Newmarket 1000 Guineas heroine Minding showed her true class in winning the Investec Oaks at Epsom by 1 3/4 lengths from Architecture in second, with Harlequeen a further 8 lengths back in third.
The 10/11 favourite found trouble in running on a couple of occasions, but jockey Ryan Moore eventually found room, and wore down Architecture on the run to the line. It was a superb run from Aidan O’Brien’s filly, coming only 12 days after failing to win the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh. On that occasion she finish 2nd to Jet Setting, after hitting her face off the stalls while trying to anticipate the start.
There was question marks over the filly’s stamina prior to the race, but she put those doubts to bed by winning in style after she looked in trouble when trying to make her move.
Somehow, ridden by Seamie Heffernan led the field in the Epsom straight. Architecture took up the running, and as Minding tried to make ground on the inside, found herself short of room. After Ryan Moore checked her run, the pair found themselves last of the runners. But Minding picked up straight away to chase down the leader.
She had no trouble in picking off Architecture, and was even able to ease down at the finish. She becomes the first filly to win both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks since Kazzia in 2002.
Moore said after the win, “The pace was slow to start and we had a smooth race for the first seven furlongs. But they weren’t going to make it easy for me and unfortunately the two horses at the front were sort of coming back, and as the others were getting going we got pinned down on the rail. She had ground to make up which I hoped I wasn’t going to have to and she did well to get herself out of trouble, and then she’s won the race well.”
“There was still a long way to go so there was plenty of time to make up lost ground. It just meant she had to work harder than she had to on the day.”
“We always thought a lot of her and she’s a four-time Group One winner from seven furlongs to a mile and a half now. She’s never run a bad race. She’s very tough, very honest and very straightforward. She showed real class to get herself out of trouble; she had to have pace, and she’s out fought and out stayed them.”
“Not many fillies win the Guineas and the Oaks, so it shows how tough it is to do it. If the ground wasn’t so bad at the Curragh, she’d have won two Guineas.”
Trainer Aidan O’Brien was both delighted and relieved, saying “It’s been a tough couple of weeks with her. We were worried about her after the Irish Guineas, but everyone at home was happy with her and John was happy with her. Obviously, the second half of the race at the Curragh was tough on her, and she got fair trauma to her head, you can see the marks still on her, and she would have run the race with a burst sinus, so it was hard on her and you aren’t really sure until the next race.
“In the Oaks the last five furlongs were tough on her and I thought Ryan did very well. He didn’t panic and then when he got her out, he didn’t go chasing after them. The second filly was gone but Ryan let her gather herself and slowly come to them, and I think she got down past the two, to a furlong and a half and then I’d say she went into empty a little bit because of what had happened to her two weeks ago and then the race today, so he had to call on courage with her then. She really responded, so she was very courageous, I thought.”
He said: “I said to Ryan, what is her trip, a mile and a quarter?’ He said ‘It probably is, but don’t rule an Arc if you want her. I suppose it will depend on what the lads are thinking towards the end of the season and what they have for races like that.”
Wherever she goes from here, she’ll have a huge following after today’s very impressive victory.