Magnificent Minding star of O'Brien monopoly in first fillies' Classic of 2016
First published on Monday, May 2, 2016
Aidan O'Brien surpassed the late, great Sir Henry Cecil by winning a tenth Newmarket Classic when Minding led home an amazing 1-2-3 for the stable – and so impressive was the winner that she received quotes as short as 5-2 with a run for the Investec Derby.
Paddy Power offered 3-1 with the same proviso and only Sky Bet, at 11-10, were prepared to offer odds against about her winning the Investec Oaks.
Ryan Moore did not have to break sweat to score by three and a half lengths on last year's Fillies' Mile winner, who raced prominently throughout and had the race in the bag at the Bushes.
Minding was chased home by Ballydoyle, who was last early on, and Alice Springs – just as she had been in last year's Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. All three fillies are by Galileo.
The success was a landmark 250th at Group 1 level for O'Brien, who was not ruling out a Derby bid for Minding.
It was the first time the County Tipperary trainer had saddled the first three in a British Classic – it was only the fifth time the feat had been accomplished – although he has managed it a few times in his homeland, most recently when Australia eclipsed stablemates Kingfisher and Orchestra in the 2014 Irish Derby.
O'Brien was a relieved man as this triumph came 24 hours after odds-on Air Force Blue had run inexplicably badly in the 2,000 Guineas, finishing 12th of 13.
"That was incredible really, especially after yesterday, and they are three great fillies," said the trainer.
"I can't believe Minding has won by three and a half lengths, but Ryan was very confident all the way and he had her in a very safe position on the pace. We knew she'd stay and she galloped all the way to the line.
"It was a very good Guineas as there were more Group 1 winners in there than I can remember and it was a great performance to win as she did. It's a team effort and a lot of hard work goes into preparing these horses at home."
He continued: "Minding won the Moyglare before coming here so she was always high class, and her mum [Lillie Langtry] and dad have been good friends of ours for a long time now. She's a pure homebred so she's very exciting."
The vibes for Minding at the beginning of the week were even stronger than for Air Force Blue but, unlike with the colt, punters who followed them never had an anxious moment.
One of those around the table mulling the Derby dilemma will be part-owner Michael Tabor, who said: "I'm a purist and I don't like winning the Derby with a filly, but it depends on how the others do in the trials.
“Next week it’s Chester and then there’s the Derrinstown. Only then do you make your decision. But how bad is it to win an Oaks? It’s a high-class problem and a good one to have.”
He added: “It’s nice to run 1-2-3 in the 1,000 Guineas and perhaps we can look at t he French Guineas. We haven’t discussed it, but where we go with them is a terrific problem to have.”
Ryan Moore was winning the Classic for the third time, having scored on Legatissimo 12 months ago, and the last jockey to land back-to-back victories in the race was Walter Swinburn in 1993.
Moore said: “She travelled well throughout the race and the result was never in any doubt. She’s as good a filly as I’ve sat on and would stay if she ran against the colts at Epsom.”
Without being labelled an unlucky loser, Ballydoyle deserves extra credit for coming from nearly last to finish runner-up, half a length in front of Alice Springs.
O’Brien said: “Ballydoyle fell out of the stalls so did well to finish where she did.
“We could have a look at the Irish 1,000 Guineas with her, while we might send Alice Springs over to France in a fortnight’s time.”
On his number one jockey, who has now ridden seven Classic winners, O’Brien was hugely complimentary.
“Ryan is a total professional. He’s the ultimate professional in everything he does and he leaves no stone unturned,” he said. “We’re privileged and delighted to have him as part of our team.”
A sentiment, you suspect, that wou ld also be a pp lied to marvellous Minding.
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