The Top Ten 3-Year-Old Flat Racing Horses To Follow In 2017 (Fillies)

Which 3-year-old fillies can get the job done, in the coming campaign? With the 1,000 Guineas not too far away, let’s take a look at the female horses that are holding the strongest CV’s…

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#1 Rhododendron

It will come as little surprise that the most promising 3-year-old filly is schooled by Aidan O’Brien, or that she is yet another to have been sired by the great Galileo. She won 2nd time out, at Goodwood, before defeating stablemate Hydrangea by just a head in the Debutante Stakes (Rehana and Brave Anna were also well-beaten).

She then took a surprise backwards step, allowing Hydrangea to reverse that form with her in the Moyglare Stud Stakes which was won by Intricately. She regained the upper-hand on Hydrangea, in the Fillies Mile at Headquarters.

Rhododendron’s form is by no means impeccable and the fact she sits at the top of our list says a great deal about the most-impressive 2-year-old fillies of 2016. Few will remember them as a vintage crop, but that doesn’t mean that none will emerge as truly elite 3-year-olds. Aidan O’Brien was measured, in his praise of Rhododendron, following the win at Newmarket:

“Ryan was very happy. She settled lovely. Seamie (Heffernan, Hydrangea’s jockey) went a sensible pace. Both fillies know each other well.

“We were a little bit confused with her (Rhododendron’s) Moyglare run. We thought she was a little bit better than the other filly (Hydrangea).

“We thought she would like to go up to a mile, which she did. They’re two very high-class fillies and we knew they were progressing. That might be it for the year, but the lads will talk about that and see what they want to do.

“Both fillies are in a good place at the moment, so it (Breeders’ Cup) is an option if the lads want to do that. She is out of Halfway To Heaven and she got a mile and a quarter well and is by Galileo so she does have options. Looking at that, I’d say she would have no problems starting off in a Guineas.”


#2 Wuheida

Charlie Appleby’s Dubawi-sired chestnut is out of a dam called Hibaayeb (Singspiel) and she beat the talented Spatial by over a length, on debut at Newmarket.

That was her only performance on English soil and she was then sent to Chantilly for the Prix Marcel Boussac. The 2 previous winners of this G1 French encounter were Ballydoyle and Found, so Wuheida’s victory in this race should put punters on alert.

“It’s great for Godolphin and the team,” said Appleby. “She’s a homebred as well, so that’s really exciting for the boss and Dubawi’s first Group 1 winner as a two-year-old too, so that’s a nice feather in the cap. We were always going to be positive.

“She’s a filly we knew would appreciate stepping up from seven furlongs and she’s a filly with a bright future stepping up even further next year.”

Fair Eva

#3 Fair Eva

One of the big stories, throughout 2016, was the emergence of Frankel’s first offspring and Fair Eva looked as good as any of them. She won impressively, on debut at Haydock, before fully justifying odds-on status in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot.

Connections might well have expected a little more from her, following that brace of smart victories. Fair Eva finished 3rd in the Lowther Stakes and runner-up in the Rockfel Stakes. She was given every chance of winning both encounters, but Roger Charlton remained bullish when asked about her prospects at the start of this year:

“Fair Eva has done very well and looks very well. She has grown a lot and put weight on,” he said. “She is a bigger filly than this time last year. We will see how she goes in the spring, but hopefully she might be a Guineas filly.”

Aidan O Brien Phone

#4 Hydrangea

Aidan O’Brien allowed this Galileo-sired filly to tangle aplenty with stablemate Rhododendron (see above) and she acquitted herself well. Failure to win any of her 4 Group contests is a concern though, despite runners-up honours being secured in 3 of them.

She was sent across the channel, for the Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but (along with several other European raiders) didn’t particularly impress the American spectators.

Hydrangea clearly has a lot of class, but some already foresee her future career as always being in the shadow of Rhododendron’s – similar to the situation with Ballydoyle and Minding, although both of those horses began their Classic campaigns looking significantly better.

Roly Poly

#5 Roly Poly

Yet another that’s trained by Aidan O’Brien, although this one was sired by War Front. After winning her first race, she struggled in both the Marble Hill Stakes and the Queen Mary Stakes. Roly Poly then just about got-up to beat Seafront in G3 company at the Curragh.

