All eyes were on the daughter of Lillie Langtry, tackling the Investec Oaks on the back of two quick runs in the 1,000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent last weekend. The Ballydoyle team saddled shock winner Qualify 12 months ago and this time around for the filly who was clear by 9lb on official ratings, only one question remained. Would the trip – an extra four furlongs – find her out on rain softened ground?
No was the emphatic answer. Despite the race not going to plan, the filly delivered in tremendous style. Held up by jockey Ryan Moore in the early stages, the field packed up around Tattenham Corner led by the Coolmore second string, Somehow. As Minding’s stablemate began to weaken, the duo appeared to be trapped on the inner as Turret Rocks struggled to handle the track on the rail.
Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori and Architecture had a smooth trip around the outside and appeared to get first run on the favourite. But once Minding found daylight, she picked up in great style to win by a comfortable length and three quarters.
“I had a charmed run and then the boys all wanted to get moving and they came on top of me,” said Moore. “Unfortunately Mr Smith’s horse was dropping back and I had no where to go at that stage, but a good filly got me out of trouble.”
Her Classic victory came on the back of what seemed a subdued performance behind Jet Setting in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last Sunday. An incident in the stalls, where she anticipated the gate and grazed the side of her face, counted against her as did the softer than ideal going. The three and a half length success in the English version a matter of weeks before marked her out as a special filly.
Aidan O’Brien had previously trained five winners of the Oaks, including Somehow’s dam Alexandrova, who took the prize impressively by six lengths under Kieren Fallon in 2006. Minding’s success arguably ranked just as high.
“Real heart, courage and guts had to come into it when she went past the furlong and a half post,” he reflected. “She’s like all the Galileos, when you go digging they usually give it.”
She has speed, class, stamina and she has a great mind
It was also another triumph for the Coolmore breeding operation, as the first four home were all sired by stallions standing at the County Tipperary venue, including Canford Cliffs, Zoffany and Fastnet Rock.
Minding’s performance once again exhibited the injection of stamina that Galileo, a seven-time champion sire, instills in his progeny.
Galileo’s trend of producing winners up to a mile and a half from fast female pedigrees is evidenced by New Approach, Soldier Of Fortune and Tapestry to name but a few. Minding’s dam Lillie Langtry, who won two Group 1s during her racing career, never ran beyond a mile.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Richard Hannon-trained Legendary Lunch under Pat Dobbs narrowly denied a strong finish from Danielsflyer and Phillip Makin in the Listed Woodcote Stakes for two-year-olds.
Arod was intending to bid for back-to-back wins in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes but was taken out by Qatar Racing and connections who walked the track and found conditions to be unsuitable for the course specialist. In another blanket finish, the Andrew Balding trained eight-year-old, Tullius, got up to edge it on the post from Decorated Knight and Custom Cut.