Miss Finland regained her territorial right as the leading filly of her age with a last-to-first win in Australia's One Thousand Guineas (Aus-I) at Caulfield Oct. 18.
The difference between celebration and despair for her crew in the Vinery-sponsored $500,000 (Australian funds) contest was a nose. Officially it was a short half-head, which, in this case, is official-speak for a nose.
Miss Finland had let her crown slip when Craig Williams couldn't settle the reigning Golden Slipper (Aus-I) winner in her Guineas prep, the Edward Manifold Stakes (Aus-II). At the end of the Flemington 1,600 meters Oct. 7 the heavy favorite and runaway leader was reeled in and run down by She Will be Loved.
Trainer David Hayes promised that his mainstay filly would be more patiently ridden over the Caulfield 1,600 meters and you can't be more patient than last of 10 from the eight hole, even if you would ideally prefer a 9-10 favorite a touch closer to the action.
This time stablemate Permaiscuous ensured a solid tempo. Seeking his fourth 1,000 Guineas, Damien Oliver had the 11-1 chance five lengths clear in the middle stages. He was able to give her a breather before the stretch, reflected in the gross of 1:37.19, the last 600 meters in :35.76.
The 15-4 second choice, Cheeky Choice, had the unenviable task of carrying the field up to the leader into the final bend. It blunted her finishing speed, but the Gai Waterhouse-trained Flight (Aus-I) heroine fought on for third, beaten three-quarters of a length.
The one-two result is the first win in the national Spring Crown at a mile for 3-year-old fillies by David Hayes. His late father and older brother, Colin and Peter, had conditioned winners.
The 61st Guineas winner races for the Arrowfield black and yellow checks and completes a Guineas set for its sire Redoute's Choice. The Danehill son won the open 3-year-old equivalent of this race, the Caulfield Guineas (Aust-I), and his son God's Own added his name to that list last year.
In the One Thousand Guineas Redoute's Choice sired first and third, the runner-up by another Danehill son on the Arrowfield roster, Danzero. He has supplied three of the past six to finish second.
Arrowfield jointly bred Miss Finland with Sheikh Maktoum's Gainsborough Stud. She was bought back at $450,000 to resolve the partnership at the 2005 Australian Easter yearling sale.
No filly of her age has won the now $3 million W.S. Cox Plate (Aus-I) in the past 30 years. But Miss Finland could well be a live chance if supplemented for the Oct 28 weight-for-age championship. A decision is expected later in the week.