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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Rhododendron in good form as she spearheads Ballydoyle trio

Rhododendron: odds-on to triumph in Oaks
1 of 1

3.35 Newmarket
Qipco 1,000 Guineas | 3yo, 1m | ITV/RUK

Like stablemate Minding, winner of the race a year ago, Rhododendron comes to Newmarket for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas without a prep run and having ended her juvenile campaign with victory in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile.

Aidan O'Brien, who has sent out three winners of the race and saddled the first three home last year, is three-handed with Hydrangea and Winter joining Rhododendron.

A daughter of Galileo and three-time Group 1 winner Halfway To Heaven, Rhododendron heads the market and O'Brien reports her in "good form" for the job in hand.

O'Brien said of Ryan Moore's mount: "We're happy with Rhododendron. It's her first run of the year and she's just ready to start. But we've been happy with what she has been doing at home and the fact that she handled the track so well when she won the Fillies' Mile over the course and distance last year is encouraging."

Two of O'Brien's 1,000 Guineas winners, Virginia Waters in 2005 and Homecoming Queen in 2012, both won Leopardstown's 1,000 Guineas Trial en route to Classic success at Newmarket and Hydrangea, a first British Classic ride for Padraig Beggy, and Winter finished first and second in that Group 3 last month.

Winter (pink) chases home Hydrangea in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown

Hydrangea twice finished second to Rhododendron last season, while Winter, trained last year by David Wachman, was having her first run for Ballydoyle when beaten a head by Hydrangea at Leopardstown.

O'Brien said: "Hydrangea and Winter have both had a run this year. We know Hydrangea gets a mile and she's done well since her race at Leopardstown.

"David Wachman liked Winter and we thought she ran very well in her trial when she was drawn widest of all."

Wayne Lordan, who has ridden Winter in all her four races, is again on board.


Pros Solid form last season, culminating in impressive win in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile over course and distance

Cons Lack of a previous run this season might tell against her


Pros Supported in the market this week and promising first run for stable last month

Cons Has won only a maiden and just behind Hydrangea last time


Pros Battle-hardened, race-fit and ground should not be an issue

Cons No obvious reason why she should finish in front of Rhododendron on Debutante Stakes and Fillies' Mile form

The fact that she handled the track so well when she won the Fillies Mile over the course and distance last year is

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