sport

Rizeena heads 1000 Guineas 19

Ante-post Rizeena features in a field of 19 declared for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday and Richard Hughes will ride.

However, there were several quite high-profile withdrawals among those taken out at the 48-hour final stage in Amazing Maria, J Wonder, Al Thakhira, My Titania, Balansiya, Cape Factor and Queen Catrine.

Despite those defections there will still be a big field for the fillies' Classic over the Rowley Mile, with Clive Brittain's Rizeena leading the charge.

George Margarson's Lucky Kristale, who defeated Rizeena in the Duchess of Cambridge Strakes on Newmarket's July course, takes her chance.

Aidan O'Brien is double-handed with Bracelet and Tapestry, while there are two French raiders in Andre Fabre's Miss France and the Philippe Sogorb-trained Vorda, winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes.

Godolphin are represented by UAE 1000 Guineas and Oaks victor Ihtimal together with Majeyda.

Charlie Hills relies on Royal Ascot winner Kiyoshi, as Sandiva and the supplemented Euro Charline, the first two home in the Nell Gwyn Stakes last month, renew rivalry.

Completing the list of Classic hopefuls are Alutiq, Betimes, Joyeuse, Lady Lara, Lamar, Lightning Thunder, Manderley and Princess Noor.

Rizeena's trainer Clive Brittain is bullish about her chances of giving him a third 1000 Guineas triumph after Pebbles in 1984 and Sayyedati (1993).

His confidence has not been diminshed despite having to change jockey with the champion Richard Hughes replacing Ryan Moore, who rides Bracelet for the O'Brien team.

"Everything's fine. The draw's (seven) not too worrying and the ground will be perfect as far as I'm concerned," said the veteran Newmarket handler.

"With Richard (Hughes) riding I've no lack of confidence in the jockey.

"He hasn't sat on her, but he sat behind her last year and beat her once (on Chriselliam), so he knows enough about her.

"There are 19 runners so you always think you need a bit of luck, but if you've got the best horse you'll win. That's the way I look at it."

O'Brien is happy with his hand in a race he also has won twice with Virginia Waters (2005) and Homecoming Queen (2012). He said of Tapestry: "Everything's good so far. She's a very easy filly to get fit.

"She came very quick after the Curragh (racecourse gallop) and she's been well fit for the last couple of weeks and hopefully we can just nurse her away."