Winter set to retire as Roly Poly is given fresh Group 1 target
Dual Classic winner Winter, one of the principal performers in Aidan O'Brien's ground-breaking campaign, is set to be retired at the age of three.
Having contributed four of O'Brien's world-record haul of 27 Group 1 victories in 2017, including the Newmarket and Curragh 1,000 Guineas double, the grey daughter of Galileo is likely to make the short journey down the road from Ballydoyle to Coolmore Stud.
O'Brien revealed to the Racing Post on Tuesday: "I think Winter has done enough to head on to her next career and she'll probably go off to stud for next year. We're looking forward to her foals."
Wayne Lordan, who partnered Winter to win his first ever Classic at Newmarket when the daugher of Laddies Poker Two landed the 1,000 Guineas, paid tribute to the former David Wachman-trained filly.
He said: "She was a very tough and genuine filly. She stepped forward from each run throughout the year and to win four Group 1s is a great achievement.
"It was a special day in Newmarket and one I won't forget."
Having steered her to success in a Dundalk maiden as a juvenile, Lordan believes that Winter's physical progression from her juvenile career was the making of the star three-year-old.
He explained: "She always had showed that she had talent, but from her two-year-old to three-year-old campaigns she strengthened up into a fine, big, powerful filly. She really filled out into that big frame.
"It's a obviously a good thing to be by Galileo, who is siring true racehorses and broodmares, and there should plenty to look forward to with her offspring."
Ballydoyle have had no shortage of flying fillies in the Classic generation this year and O'Brien provided an update on the futures of three more Group 1-winning stars.
"Roly Poly could head to Hong Kong next for the Mile and retire after that," he said. That race is at Sha Tin on December 10.
"Hydrangea and Rhododendron might stay in training but all those things haven't been written in stone."
Roly Poly could be joined on the trip to Hong Kong by seasoned globetrotter Highland Reel, who appears to be on target for the Hong Kong Vase. He won that race in 2015 and was runner-up last year.
O'Brien said: "Highland Reel seems to be fine after America and the plan is to run in Hong Kong."
Highland Reel's brother Idaho looks set to start in Sunday's Japan Cup, with O'Brien anxious that the four-year-old puts his best foot forward on his travels.
He explained: "The mile and a half seems fine for Idaho but his form just hasn't been as good when he travels and we're hoping he'll be better this time. We'd like him to bring his Irish/English form with him."