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Curragh

  • 15:55 Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas 1m

  • (Fillies' Group 1) €299,999 added 3yo 15 ran
  • Winner €173,999 2nd €56,999 3rd €27,000 4th €9,000
  • Going: Good to Firm
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 1m 39.37s
  • Off time: 15:57:35

Just The Judge gained Classic compensation for her narrow defeat at Newmarket when taking the Irish 1000 Guineas.

Last Updated: 26/05/13 5:35pm

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Just The Judge: Next stop Royal Ascot

Just The Judge: Next stop Royal Ascot

Just The Judge gave young trainer Charlie Hills his first Classic with a smooth success in the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The filly had gone agonisingly close when runner-up to Sky Lantern in the Newmarket version four weeks ago, but duly made amends in Irish soil.

Sent off the 2/1 favourite, the strong-travelling Just The Judge scored in the hands of Jamie Spencer from the fast-finishing Rehn's Nest (40/1), with Just Pretending (14/1) third and Big Break just behind in fourth.

Spencer had Just The Judge smartly away from her handy two stall and was always prominent as the Elaine Burke-trained Exactement made the running, with What Style close up.

While Just The Judge was in the prime position, one of her main market rivals, Big Break, had to overcome a wide draw.

She tried to lay it down to the favourite and looked like playing a major role, but could not quite keep up the pace and Just The Judge pulled away in the final furlong.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Just Pretending held every chance, but was worried out of second place by a head close home by Jim Bolger's outsider Rehn's Nest, who got the runner-up spot a length and a half behind the winner.

Hills only took over the licence in August 2011 from his father Barry, who won this race twice with Nicer in 1993 and Hula Angel in 1999.

Now it was his son's turn and he was enjoying the moment.

"It feels pretty good. It's more relief at the moment but I'm sure I'll wake up in the middle of the night thinking it's great," he said.

"Jamie never really had to pick the stick up to her and he gave her a beautiful ride.

He was in the right position and produced her at the right time.

"It was a big decision to come here and I'm glad we did.

"As long as she's okay she'll go for the Coronation - it's 26 days away so that's perfect timing."

Spencer, who won the race as a teenager on Tarascon in 1998, said: "She's a smart filly. I probably got rolling a little bit early at Newmarket. We went steady and it can be tricky there for a big filly like her.

"I was out in plenty of time today too. She's a filly with a long stride and you don't want to be breaking her stride. I'm sure she'd get 10 furlongs standing on her head.

"She travels well but she doesn't have an instant kick. When you let her down she stretches really well.

"It would have been nice to win at Newmarket, but I'm sure Sheikh Fahad will be happy to win here.

"I'm very pleased to be riding the horses for him. He's extremely enthusiastic and racing needs people like him.

"He knows all about it. He was very keen for the filly to come here. In fact he was instrumental in it - I was keen to wait for Ascot but that shows you what I know.

"She's won her Classic now - she's done her job and hopefully she'll have a good second half to the season.

"She's out of a Rainbow Quest mare so there's plenty of stamina on her dam side, but you'd have to think the Coronation will be next. We'll leave that to Charlie. I'm sure Barry Hills will have something to say as well."

It was a first Classic triumph for owners Qatar Racing, whose head Sheikh Fahad al Thani said: "We said we would come here after Newmarket. She did not see the other filly there but today she showed what she is.

"The filly is much better in her coat now. Hopefully she will only improve.

"If she comes out of the race well then it will be Royal Ascot next. The Coronation is the plan.

"This is our first proper season with Qatar Racing. It is the first Classic for me and my brothers. I think it's a good start."

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