Aidan O’Brien freezes out UAE challenge as Winter prevails in English 1,000 Guineas

UAE owners may have thrown weight of numbers at the English 1,000 Guineas but it was Aidan O’Brien’s stable that prevailed when Winter provided the Irish trainer with a third Guineas double of his extraordinary career here on Sunday.

Wayne Lordon rides Winter to victory in the win English 1000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
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NEWMARKET, ENGLAND // UAE owners may have thrown weight of numbers at the English 1,000 Guineas but it was Aidan O’Brien’s stable that prevailed when Winter provided the Irish trainer with a third Guineas double of his extraordinary career here on Sunday.

Six of the 14 runners in the fillies’ Classic sported silks of UAE owners, but at the wining post it was the pink colours of the Coolmore team that were once again victorious.

Wayne Lordan’s mount held off her fast-finishing stable companion Rhododendron and Ryan Moore by two lengths with Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah’s Daban the first of the UAE contingent home ahead of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Talaayeb.

If it had not been for Dr Ali Ridha’s Unforgetable Filly, who did not have the stamina to last the 1,600 metres and eventually finished sixth behind Fair Eva, the first of the Frankel fillies to finish, the result may well have been different.

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Unforgetable Filly who was ridden by William Buick, came across Rhododendron with 400 metres to run, which prompted Moore to pull hard on his horse’s reins and forced him to switch. The favourite lost valuable momentum, but even Michael Tabor, one of the Coolmore triumvirate, felt Winter was a deserved winner.

“You got the impression Rhododendron was unlucky, but when you looked at the winner, she was always travelling well and travelling within herself,” he said.

“I think she’d have pulled out more. Whether Rhododendron, with a clear run would have beaten her, I wouldn’t be too sure.”

It was a 27th British Classic for O’Brien, and Winter’s triumph built on Somehow’s success in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes on the undercard. Tabor hailed the Ballydoyle handler’s ability to get horses at their peak for the right races around the world.

“I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating and Aidan is a man full of confidence that does the right thing most of the time.

“His horses seem to improve from two to three and their three-year-old career seems to get better and better.

“That’s the mark of the man.”

If O’Brien was operating in the present, then Godolphin were firmly looking towards the future with their three winners.

Buick partnered Charlie Appleby’s Frontiersman to an easy win in the opening handicap over 2,400 metres and the two men hit the target again some hours later when the juvenile Way Of Wisdom scored in the 1000-metre maiden. Jamie Spencer got Leshlaa up from Silvestre De Sousa and Dubai Horizon in the concluding 2000-metre handicap.

Both of Appleby’s horses look primed to run at Royal Ascot next month, with the 2000-metre Wolferton the likely target for Frontiersman and the Windsor Castle Stakes for Way Of Wisdom.

O’Brien may well have an iron grip on the English Oaks at Epsom next month with Rhododendron but Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid could have a candidate for the French equivalent after Musawaah secured a significant victory in France when she cruised to an easy win in the Listed Prix de la Seine at Chantilly.

The American-bred filly, who is trained by Dubai Turf-winning trainer Freddy Head, kept on well under Aurelien Lemaitre to deny Godolphin’s Kitesurf.

Head believes Musawaah could be a possible for the Prix de Diane on June 18.

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