She began to find her stride and followed-up with an impressive victory, in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes. Good performances in both the Lowther Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes sets her up very-nicely for the coming campaign.

O’Brien conceded that taking her to Santa Anita was perhaps a bridge too far:

“With Roly Poly, she’s probably done plenty for this season. She had a good early position, but showed me that she needs a bit of a break now.

“It was a similar story with Hydrangea, who has had a busy year, and again, needs a bit of time after this.

“They are two fillies that haven’t won a Group One and we let them come here to give them their chance to win one of those.”


#6 Coronet

John Gosden is entitled to blow his own trumpet, over this exciting Dubawi-sired grey. She’s out of Approach who is also the mother of Midas Touch (A G2 Champion who also finished runner-up in both the Irish Derby and the St Leger).

She was horribly green, on debut at Leicester, yet still beat off the challenge of Alwaysandforever. Coronet hit trouble in-running, during the Zetland Stakes, but again she found a way to win.

She’s a raw talent, who Gosden is likely to have paid special attention to over the Winter. After the Zetland, he made it quite clear where his priorities lie with her:

“Coronet will be put in the Oaks and I’d have thought the logical target would be the Musidora. I wouldn’t dream of running her again this season, she’s done everything asked of her. She’ll come back in May and we’ll see where we are.”

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Crimson Rock

#7 Crimson Rock

Ralph Beckett’s superbly-bred inmate only had one outing, as a 2-year-old, but she gave connections just what they were hoping for.

Crimson Rock is a half-sister (on the dam’s side) to Peeping Fawn, a horse that lit-up the 2007 campaign with victories in the Pretty Polly Stakes, the Irish Oaks, the Nassau Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks.

Crimson Rock is by Fastnet Rock and while her win by a neck over Elas Ruby could not really be described as cosy, it was a very-encouraging start for a horse that much is expected from. Following the win, Beckett commented:

“We were delighted with Crimson Rock. She was purchased to be a broodmare and has now won first time out, which is great. She appreciated the cut in the ground but had to do it the hard way because she was racing away from the other two fillies.”

If this filly lives up to her pedigree, Beckett will be painting the town red this year!

Poet's Vanity

#8 Poet’s Vanity

Out of Vanity and sired by Poet’s Voice, Andrew Balding’s bay was a well-beaten 4th on debut but that Headquarters baptism (which also featured winner Wuheida and Spatial) was certainly one of fire.

She then humiliated William Haggas’ Contentment, by 10 lengths at Salisbury, before finishing the season off with victory in a competitive renewal of the Oh So Sharp Stakes. Balding immediately voiced his Guineas hopes:

“She did that very professionally and you’d have to be thinking in terms of that race [1,000 Guineas] after that. I wouldn’t mind if she went straight for the race.”.

Lady Aurelia

#9 Lady Aurelia

The Scat Daddy-sired American filly certainly caused a stir, in June, winning the Queen Mary Stakes by an almost vulgar margin that had old hands exchanging old-fashioned looks at Ascot.

However, she did follow this up with a narrow victory in the Morny at Deauville. Wesley Ward then sent her back to Blighty, where she was beaten by both Brave Anna and Roly Poly in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Before the race, the trainer sounded optimistic::

“Lady Aurelia worked great on the Rowley Mile the day before yesterday and is ready to run her best-ever race.”

How she performs, as a 3-year-old, is anybody’s guess.

Brave Anna

#10 Brave Anna

She won 2nd time out at the Curragh, before landing the spoils in the Albany Stakes at Ascot. Had Bletchley not dwelt, it could well have been a different story but the win still indicated that Aidan O’Brien had another top-class young filly on his books.

However, she disappointed in both the Debutante Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes back in Ireland and connections must have had doubts about her ability to compete in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Headquarters. Despite going-off at odds of 25/1, Brave Anna triumphed.

“She had a good break after Ascot and maybe she got a little bit tired in the Moyglare at the Curragh, but she came home very well.”, said O’Brien afterwards.

For many seasoned-observers, the race captured the whole campaign for 2-year-old fillies. It threw-up more questions than answers and when the season drew to its close few could confidently name the filly most-likely to dominate in 2017.

Roll-on Sunday May 7th and the 1,000 Guineas!

Now Read About The Top Ten 3-Year-Old Flat Racing Horses To Follow In 2017 (Colts)

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