Tuesday 16 April 2019

Can Skitter Scatter Justify Her Favouritism in the Group 1?

The UK flat season may have only just got underway earlier this month, but many punters are already beginning to scour the ante-post markets in a bid to unearth some value. With a number of top-class fillies already entered into the race, the 1,000 Guineas looks set to be another suitable competitive affair, and John Oxx's Skitter Skatter has been installed as the early market leader. The three-year-old, sired by Scat Daddy, is certainly an outstanding prospect, but many pundits have begun to speculate about whether she will be able to justify a single-figure price in such a red-hot event.

John Oxx has recently joined forces with his neighbour Patrick Prendergast, and pair look set to form a formidable partnership this summer. Their stable star Skitter Skatter enjoyed a highly successful juvenile campaign and also holds an entry to the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Having won three of her first five outings on the flat, big things are expected of the three-year-old. Scat Daddy has a tremendous record with his two-year-olds, with the likes of Beatboxer and Legends of War also picking up notable victories in recent weeks. 

Skitter Skatter was successful in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, comfortably beating Lady Kaya by two lengths. She was subsequently installed as the 7/1 favourite for the 1,000 Guineas. The Newmarket Group 1, which is contested on the Rowley Mile has attracted a plethora of high-quality entrants with the likes of Just Wonderful, Dancing Vega and the aforementioned Lady Kaya all prominent in the betting. Former Cheveley Park runner-up The Mackem Bullet may also return to the UK for trainer Wesley Ward, and she is currently 20/1 in the latest horse racing betting to spring a surprise. Having been previously trained by Brian Ellison, the impressive filly moved to the US and has made a winning start for her new yard. She was victorious in the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland at the beginning of April, seeing off a late challenge from Catch A Thrill. 

John Oxx claimed that his star-filly was "underrated" last season, and suggests that there is still plenty of improvement to come. He also praised her temperament, before suggesting that they won't be testing her beyond a mile anytime soon. 
It's been a tough couple of years for the trainer, who has found winners hard to come by, but his newly-formed partnership with Prendergast looks promising, and the pair will be targetting a number of lucrative contests this summer. They currently have over 70 horses in training, including a number of promising two-year-olds.  Aidan O'Brien has dominated the 1,000 Guineas in recent years, with Winter, Minding and Homecoming Queen all landing the spoils for the County Tipperary-based trainer, and he is likely to be targetting the race once again. Richard Hannon's Billesdon Brook was successful in the 2018 staging of the classic under the ride of Sean Levy. 

There are plenty of high-quality contests to come over the next couple of months, but the 1,000 Guineas is one of the standout events on the racing calendar, and some value-hunting punters are already beginning to place their ante-post bets on the second of the British classics. Skitter Skatter will arrive in Suffolk amid plenty of hype, and she does look to be in unstoppable form. Despite stiff competition, she should be able to further enhance her burgeoning reputation on the Rowley Mile at the beginning of May.

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