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Amphitrite flies late to win 1000 Guineas

From a Sale maiden win to a Group 1 Thousand Guineas victory and all in a matter of just five weeks - that's been the amazing progression of Sebring filly Amphitrite.

She had her doubters at Caulfield on Saturday as she eased from $12 to $13 by race time and her trainer Darren Weir admitted to being one of those.

He doubted before the race whether Amphitrite, Krone or Anjana were going to be good enough to win the spring's middle-distance classic for fillies and on the home turn, his doubt about Amphitrite grew as she was behind all 14 of her rivals.

But as the leader and favourite Smart Melody ($2.15) began to feel the pinch rising to 1600 metres for the first time, the race changed complexion and suddenly those horses back in the field were a chance.

It then appeared the race would fall to a $101 shot as did last year's Caulfield Guineas when Mighty Boss upset the favourite Kementari. Lindsay Park filly Fundamentalist shot clear and looked set for a most unlikely victory until this blur came into vision and moments later swamped her to win.

It was Amphitrite, notching a treble for her rider Craig Williams and establishing herself as a filly of quality after winning all four races this campaign.

To underline this, her winning time of 1:35.67 was just seven-hundredths of a second outside the race record established by Clarry Conners' filly Arborea in 1993.

On the line, Amphitrite had just a head margin over Fundamentalist, with Seabrook ($26) a length-and-a-quarter away in third place while Smart Melody tired to finish seventh.

Amphitrite and Craig Williams arrive for the win, picture Quentinjlang

"She was in great shape but I didn't know if any of my three fillies were good enough," a delighted Weir said after the race.

"I spoke to Craig before the race and just said we'll just ride her to run well. She's going to get back and let's hope they go quick enough for us to go over the top of them."

Weir said he did not expect the filly to grow into such a galloper after failing to win a race at her first preparation.

"She showed us a little bit first prep but nothing like this," he said. "Went out, matured and turned into a nice big strong filly."

Weir said he was hoping more than expecting the filly to finish the race off with the Wakeful Stakes over 2000m at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day his major goal for the spring.

"I don't train to find out how good they are at home," he explained. "You train to get them ready to race. You put them in that race or you put them in a weaker race or stronger race."

Amphitrite showed herself to be above average just seven days ago when she won the G2 Edward Manifold Stakes and her trainer had no problems in backing her up.

"It was a no-brainer," he said. "She had a good week. Obviously, we 'ummed' and 'ahhed' over the barrier draw. But it's going to be three weeks to the Wakeful if we didn't run, so we did.

"I thought that 2000-metre race was more her go. I don't know about the Oaks but we'll see what happens."

Amphitrite was purchased in Adelaide and he found owners for her immediately in the form of the Flying Start Thoroughbreds syndicate.

"Me and Jeremy Rogers bought her in Adelaide for $50,000. Jezza is a great judge of a horse and he picked her out," Weir said.

"Flying Start Thoroughbreds were the losing bidder and they came and saw me and said 'Have you got an owner for it?' and I said 'No, I don't have an owner' and he said 'Well, I'll syndicate it'."

Williams paid tribute to Weir for his victory.

"Well done to the stable," he said. "They backed her up after last week, came here, pulled out barrier 16 but Darren gave me so much confidence. He said he was delighted with the filly.

"Darren just said ride her quiet and let her accelerate in the straight."

Thousand Guineas, photo finish picture Racing.com

 
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