Prince Khalid Abdullah’s French invader Special Duty took the English One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) from Jacqueline Quest following a stewards' inquiry on May 2 after she finished second by a nose to the 66-1 shot.
Newmarket stewards, after a 10-minute examination, ruled that Jacqueline Quest, ridden by Tom Queally, had pushed 9-2 shot Special Duty across the Rowley Mile straight when they briefly bumped in the sprint to the wire.
The revised result of the first 3-year-old fillies classic of the British racing season completed what is probably a first-ever French-trained Guineas double after Makfi won the colts’ equivalent, the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), on May 1.
Ridden by Stephane Pasquier, Special Duty is trained by Criquette Head-Maarek, who won the race for the fourth time. The stewards’ decision denied Jacqueline Quest’s trainer, Henry Cecil, a seventh triumph in the race.
It was the first time since the 1980 Two Thousand Guineas (when Nureyev was disqualified and Abdullah’s Known Fact was promoted to first) that the result of a Classic has been decided in the stewards’ room. Head-Maarek admitted that the circumstances of her success were far from ideal.
"Stephane said (Special Duty) would have won if it was not for the other horse hanging into her. That filly drifted and drifted, but I don’t like to win a race like this," said Head-Maarek.
"I think she proved today that she was the best, and in our country she would have kept the race but I never thought they would stand the other filly down in this country," Head-Maarek continued. "I never thought about objecting, I have never objected in my life.
"I suppose the other filly’s connections will be very annoyed and you always like to win a race truly but I’m very happy. There is someone up there looking down, a French God! She is a great filly and has a heart as big as herself."
Cecil accepted the ruling that took down Jacqueline Quest.
“It’s one of those things,” he said. “She ran really well. I wasn’t sure she’d stay a mile but she’s improving. Maybe I’ll get my own back at Royal Ascot. I am pleased for Criquette and the Prince, but I would obviously rather have won the race myself."
Queally, who would have won his first classic, was instead handed a three-day suspension for careless riding.
"We looked at the film and Jacqueline Quest drifted right," explained stipendiary steward William Nunneley. "They touched and she continued to go across. Tom Queally had his whip in his left hand and Jacqueline Quest continued to drift.
"The distance was a nose, which is just a pixel on the photograph. It was not a hard decision for us to make in that it was that small a margin."
Special Duty, bred by Juddmonte Farms, is a chestnut filly by Hennessy—Quest to Peak, by Distant View. Her dam is the sister of seven-time U.S. grade I winner Sightseek.
Winner of the Prix Morny (Fr-I) and the Electrolux Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) in 2009, Special Duty was last season's champion 2-year-old filly. In her first start at 3, she faded to third after leading the Prix Imprudence (Fr-III) at Maisons-Laffitte on April 8.