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Wednesday 14 October 2020

Billesdon Brook

The winner of seven of her twenty starts, including two at Group One level, and with an official handicap rating of 116, Billesdon Brook is not a horse that would typically fall into the ‘outsider’ category. However, Richard Hannon’s Champs Elysees mare will always be best remembered for her shock victory in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2018, for which she started rank outsider of the fifteen-strong field at 66/1, making her the longest-priced winner in the history of the fillies’ Classic.

After a successful juvenile season, in which she won three times, including the Group Three Prestige Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Goodwood, Billesdon Brook made her three-year-old debut in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes, also over 7 furlongs, at Newmarket. Sent off at 9/1, she could find no extra in the final furlong and eventually finished fourth, beaten 5½ lengths, behind comfortable winner Soliloquy, trained by Charlie Appleby.

Soliloquy reopposed, on identical terms, in the 1,000 Guineas, but Billesdon Brook clearly improved out of all recognition at Newmarket – in fact, to the tune of 19lb, according to Timeform – and won with authority, in a decent time. She travelled well throughout, made rapid headway from the rear of the field with three furlongs to run and, after striking the front inside the final quarter of a mile, stayed on well to beat Laurens by 1¾ lengths, with favourite Happily a further half a length further back in third. According to winning jockey, Sean Levey, Billesdon Brook, who was racing over a mile for just the second time in her career, ‘sailed all the way to the line’.