Quadrilateral finished with a real flourish to maintain her unbeaten record in a thrilling renewal of the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
A winner on her racecourse debut at Newbury in August, the Khalid Abdullah-owned filly doubled up at the Berkshire circuit with a hugely impressive nine-length victory last month – a performance which saw her promoted to ante-post favouritism for next year’s 1000 Guineas.
Those Classic credentials faced a thorough examination on the Rowley Mile, having been supplemented for the Group One contest at a cost of £40,000 earlier in the week.
It will not have been easy viewing for supporters of Roger Charlton’s 9-4 favourite in the middle part of the contest, as jockey Jason Watson was hard at work with over two furlongs still to run.
Despite getting loose in the paddock beforehand, it looked as though the also-supplemented Powerful Breeze would claim her third win from as many starts after quickening smartly to the lead.
However, once switched to the far rail, Quadrilateral – a daughter of Frankel – ate up the ground and powered home to deny Hugo Palmer’s youngster by a head.
Charlton said: “I’ve not really watched the replay. I don’t know if it was two out or even three out that I thought, ‘we’re not running well here. We’re coming off the bridle and it’s not going to happen’, but she kept responding and I thought she did really well to get there.
“I guess the gap was diminishing up the rail a bit, but she fought like a good one and handled the track.
“It was a great effort, really, as it was a proper race today.”
He added: “We don’t gallop the two-year-olds that hard, so when she won first time out she needed the race, but class won it for her.
“She then took us a bit by surprise when she won so easily last time. We didn’t learn that much and we hadn’t done much work since, but today was a proper test.
“The easier option was to go for the Oh So Sharp Stakes. I was a bit of a chicken really. It is not often you get good fillies come along and I thought, ‘hopefully she can win that and keep the dream open for May’, rather than taking on the best.
“But the management encouraged me to run her in this race and result was good.”
Quadrilateral was cut to 5-1 favourite from 10-1 for the 1000 Guineas by Paddy Power, who also make her the 10-1 market leader for the Investec Oaks at Epsom.
Charlton said: “I guess we’ll come back for the Guineas – I see no reason not to come back. I guess we would probably come straight here without a prep run.
“She looks like she might stay further as she didn’t look like a short runner there today.
“I’ve not won a Guineas or a Group One with a two-year-old until now, so she would be the best filly I’ve had.”
Palmer was understandably proud of Powerful Breeze’s performance – and she too is likely to return for the first fillies’ Classic of 2020.
“She has lost precious little in defeat. I think with any May Hill winner that runs in the Fillies’ Mile, you are already thinking of her as a Guineas prospect,” said the Newmarket handler.
“She galloped here three weeks ago and handled the track well, and she certainly handled it better than the winner.
“She ran great. I think she was in front for a very long time, but I don’t think she was in front too soon. You have to play the hand you are dealt.
“Quadrilateral was going nowhere in the dip. Hopefully she learnt to hate Newmarket and will never come again, rather than practice makes perfect!”
Aidan O’Brien’s Love – winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes on her most recent outing – was best of the rest in third.