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'She's always looked a class filly' - Roger Varian after Eshaada plot succeeds

Eshaada: narrow winner of the Fillies & Mares Stakes
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Eshaada bounced back to the form of her narrow defeat at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, executing a plan hatched in the height of summer by winning trainer Roger Varian and her owner-breeders at Shadwell. 

A close second in the Ribblesdale Stakes in June, Eshaada was beaten 37 lengths on her next start in the Yorkshire Oaks but Varian never lost faith, deciding to sit tight and wait for easier ground on Champions Day.

Despite a dry build-up, a morning shower meant conditions were ideal for Eshaada, who settled down to battle it out with Albaflora from the home turn and emerged on top in a photo-finish.


Watch Eshaada win the Filles and Mares race


Varian said: "Her only poor performance was at York and the Ribblesdale form worked out very well. She loves cut in the ground, she's got track form and has always looked a class filly.

"After York we discussed what we'd do. There were options between York and this race but we said: 'Let's wait'. She likes cut in the ground, so it was a team decision made in the immediate aftermath of the York race and it's always nice when a plan comes together."

Roger Varian: "We'd love to have her around for another year"

Varian added: "I thought she was a touch overpriced coming into the race but we were happy with her condition. She had to be very tough in the final two furlongs and really stuck her neck out.

"We'd love to have her around for another year. She's a great, big scopey filly, she's lightly raced and you'd like to think her best days are ahead of her."

Despite being narrowly touched off in second, trainer Ralph Beckett was rightly proud of the performance of Albaflora, who gave her all under Rossa Ryan.

"She went out on her shield didn’t she?" said Beckett. "The jockey felt she got upsides and the camera angles looked like she did, but I’m not sure she ever got in front. It was just a very good horse race and we have no excuses, we were beaten by a better filly on the day.

"Ms Rausing likes to race her horses and has three sisters at home, so we’ll see what we do, but it would make sense to keep going with her."

Dual Oaks winner Snowfall,  the 8-11 favourite, could manage only third as she made a quick reappearance after finishing sixth in the Arc 13 days earlier.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "She ran an okay race but you'd be disappointed she didn't win. Ryan [Moore] said he'd have preferred the pace to have been a little stronger early on, but there you go."

O'Brien said discussions on Snowfall's future had yet to take place, with no decision as yet as to whether she would race on at four.


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After York we discussed what we'd do. There were options between York and this race, but we said, 'Let's wait'
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