only two and a half weeks ago that Lady Kaya gave her a first pattern success in the Group 3 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.
Led out unsold when the hammer came down at the €12,000 mark at the yearling sales, so now owned by Lavery’s niece Joanne Lavery, Lady Kaya had some excellent two-year-old form, in particular when chasing home her fellow 1000 Guineas entry, Skitter Scatter, in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes in mid-September.
Sheila Lavery, trainer of Lady Kaya, said: “Lady Kaya came out of her Leopardstown race very well, I am very happy with her, and she now heads to Newmarket.
“She will be my first runner in a classic and I’m just trying to get her there in one piece and trying not to think about it too much – if I do it makes me feel physically ill!
“I like being the underdog and I think she is a wonderful story for racing. She was very inexpensive and it shows that there is a dream out there for everyone, everyone can buy the dream and for Joanne it has come true.
“I have taken advice from a number of people, including Pat Smullen, and we think that going over to England is the best option for her. One of the reasons why we have chosen to send her to Newmarket is that we know she handles the track, having run on it in the Cheveley Park Stakes.
“She only finished sixth that day but that was not her true form, it came too soon for her, less than two weeks after the Moyglare, and she ran flat.
“I think Lady Kaya was fairly straight for her Leopardstown win, as she is naturally very fit, but I certainly hadn’t gunned her at home.
“Guineas Day will without doubt be the biggest moment of my training career and, without sounding big-headed, I have never been one to be scared by the opposition, as you just never know.”
Irish trainers have a particularly strong hand this year with 10 entries including seven from Aidan O’Brien.
These are led by Just Wonderful, winner of the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs of the Rowley Mile and Fairyland, who landed the six-furlong Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.
Aidan’s son, Joseph, completes the Irish contingent with Iridessa, successful over the full course and distance in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile on October 12th and recently third behind Lady Kaya on her reappearance.
The British defence includes all of the principals from the two main trial races.
Roger Varian’s Qabala is engaged alongside her stablemate, Mot Juste – who a fortnight ago chased her home over seven furlongs of the Rowley Mile in the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes – plus the third and fourth from that seven-furlong contest, Angel’s Hideaway and Look Around.
Dandhu lifted the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury for David Elsworth and she could again cross swords with the second, third and fourth from that seven-furlong event, Iconic Choice, So Perfect and Star Terms.