Love secured a second Classic success when putting in a sensational display to run out a facile wide-margin winner of the Investec Oaks at Epsom.
The Aidan O’Brien trained three-year-old daughter of Galileo, who was sent off the 11/10 favourite following her win in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, was held-up at the rear of the eight-runner field in the early stages by Ryan Moore.
She then made stealthy headway three from home and after taking up the running two out forged effortlessly clear to slam stable companion Ennistymon by nine lengths.
Love’s winning time of 2min 34.06sec was a new record for the Oaks, beating the mark set by the outstanding Enable in 2017.
She was immediately cut from 20/1 to 4/1 by Paddy Power for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday, October 4.
It was the most impressive display I have witnessed in the 1m 4f contest and Love looks something out of the ordinary and a worthy favourite for the Arc.
Before that a crack at the Irish Oaks could be on the agenda for Love – depending on how she comes out of the race.
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O’Brien and Moore full of praise
O’Brien, who was saddling his eighth winner of the Oaks, said: “We are delighted, obviously. Her last few canters through the week were incredible, really, so although we obviously didn’t know what was going to happen, we were aware that she was incredibly well.
“Love is very special. It is very hard to say you would ever have a better filly than her; we saw what she did in the Guineas. I don’t know how far she won that by, three or four lengths, and she doubled it today, and it is only her second run of the year.
“We will wait and see what is next and the lads will decide that, but obviously the Irish Oaks is a possibility. You would have to think about the Arc in the autumn. We know what three-year-old fillies can do in the Arc. We would definitely have to think about it.”
Winning jockey Moore, who was winning the Investec Oaks for the third time following Snow Fairy (2010) and Minding (2016), added: “She was exceptional today, and hopefully she has got plenty to look forward to in the future. She would be a threat to anything.
“She wasn’t stopping at all, she actually got down to the rail and picked up again. She was very impressive. She is very good, very very good.”
Serpentine springs shock in Investec Derby
Ballydoyle maestro went on to land the other Classic on the card, the Investec Derby, but not with the horse that many expected among the six he saddled.
Under a fantastic front running ride from Emmet McNamara, 25/1 outsider Serpentine made all and forged clear rounding the home turn to beat Khalifa Sat.
The son of Galileo never looked in any danger in the home straight and galloped all the way to the line.
Those in behind simply couldn’t get near enough to land a blow, and although they arguably gave Serpentine an easy lead I thought that it was an incredible performance given that he had only opened his account in a maiden at the Curragh seven days earlier.
He scored in the manner of a rapidly improving sort who would be the ideal type for the final Classic of the season at Doncaster in September, the 1m 6f St Leger, for which he is now a top-priced 3/1 favourite with Paddy Power.
Given that Serpentine was only having his fourth start, there could be tons more of improvement in the locker and I think it would be folly to underestimate his ability and say that he “stole” the Derby and was not a worthy winner.
”No problem” getting St Leger trip
Success for Serpentine created history as it was a record breaking eighth winner of the premier Classic for all-conquering O’Brien.
He said: “We discuss each horse and try and give every horse the best chance in the race and we ride them all accordingly.
“Emmet gave him a brilliant ride. He judged the pace really well. He was a horse who was going to get every yard of the mile and a half.
“We are so delighted. We are in a very privileged position to have such unbelievable horses and such unbelievably well-bred horses.
“We always thought he would stay very well. He would have no problem getting the Leger trip. He is by Galileo and from a Dylan Thomas family. I would imagine he would have no problem getting the trip if that is what the lads decide to do.
“He stays very well. I don’t think he would have a problem with soft ground in the autumn in an Arc. This horse has a little bit of knee action and on his pedigree, he would handle slower ground in something like an Arc.”
Ghaiyyath dethrones Coral-Eclipse queen Enable
Ghaiyyath inflicted a rare defeat on wonder mare Enable when running otu a raedy winner of the 1m 2f Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
The Charlie Appleby trained bold front-runner led after the first furlong and was never headed as he made it three from three this season and successive Group 1 success following last month’s victory in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket.
Enable, who had triumphed in the race 12 months earlier and was having her first run of the campaign since finishing second in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was held up off the pace by Frankie Dettori and could never land a telling blow.
She stuck to the task to be beaten 2 1/4 lengths, but to me was never travelling with her usual fluency at any stage.
I thought it was a slightly underwhelming effort, despite the fact that she is entitled to come on for the run. Bookmakers seemingly agreed, with initial reaction from most to push her out to 6/1 from 4/1 favourite for the Arc.
However, the six-year-old has since come in for renewed support and is now a best priced 5/1 with 888sport, with one major firm going just 7/2 about her bagging an unprecedented third success in the Longchamp showpiece.
On a potential rematch with Enable in the Arc, Appleby said: “I’d rather not have to take her on! Last year we felt he was a potential Arc horse. Unfortunately the ground went very soft, it was a very strongly-run race and it paid in the end.
“Our plan was always to work back from another crack at the Arc. If Enable is in it, we’ll just have to take her on again. We’re delighted with today’s success – I’m very pleased for the horse.”
Gosden “delighted” with stable star
Despite the defeat, Gosden was delighted with the effort of Enable, who was tasting success for just the third time in her illustrious career.
He said: “I’m delighted with her. She ran a gorgeous race. We know Ghaiyyath and as I warned everybody it is a great front-runners track, Sandown. If he gets free on the front, as he is a fabulous horse, you are never going to get to him. We found that out in the Coronation.
“She has put in a perfect performance and has come with a lovely run. Frankie said the last half a furlong she just needed it, so he looked after her. It is the perfect platform we were looking for for the King George. We were very happy.”
Enable is 7/4 favourite with Paddy Power for the King George at Ascot on Saturday, July 25, with old rival Magical next best in at a general 7/2.