French filly Special Duty made most of the running to capture the Electrolux Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) by 2 3/4-lengths at Newmarket Oct. 2. The impressive victory led bookmakers to install her as the early favorite for the 2010 stanjames.com One Thousand Guineas Stakes (Eng-I).
Confidently ridden by Stephane Pasquier, the chestnut 2-year-old broke sharply and went straight to the front. Special Duty had things her own way until Lady Of The Desert made her bid with just under two furlongs to go.
Lady Of The Desert, under a strong drive by Martin Dwyer, pulled alongside Special Duty and appeared to get her head in front for a few strides, but Special Duty found more, digging in and drawing off in the final yards to win comfortably.
Misheer got up in the final strides to nip Lady Of The Desert by a head for second. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.38 over the "good to firm" going.
The victory was the fourth in the Cheveley Park for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, who trained previous winners Ma Biche (1982), Ravinella (1987), and Pas de Response (1996).
Special Duty now has won three of four lifetime starts for owner Khalid Abdullah. She captured the Prix Robert Papin (Fr-II) over colts in July, and was just beaten a head by Arcano in the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) Aug. 23.
Head-Maarek was understandably proud of her filly, telling reporters, “In my yard, I have nothing that can go with her. She’s got the heart of Ravinella and the class of Ma Biche and Pas De Response. She’s very special.”
Bred in England by her owner, Special Duty is by Hennessy out of the Distant View mare Quest To Peak, who is a full-sister to multiple grade I winner Sightseek. She is also a half-sister to dual-grade I winner, Tates Creek.