Ballydoyle Guineas Double
Ballydoyle’s success in the British Classics continued over the weekend, as Magna Grecia and Hermosa completed a QIPCO Guineas double for Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore partners.
Last season’s Group 1 Futurity Trophy Stakes winner Magna Grecia provided double the delight for O’Brien as he was guided home by his son Donnacha O’Brien, who pushed the bay colt out to beat King Of Change by two and a half lengths. On future plans for the dual Group 1 winner, Aidan O’Brien commented, “John Magnier always thought he was a miler and we think that will be the route we'll be going, with the Irish Guineas and then Ascot.”
The winner of the fillies’ equivalent, Hermosa (Galileo), also boasted strong juvenile form, having finished second in two Group 1 contests on her last two starts last season. Ridden to make all by Wayne Lordan, she battled back to beat fellow Irish raider Lady Kaya by a length and will now, more than likely, be stepped up in trip for the Oaks.
Aidan O’Brien has now won nine of the last 12 Classics staged in Britain, while focussing on the QIPCO Guineas boasts a statistic of six wins in the last four seasons.
Ballydoyle continued their excellent form with a Group double at the opening of the newly-renovated Curragh racecourse the following day. The feature race, the Group 2 Highland Reel Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes, saw the favourite Magical (Galileo) make good headway to lead over a furlong from home and was pushed out to beat stablemate Flag Of Honour (Galileo) by a length and a half. The Ryan Moore-ridden winner will aim to return to the Curragh for the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, according to her trainer.
Moore was completing a quickfire double, having taken the earlier Group 3 Coolmore Gleneagles Irish EBF Athasi Stakes aboard Happen (War Front). Last seen finishing second in the Group 3 Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial on her seasonal return, she was ridden towards the back of the field and produced an impressive turn of foot to race home late to deny British raider Dan’s Dream by the shortest of margins.
Aidan O’Brien afterwards compared Happen to her dam, whom he trained to win three Group 1 contests, saying, “It's funny, Alexandrova used to do that too. She was always best coming from the clouds and she was best doing that. You could not come from far enough back on her. Ryan gave her a great ride and he said she won't mind stepping up to a mile and that is where she will go next time.”
One who made a successful step up in trip was Jack Yeats (Galileo), an impressive winner of the ten furlong maiden at Naas the previous Monday. Denied just a nose by Buckhurst (Australia) last time out at Leopardstown, he was sent off favourite under Donnacha O’Brien, who positioned him behind the leader. Asserting two furlongs out, he stayed on well to beat the well-bred Hazran by two and a half lengths.