Regally-Bred Willow Wins Oaks Trial for Pharoah
Just two and a half weeks after running in the Group I Cazoo Epsom Oaks, Willow (3f American Pharoah x Peeping Fawn, by Danehill) secured her first stakes victory with a win in the Listed Naas Oaks Trial on Wednesday.
Racing over 1 ¼ miles at Naas in Ireland, Willow was positioned in second behind stablemate April Showers with that Galileo filly opening up on the field. As they entered the final three furlongs, Willow made her move and quickly gathered up the longtime leader.
April Showers wasn’t going to give up easily though and Willow had to battle with that one for a few furlongs before starting to pull away. As she left April Showers behind, La Petite Coco attempted to engage her but Willow was in full gear and kept that one at bay by half a length at the line.
The filly is a homebred for Coolmore and trained by Aidan O’Brien. This was her second stakes placing after a Group III third last month.
“She won nicely. We thought she was a real good filly at the start of the year and it's nice to win a nice race with her and hopefully she can progress,” jockey Seamie Heffernan told Irishracing.com “She arrived (on the scene) late last year so possibly she is going to arrive and be good late on this year.”
Willow is the second stakes winner for her champion dam Peeping Fawn alongside her Chesham Stakes and multiple Group I placed half-sister September. Peeping Fawn is also the dam of Group II placed Sir John Hawkins and granddam of stakes winner Alzire among three performers out of her Galileo daughter Purely Priceless.
Willow’s second dam is the Group I-placed Maryinsky, who is also the dam of Group I winner Thewayyouare. Maryinsky is also out of dual Grade I winner and bluehen broodmare Blush With Pride, making the Sadler’s Wells mare a half-sister to the great broodmare Better Than Honour.
Willow is the second stakes winner for her sire in four days after Fi Fi Pharoah won the Melair Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.