Juddmonte Farms' Hot Snap, a filly on the rise, is the 11-4 favorite heading into the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) May 5 at Newmarket.
Hot Snap has won both career outings and comes in off a brilliant 2 1/4-length victory April 17 at Newmarket in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III). She comfortably defeated group I winner and favorite Sky Lantern while having her first outing of 2013. The seven-furlong test served as a learning experience for trainer Sir Henry Cecil's Pivotal filly as once into stride she completed an impressive last-to-first rally.
"She took a while to get into gear in the Nell Gwyn, but she was an impressive winner in the end," said Khalid Abdulla's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe.
Hot Snap won her career debut in a one-mile race on the all-weather track at Kempton last September.
"Professionally, she has come on from Newmarket. She worked really nicely on (April 27) with Shane Fetherstonhaugh and, from that point of view, she is a filly on an upward curve.
"Henry has always had a high opinion of her and we are really positive about her."
A half sister to grade/group I winner Midday, Hot Snap could provide Cecil a seventh win in the One Thousand Guineas. He last won the classic in 1999 with Juddmonte's Wince. Juddmonte also won the race in 2010 with Special Duty.
Ben Keswick's Sky Lantern re-opposes in the One Thousand Guineas for trainer Richard Hannon.
A Red Clubs filly, Sky Lantern carried three pounds more than her rivals in the Nell Gwyn, courtesy of her win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) last September at the Curragh. All 15 fillies in the One Thousand Guineas carry 126 pounds.
Jockey Richard Hughes said after the Nell Gwyn that he is looking forward to a rematch between Sky Lantern and Hot Snap.
"Sky Lantern takes time to pick up; she does not have instant acceleration and she is crying out for a step up to a mile, while, though (Hot Snap) will come on for the run, so will we," Hughes said on Hannon's website. "Mine is a straightforward filly and she'll improve. Hot Snap might well beat us again, but it is no foregone conclusion."
Sky Lantern, who is pegged at 10-1, has three wins and three seconds from seven lifetime starts. Her record includes a victory in the Coolmore Stud Naas Juvenile Fillies Sprint last June before finishing second to eventual European champion 2-year-old filly Certify in the German Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes (Eng-III) Aug. 11 at Newmarket. She was also second to One Thousand Guineas entrant Ollie Olga in the Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes (Eng-II) two weeks later at Goodwood.
Trainer Charlie Hills will send out Qatari Sheikh Fahad al Thani's Just The Judge, who is raced in partnership with the Sangster family.
The Lawman filly, tabbed at 5-1, is unbeaten in three career starts, all at seven furlongs, including the Vision.ae Rockfel Stakes (Eng-II) Oct. 13 at Newmarket in her most recent start.
"We never intended to give Just The Judge a prep race unless she had a problem, and she hasn't missed a day all winter long," Hills said. "We took her to Newmarket for a racecourse gallop (April 17) just to get the freshness out of her."
With a stamina-laden pedigree, some have suggested the Guineas one-mile distance might be too short for Just The Judge, but Hills thinks his filly can handle the trip.
"You can't be afraid of the distance because she is already a three-time winner over seven furlongs," he said, "but Sunday's extra furlong will definitely help her."
Sheikh Fahad, whose family has contributed enormously to British racing through their private investment company QIPCO, sponsor of the Guineas Festival until at least 2017, also will be represented French raider What A Name.
The consistent Mr. Greeley filly, a two-time group III winner who is group I-placed, is pegged at 9-2 odds.
Trained by Mikel Delzangles, her runner-up finish in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Grand Criterium (Fr-I) last October at Longchamp was bookended by wins in the Prix La Rochette (Fr-III) in September to cap her juvenile campaign and the Prix Imprudence (Fr-III) April 4 in her first start of 2013.
"I am getting very strong vibes from Mikel; I haven't seen him so bullish about a horse," Sheikh Fahd said.