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Winter proves too much for Rhododendron in 1000 Guineas

7 May 2017

All-conquering Aidan O'Brien enjoys one-two in fillies' Classic at Newmarket

Winter warmed the hearts of her connections with victory in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas. Picture:

Aidan O’Brien capped another glorious weekend when Winter led home a stable one-two in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.

The market had been dominated by last year’s Fillies’ Mile winner Rhododendron but Ryan Moore’s mount found trouble in running while stablemate Winter powered up the middle of the track to land the second race of this year’s QIPCO British Champions.

Winter, who had been trained by David Wachman last year, has been partnered by Wayne Lordan on all five career starts and she provided the pilot with his first Classic winner on the Rowley Mile.

“It was a very strong field but she was staying on strongly when second in the Leopardstown trial last year so I was looking forward to her going up to a mile,” he said. “I thought I had a good chance of her going well and I think there is every chance she will get a mile and a quarter, but after that I don’t know.

“Any time you win a Classic it is very special and this is my first at Newmarket so it’s very enjoyable and I’m glad that I could get the job done.”
Aidan O’Brien had saddled the winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas the previous day with Churchill and his grip in QIPCO British Champions Series races seems stronger than ever. Last year, he enjoyed ten triumphs in the series.

He said: “David [Wachman] thought the world of her last year, he thought that she was a Classic filly for this year and she had a lovely run first time for us at Leopardstown, where Wayne, who know her form last year, gave her a great ride.

“She’s a big powerful filly and obviously she gets a mile very well. I think she’ll almost certainly get a mile and a quarter and after that we’ll have to see.”

Winter was subsequently installed 3-1 market leader for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Rhododendron was cut into 5-2 favourite for the Oaks at Epsom.

Those races, run next month, also form part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Of the runner-up, O’Brien said: “Rhododendron didn’t get a clear run but it doesn’t always work out.

She came home well and you would have to be delighted with her run even though she got beat. We always thought she would get further than a mile.”