Mawj digs deep to land epic Guineas for Bin Suroor and Murphy
Mawj gained a scintillating success in the Qipco 1000 Guineas, getting the better of favourite Tahiyra after an epic duel up the Rowley Mile at Newmarket.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the Exceed And Excel filly showed guts aplenty under a superb ride from Oisin Murphy to score by half a length.
The 9-1 winner had to do the hard work on the near side as the 20-strong field split into two groups – and it always looked like being a two-horse battle from the dip.
Tahiyra fell out of the stalls, but made silky-smooth headway under Chris Hayes and the Dermot Weld-trained filly looked the most likely winner a furlong out.
However, on her first start of the season, the Moyglare winner – sent off the 6-4 market leader – just lost out to the battle-hardened Mawj, who had twice won in Meydan over the winter.
The pair were seven and a half lengths clear of Kieran Cotter’s Matilda Picotte, who had helped the set the pace on the far-side group and stuck to her guns gallantly. Caernarfon was fourth at 50-1 for Jack Channonn.
It was a welcome return to the big-race winner’s enclosure for Bin Suroor and his third success in the race following Cape Verdi (1998) and Kazzia (2002), while it was Murphy’s second Classic after Kameko’s 2000 Guineas win in 2020.
Bin Suroor said: “I think this is Group One number 195 around the world.
“The filly was doing well before the race. If you saw her last year she was really tough and strong. She is a tiny filly, but she has a big heart. She is a Group Two winner here and unbeaten in Dubai.
“I spoke to Sheikh Mohammed before we ran her in Dubai over a mile. We tried her over a mile and she did well out in Dubai. I talked to Sheikh Mohammed before we declared her and it was a great decision from him, and the filly won well – we’re happy with her.
“Me and Charlie (Appleby) are a good team and he was with me for a long time before becoming the best trainer now. We’re good friends and have the best horses in the country, maybe even the world in our stables. We will sometimes have luck like with Mawj today, she’s a nice filly.
“We will keep options open and see how she comes out of the race. She’s entered in French Guineas but that is probably too close to this race, but she is also in the Irish Guineas so we will take to Sheikh Mohammed and will make a decision after a week.”
Former champion Murphy – who this season has returned to the saddle following a 14-month riding ban – said: “The sun is beating down, there are lots of people here and she walked round like she was half asleep. When I got on her back I started to believe it could happen.
“I was worried there wasn’t a lot of pace in the race and I rode her a bit like Frankie (Dettori) rode Chaldean yesterday – I set my own fractions on the wing with no cover.
“It really was a very good training performance, she hasn’t run in nearly three months and I got a huge buzz out of that. These are such important races.”