It is rare that two-year-old fillies will take on the colts in a Group 1 contest, especially when there's a fillies-only equivalent of the race, but the Aidan O'Brien-trained Happily bucked the trend when beating Olmedo and Masar in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) over a mile on soft ground at Chantilly recently.
She stayed on well, hit the front inside the final half-furlong, and landed the spoils by one and quarter lengths and a short-neck. It was her second top-level win in the space of a three weeks, having short-headed her stable companion Magical in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh.
Three weeks before that again, she had finished a one and quarter-length runner-up to Magical in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, also at the Curragh, and that came a similar amount of time after she had trounced her rivals by five lengths and more in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.
In all, Happily has a record of four wins and one second from six starts, with her only time out of the frame being when well-beaten behind her stable companion September on their debut in early June.
She was due to run in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket – a race in which Laurens pipped September by a nose – but missed the engagement due to a temperature. Her final outing of the season could come at Del Mar as she is engaged in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, also over a mile.
Happily was bred by Orpendale and Chelston Ireland, she is a daughter of Coolmore Stud's great stallion Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and she is the fifth foal out of the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes winner You'resothrilling (by Storm Cat).
That mare is only 12 but already she established herself as one of the world's elite broodmares. She is a full-sister to the famously tough six-time Group 1 star and multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway – which always gave her the potential to make an impact – and her juvenile star is her third Group 1 winner.
Indeed, all five of her foals of racing age have been Group 1 performers, which is remarkable, and they are all by Galileo.
Marvellous won the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas; popular young Coolmore stallion Gleneagles took the Group 1 National Stakes, Group 1 2000 Guineas, Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes; Coolmore won the Group 3 C L & M F Weld Park Stakes and finished third in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational; and Taj Majal, who is awaiting his first blacktype success, was runner-up in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August.
In addition to Giant's Causeway, the mare's siblings also include Group 2 Cork and Orrery Stakes third and leading New York-based stallion Freud (by Storm Cat), several other blacktype performers and sires, and two fillies who have each made a notable contribution at stud.
Love Me Only (by Sadler's Wells) is the dam of Storm The Stars (by Sea The Stars), the dual Derby-placed Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes winner who also made the frame in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris.
Pearling, on the other hand, is a full-sister to You'resothrilling and her star son is the Timeform 126-rated Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and Group 1 Jebel Hatta hero Decorated Knight (by Galileo).
They are all out of the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 winner Mariah's Storm (by Rahy) – a daughter of Grade 3 scorer Immense (by Roberto) – and the half-sister to Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt winner and Grade 1 Rothman's International Stakes runner-up Panoramic (by Rainbow Quest) can rightfully be considered to be one of the most influential mares of the modern era.
Happily is one of the best of her age group – rated 116p by Timeform – and there is every reason to hope that she can continue at the top in 2018. The Guineas races look like obvious targets. Whether or not she will stay 12 furlongs remains to be seen – it is entirely possible – but 10 furlongs looks all but guaranteed given her family connections.