Hermosa lands Irish 1,000 Guineas and Classic double for O’Brien and Moore
Hermosa completed a Classic double for trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore by easing to victory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, Ireland on Sunday.
The race favourite added to her recent success in the English equivalent at Newmarket earlier in the month with a four-length win over Michael Bell’s Pretty Pollyanna.
Open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies and run over a distance of a mile, Hermosa made virtually all the running and ran on strongly to go clear of Pretty Pollyanna and Foxtrot Liv inside the final furlong. She easily held off the challenge from the former – ridden by Frankie Dettori – and then powered clear to win with plenty still in hand.
Foxtrot Liv was one and a half lengths back in third for trainer Paddy Twomey and jockey Billy Lee who had combined to fill the same position with Decrypt in the Tattersalls 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. The disappointment of the race was Qabala, who had finished third behind Hermosa at Newmarket but could only finish ninth on this occasion.
“The plan was changed to come here rather than go to the [French] Oaks, and then go from here to the Prix de Diane in three weeks. I’m so delighted that we did [change plan],” said O’Brien.
“She’s a lovely mare and we felt that she progressed from Newmarket. I think she showed that today.
“She could go further and her sister [Hydrangea] got a mile and a half. We’ll see how she gets on in France before thinking about that.”
Hermosa follows Attraction (2004), Finsceal Beo (2007) and Winter (2017) to win both the Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh, and as suggested by O’Brien will now be aimed at the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on 16 June.
That win sealed a Group One double for O’Brien and Moore, who also steered Magical to the Tattersalls Gold Cup. The race favourite was equally impressive in victory by coming in seven lengths clear of Flag Of Honour in second and Mustajeer in third.
O’Brien and Moore came away from The Curragh with a treble on Sunday as they also picked up the day’s opener, the Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden. On this occasion it was Arizona who more than justified favouritism by steaming to an eight length success, ahead of King Of Athens in second and New World Tapestry in third.
Twenty four earlier on Saturday, Phoenix Of Spain saw off pre-race favourite Too Darn Hot to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas also at the Curragh.
Charlie Hills’ romped clear to win by three lengths from Too Darn Hot and Decrypt as Newmarket winner Magna Grecia had to settle for fifth.
The race was billed as a battle between joint-favourites Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia; however, it was Phoenix Of Spain who dominated after setting the early pace. The three-year-old, ridden by Jamie Spencer, finished comfortably out in front by three lengths, with Decrypt pipping Skardu for third.
Speaking afterwards, Spencer said: “It was a such a powerful galloping performance.
“I was thinking if his fitness holds up it will take a good horse to catch up.
“I planned to be third or fourth [in the early stages], but sometimes if you get an easy lead, you’ll take it.”
The victory was perhaps welcome revenge for Hills after Phoenix Of Spain was narrowly defeated by Too Darn Hot in September’s Champagne Stakes at Doncaster before agonisingly losing to Magna Grecia by a head in the Vertem Futurity Trophy a month later.