Newmarket’s sole Group 1 contest on Friday is a competitive looking Fillies’ Mile. Only two-year-old fillies are eligible and from the 12 declared it’s Happily who narrowly heads the betting with several strong contenders close behind.

The race dates back to 1973 where it was originally held at Ascot. It was only in 2011 that it was transferred to its current home of Newmarket. Previously it has been scheduled to take place during the Cambridgeshire Festival but it now stands as one of the main events of the two day Future Champions Festival.

Race Analysis

Aidan O’Brien has enjoyed his time in this race lately, saddling three of the last four winners. He has the three favourites this year so he seems very keen to improve his streak and grab a sizeable share of the big £567,500 prize money.

A recent run out is important coming into this race as former winners never had month than a month off before claiming victory here. A win last time out is far from a must, although fillies who have enjoyed Group or Listed success at some point tend to fair much better than those without.

Real shocks have seldom been seen in this race with all winners but one since 1999 priced 8/1 or lower. The only exception was Chriselliam in 2013 who gave Charles Hill an unexpected 28/1 victory.

Betting Tips

O’Brien’s leading entry is Happily (9/4, Bet365) who approaches this race on the back of two fine Group 1 victories. The first saw her edge out stablemate Magical during a muddy afternoon at the Curragh while the most recent marked her first victory over one mile. She faces firmer conditions at Newmarket this time with the going expected to be good but there’s no reason she can’t carry her form across. Her only previously start on good going saw her demolish a small field at Leopardstown. That day she finished five lengths clear of Shalailah having only beaten her by one and three quarter lengths on yielding ground the month prior.

Magical (4/1, Betfred) was able to push Happily to the limits when they last met but the firmer ground should give the advantage to the race favourite. Magical was the 2/5 favourite for a one mile contest on good to yielding at Cork in August but could only find enough to win by a head.

She didn’t perform as well as expected on her last start either when finishing fourth in a field of seven at Chantilly. O’Brien’s remaining entry, September, should enjoy the good going more than Magical but she’s been soundly beaten by both her stablemates recently and hasn’t show enough quality to make her worth backing at 6/1 with Betfair.

All of the last 10 winners of this race had made at least two starts prior to this contest and this trend reduces the appeal of 8/1 (Bet365) shot Magic Lilly. Although it’s wonderful preparation that her only outing to date was an emphatic course and distance victory only so much can be taken from a Class 4 win. With no evidence of what she can do among stronger runners, she’s a very risky option. There is less uncertainty surrounding Laurens who claimed a gritty Group 2 win at Doncaster last month. Karl Burke’s filly looks suited to both the distance and the ground, making her a tempting each way bet at 12/1 with Betfair.