Cinderella Stories: Four fairy-tale fillies of 2016

Thoroughbred racing may be dubbed the sport of kings but owning a racehorse is not just for those who move in high social circles.

Throughout the season we’ve witnessed horses who’ve cost very little go on to achieve feats normally reserved for the blue blooded. We run through our top four underdogs – all of which are fillies –  of 2016 who have proved the investments of a lifetime.

1. Quiet Reflection – 44,000 Guineas 

Quiet Reflection GBR article

Purchased by the appropriately named Ontoawinner syndicate; the three-year-old mare trained by Karl Burke has netted over £625,000 in her short career so far, establishing herself as one of the elite sprinters of the season.

Victory in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot was followed up with a fine third place in the Darley July Cup, before she confirmed her position at the top table with a comprehensive win in soft conditions in the Group One 32Red Sprint at Haydock.

With Burke recently confirming that she stays in training next season, this particular Cinderella story could be set to turn into even more of a fairy tale.

2. Meccas Angel – 16,000 Guineas

Angel GBR2

One of the fastest fillies to have ever stepped foot on turf, she provides perfect proof that you don’t have to spend big to win big.

2016 saw her join a very elite club in becoming a dual winner of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. In landing the Group One she came within inches of breaking Dayjur’s longstanding five furlong track record on the Knavesmire and established herself as the leading short course specialist of 2016.

Throughout her career she’s amassed an eye-watering £678,000.

3. Jet Setting – 12,000 Guineas

Sold to the Equinegrowthpartners syndicate and into the hands of trainer Adrian Keatly after a winless two-year-old campaign with Richard Hannon, the daughter of Fast Company became a fairy-tale to give all racing owners dreams.

Following a maiden victory at Cork, she put in a devastating front-running display at Leopardstown to win the Irish 1000 Guineas trial by three lengths. A lowly finish in the 1000 Guineas on ground too quick for her at Newmarket was then put to bed with a staggering reversal of Minding back on soft ground at her favourite Leopardstown.

The win saw her thrust into the spotlight and subsequently bought by the China Horse Club for a sum of £1.3m; over 100 times what her previous owners had forked out for her a few months earlier. 

4. Mrs Danvers – 1,000 Guineas

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Despite being unsold at the sales in February, the speedy filly has gone on to perhaps be the greatest underdog story of this season so far.

Jonathan Portman’s filly got off the mark first time out with an impressive win in a Lingfield maiden at unfancied odds of 33/1. From thereon she’s continued on a steep upward curve, notably landing the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint on her third start in gutsy style to place herself at the forefront of the juvenile sprinting division.  

Her final run of 2016 saw her win the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes and take her earnings for the season to over £150,000 in prize-money.