Can one stop hot favourite Dance Sequence in the Nell Gwyn?

The 1,000 Guineas trial that gave us Classic winner Cachet two seasons ago needs monitoring closely as a star could be born on the Rowley Mile. If the market is to be believed, Dance Sequence is already that star.

The Godolphin filly is two from two over this distance on Newmarket's tracks and a previous positive experience around the unique configuration is never a bad thing – Roger Varian’s maiden winner True Cyan is the only other runner with winning course form. 

Dance Sequence looked a work in progress when landing the Oh So Sharp Stakes in October and gives the impression she will progress again at three. While the daughter of Dubawi is odds-on, she comes out second best on Racing Post Ratings behind Matrika.

Matrika recorded a 1lb superior RPR in the Albany Stakes to Dance Sequence’s mark in the Oh So Sharp, but this is a first attempt at 7f for her and progeny of No Nay Never are seldom certainties to benefit beyond sprint distances. In contrast, Dance Sequence’s pedigree and style of racing points towards a mile and perhaps even middle-distance races. 

Matrika is Aidan O’Brien’s first runner in the Nell Gwyn since 2018, but his form figures since the 2013 running (9705) hardly inspire confidence. It is around 10-1 bar the big two in the early betting, but we can bank on at least one or two of the lesser-fancied fillies taking marked steps forward from their juvenile form. 

That expectation could easily apply to once-raced winner True Cyan and/or John and Thady Gosden's representative Spiritual, who will need to handle the Dip better than she did when fourth in the Rockfel. 

At a big price, it would be dangerous to dismiss smart sprinter Pretty Crystal in this acid test. The Dubawi filly is battle-hardened from her two-year-old days, which is a plus at this time of year in a clash with slower-burning types, and her dam was at her best over 7f.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

'Dance Sequence looks the one to beat again'
Charlie Appleby will hope Dance Sequence can secure her place in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas with a strong performance in the Nell Gwyn.

The daughter of Dubawi sits third in the Classic market at 5-1 generally behind Fallen Angel and Ylang Ylang after winning both starts last season. She scored on the July course on her debut and followed up over this course and distance in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, beating the Ralph Beckett-trained Skellet by a neck.

"She's done very well over the winter," said Appleby, who last won the race with Soliloquy in 2018. "She's already won over course and distance in the Oh So Sharp and looks the one to beat again."

After a disappointing campaign in Britain last season, the trainer has hit the ground running internationally this year. He won two Group 1s in Dubai, most notably last month's Sheema Classic with Rebel's Romance, and landed a Keeneland Grade 1 on Saturday with Master Of The Seas.

Dance Sequence is odds-on but faces a high-quality field that includes Matrika, who finished behind Group 1 winner Porta Fortuna in the Albany before winning the Group 2 Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh for Aidan O'Brien.

What they say
James Fanshawe, trainer of Heritage House
She ran really well in the Bosra Sham Stakes at Newmarket last year and we're hopeful she can squeeze a bit of black type.

Brian Meehan, trainer of Kathmandu
She's a lovely filly. Her work is excellent, she's wintered well and I liked the way she won on the all-weather at Southwell last time.

Alice Haynes, trainer of Lexington Belle
She's progressive and looks to have improved from two to three. There's a nice race for her somewhere.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Matrika
She's in good form, but she's hard to read at home. She very idle and lazy around here so it can be hard to judge her. Everything seems good with her, though, and she's seems fit enough to start off.

Thady Gosden, joint-trainer of Spiritual
She’s got experience of the course and the ground is perfect for trialling fillies on. We feel she’s developed over the winter and deserves her chance again at this level.

Roger Varian, trainer of True Cyan
It's a big jump from winning her maiden at the track last autumn into a Nell Gwyn but we won it five years ago with Qabala, who went on to finish third in the Guineas. This looks a good starting point for her and she's been pleasing in her work at home.