Yet another Classic success came Galileo’s way at the Curragh on Sunday when the rapidly improving blue-blood Great Heavens (3f Galileo-Magnificient Style, by Silver Hawk) battled hard to win the G1 Irish Oaks.
Trainer John Gosden sent Lady Rothschild’s filly to Ireland on the back of a runaway success in the G2 Lancashire Oaks on her previous start and she took the step up in class in her stride as she gamely fought off the G1 Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star.
“She got boxed in and with the draw on the inside it was never the intention to stay there,” Gosden told PA Sport. “She showed a lot of class and a lot of courage – the ground is very holding so it’s not easy to pick up on that. I’d nearly given up hope at the two-furlong marker.
“I didn’t think we’d get out, but she’s got a lot of ability. She’s classy. She had to be asked a really big question in the last furlong and she went an opened up three lengths on the field, so I think it says a lot about her.
“She’s actually put weight on between her races. She’s one of those rare ones that seems to eat and do better – she’s got a good temperament. It’s not easy with this weather. She’ll be freshened up now and then she’ll be in races like the G1 Yorkshire Oaks and she could also have an entry in the G1 St Leger.
“There’s no reason that a filly of her class couldn’t do something like that – someone has got to take on Camelot.”
Jockey William Buick added: “What a filly. It got a bit tricky halfway there and I was kind of cursing myself at one stage. She was the best horse by far in the race. She picks up and she quickens.
“She’s a very good filly and I think people have underestimated her. It was a good training performance by John Gosden. She didn’t really come to hand early in the season and he’s just given her time and confidence and picked up nice races in between. She came here with her confidence sky high.”
Great Heavens is a full-sister to this year’s G1 Coral-Eclipse and 2011 G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Nathaniel and a sibling to a whole string of other black-type performers out of the outstanding mare Magnificient Style.