Conditions at the Curragh on Sunday were very different from those at rain-lashed Newmarket three weeks ago when Homecoming Queen annihilated the opposition in the 1,000 Guineas. It should not, therefore, have been a total surprise that the diminutive filly was unable to repeat her victory, even though again she made a bold bid to make all the running.
This time, though, Homecoming Queen was never able to shake off her pursuers, and from a long way out it was clear that the English raider Samitar was going the best of the chasing pack. Eased into the clear a furlong from home by her young rider Martin Harley, Samitar bounded up to the line to record an impressive victory over Homecoming Queen’s less-fancied stablemate Ishvana in a race in which the form-lines do not necessarily stack up particularly well.
Samitar is now the winner of three of her nine starts and, although some of her form places her well below the highest class, on her day she is clearly very good, as she had previously demonstrated at Newmarket last September when failing by only a head behind Lyric Of Light in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile. Her win brought a particular smile to the face of her trainer Mick Channon: she was bred by Norman Court Stud (with which he is closely involved) and she is now the second Group winner whom he has trained from her dam Aileen’s Gift, the first having been the 2007 Albany Stakes victrix Nijoom Dubai.
A daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, Samitar also brought a broad grin to the face of her young jockey, Britain’s reigning champion apprentice Martin Harley. Born in County Donegal, Harley rode plenty of winners in Ireland while apprenticed to Jim Bolger before coming to England at the start of last year to complete his apprenticeship with Channon. He seemed understandably delighted to have made this flying visit back to his homeland to ride his first major winner on his first start in a Classic.