HE has been knocking on the classics door for more years than he probably cares to remember but perhaps one is finally about to open for Jeff Smith.

The chairman of Salisbury racecourse, who has owned horses for more than 40 years, has a leading hope in Sunday's 1,000 Guineas with Alcohol Free.

The No Nay Never filly, a best priced 11/2 shot in the ante post market, entered calculations when taking the prestigious Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in late September, repelling a series of challengers to win by half a length to earn a rating of 112 and earning her the rank of the fourth best filly of the season.

The Irish bred filly, a £40,000 foal purchase by his stud manager David Bowe, showed she had trained on by tenaciously winning the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury this month, naturally delighting - and surprising - connections in the process.

"We were absolutely ecstatic," he said. "Andrew Balding, who trains her, had forewarned me it would be a hell of a performance to get into the first three because she had not come into her coat and had not done much work. She had been slow to come to hand. Nature's nature and you cannot rush these things. She will definitely come on for that."

The ground at Newmarket is riding on the firm side of good which Smith says will not worry her.

"She will be fine on the ground. We will leave it to Oisin Murphy how to ride her. He knows her well and as champion jockey knows much better than me how to do it! We will leave it to him."

Smith, who has seen several of his horses placed in various classics since Chief Singer nearly pulled off a mammoth upset in the 1983 2,000 Guineas as a 100/1 shot, will be watching from the comfort of his armchair at his home near Winchester with "fingers crossed and the prayer mats out," as he detests the soulless atmosphere of an empty racecourse because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So how confident is he?

"You can never be that in a classic," he said. "But we have got to be hopeful."

Smith has a second runner in the race with the maiden Seattle Rock. The Sylvester Kirk trained Fastnet Rock filly has run six times without bothering the judge but Smith maintains she is no forlorn hope, despite being well beaten in her seasonal reappearance race, the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

"She's much better than that and we are not running her for the sake of it," he stressed. "She's in great form. "