Special Duty, owned by Khalid Abdulla of Saudi Arabia, was awarded the 1,000 Guineas in the Newmarket stewards' room yesterday even though Jacqueline Quest was first past the post. The pair pulled clear on the stands side as the field split into two groups, but it was Henry Cecil's Jacqueline Quest, who prevailed by the narrowest of margins. However, a stewards' inquiry was called after the filly drifted into the middle of the track, taking Special Duty, ridden by Stephane Pasquier, with her.
After around 10 minutes, the stewards declared that the favourite had been awarded the race, to give Criquette Head-Maarek, the trainer, a fourth success in the fillies' Classic. Special Duty was drawn in stall one, with Jacqueline Quest in stall four, and those drawn low had a discernable advantage. Jacqueline Quest hit the front two furlongs out, but the favourite made eye-catching progress and gained a slender margin inside the final 100 yards - only to lose out by a nose.
However, the winner drifted markedly from a straight line and the placings were reversed because the winning margin was so narrow. It was another disappointing showing from the UAE horses. Sheikh Hamdan's Rumoush was the best finisher, in seventh, while his other horse, Habaayib, finished eighth. Hibaayib, the Godolphin horse ridden by Frankie Dettori, was a disappointing 13th and Misheer, the three-year-old owned by the Saaed Manana, was last.
Meanwhile, Mark Johnston will hold a debrief with Sheikh Hamdan as they seek to explain Awzaan's disappointing effort in the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. The Alhaarth colt was one of the leading fancies for the Rowley Mile Classic following an unbeaten juvenile campaign but trailed home 15th of the 19 runners. * With agencies