Group 1 races are the highest echelon of racing, the summit that everyone is trying to reach. That means they are the hardest races to win, attracting the best of the best. Group 1 sprints are rarely won by a wide margin, 5f Group 1’s are almost never won by a wide margin. The Prix De L’Abbaye is almost certainly finishing in a bunch with little separating most of those towards the front. The Longchamp sprint is one of the fastest 5f in world racing but Glass Slippers dominated the Group 1, routing her rivals to win by an easy 3 lengths.
Glass Slippers started the season off over 7f seeing if a classic run could be on the cards but has developed into an electric sprinter. The story of 2019 has been one of steady progression throughout the year before suddenly bursting out and announcing she was very smart. Having run well over 6f, placing in listed and group 3 company, Glass Slippers travelled over to France for the first time. The 6f Listed race at Deauville was a 3yr old contest that provided the support to the Prix Maurice De Gheest. Making all, Glass Slippers proved to be very tough repelling a constant challenge and taking a first pattern success by just a short head. This win was fantastic as now Glass Slippers had that all important black type victory to her name but it would actually just be the start of something special.
It was back across the channel for the next run as the Dream Ahead filly tackled 5f. The race was a step up in grade as the Group 3 contest was the trial for the Prix De L’Abbaye. Glass Slippers had to improve again as she was taking on a stronger field again. After missing the break slightly she was shuffled all the way to the back of the field. Having been outpaced through the first half of the race, Glass Slippers began to make headway 2f from home before suddenly showing an electric turn of foot to come swooping down the outside and grabbing the win in the dying strides. Another fantastic win on the resume and another vital tick in the box for her future breeding.
Evidently in the form of her life it seemed like a simple decision to take on the challenge of Group 1 company. She was thriving, had won the trial for the race and was bouncing at home so the decision was made to head to France’s biggest meeting, The Arc, and take on the very best 5f sprinters around. This would prove to be the very sternest of tests for Glass Slippers with the superstars Battash, Mabs Cross and Fairyland all lining up then a supporting cast of Soldier’s Call, Invincible Army and Spinning Memories. This was one of the best line ups for the race in recent memory and was a mouth watering encounter.
Tom Eaves has struck up a great relationship with the filly and travelled over to take the ride once again. Recent weather had seen the ground turn very soft and this was a bit of an unknown for Glass Slippers. The last time she had raced on it was Newbury and the filly had not enjoyed it at all. There was confidence thought that she would be doing her best work late on and so the testing going could see her get involved with her turn of foot. The race revolved around Battash, the superstar who had smashed Dayjur’s record at York in the Nunthorpe. The line up would attract 16 runners and would be over in the blink of an eye.
Tom went into the contest with very little instruction. Having been outpaced last time out he just needed to let his filly race in her comfort zone, wherever that may be. What was to happen next surprised everyone. Drawn in stall 3 she was positioned close to some very fast horses. Away on terms, Glass Slippers was quickly into stride and immediately showed plenty of early pace. El Astronaute had been drawn alongside the filly and is an extremely fast horse. The gelding took overall control and lead the field through the first furlong but Glass Slippers moved through to chase and sit in second place. This was all the filly and she looked very comfortable going the gallop.
The next furlong saw Glass Slippers move closer to the lead as the 3yo was showing electric speed. They were not hanging around with Battash sat menacingly just behind the leaders. Glass Slippers was travelling beautifully and looked to be enjoying the conditions. She was going that well that Tom suddenly found himself taking on El Astronaute for the lead but only for a moment because Glass Slippers then took up the running well over 3f from home. This was certainly not expected but Tom felt she was in her comfort zone and let Glass Slippers stride on, leading one of the fastest races worldwide.
As they reached the halfway point the race was starting to take shape. Glass Slippers had made her way to the front and Tom was going to try and utilise this advantage. the only problem was that Battash had inched closer, dangerously stalking the pace. Alongside him was Invincible Army who was just 3/4 length down on Glass Slippers. Tom now shook his mount up and decided that he had to go for home. What he had underneath was a very tough and genuine filly so Tom asked her to put these attributes to the fore. If they were going to go down then it would be on their terms.
Nothing had got to Glass Slippers yet as they moved into the final couple of furlongs. Tom only had eyes for the winning post but everyone else watching were fixated on Battash. Suddenly the superstar, who had moved through sweetly, came under pressure and then serious pressure. El Astronaute was still on the scene and Invincible Army was sticking to the task but it was Glass Slippers who began to assert. As the filly stuck her head down she started to pull away. The narrow lead began to increase and Glass Slippers opened up into a length advantage. Battash began to back pedal and was beaten but the race was now revolving around Glass Slippers. She was foreign clear for Tom and nothing had an answer.
Having kicked clear Glass Slippers entered the final furlong with a 1 1/2 length advantage the run to home was going to really test the filly who had made most of the running. As her rivals were trying to close Glass Slippers just continued to surge forward. The advantage grew with every stride and Glass Slippers pulled further and further clear. There was no stopping the 3yo filly as she kicked clear into a huge 4 length lead, leaving some of the best sprinters toiling in her wake. The Prix De L’Abbaye doesn’t get won in this fashion but Tom had the opportunity to ease up on his mount close to the line. Glass Slippers had demolished the Group 1 field to win by an impressive 3 lengths and lay down one of the best sprinting performances seen this season.
Glass Slippers has reached the highest echelon in racing and done so in emphatic fashion. If everyone is honest there is nobody who could have envisaged the race going like this. The filly is thriving and has really come to life in the last few months taking her form to unbelievable levels. There was confidence that she could get involved in the finish but when you saw how strong the line up was, connection were under no illusion that she would have to find more improvement to challenge. Glass Slippers has found that in spades and won like a high quality sprinter. The 3yo filly has the world at her feet now and will look to build on her Group 1 exploits next year. The Breeder’s Cup sprint was an obvious option next but Glass Slippers deserves a nice break now and will be finished until 2020. The plan looks quite clear with the Group 1’s mapped out nicely for her. The young filly has proven herself but with another year she could improve once again and that would be very exciting for all involved.