AIDAN O’brien produced one of the great training performances as the majestic Minding led home a remarkable one-two-three for the Ballydoyle yard in the Qipco 1000 Guineas, the first Classic of 2016 for fillies.
The hot favourite, ridden by Ryan Moore, travelled beautifully throughout as Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s Lumiere set the pace before putting the race to bed with a scintillating turn of foot.
Ballydoyle came from the rear of the field to claim second place, three-and-a-half lengths away, while Alice Springs hung on grimly for third.
O’Brien’s dominance matches the feat of champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls, who saddled the first three home in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup courtesy of Denman, Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges.
Yet it still does not match the still unprecedented feat of Michael Dickinson when the then Harewood trainer was responsible for the first five horses past the post in the 1983 Gold Cup, headed by Bregawn.
O’Brien said: “We were delighted with them all. They are three top-class fillies. It’s a big team effort so it’s great for everybody. It was marvellous.
“We thought she (Minding) was a very nice filly, but a lot of hard work goes in by a lot of people. We’ve always thought she’d stay but obviously we’ll talk about the Oaks, as you would. She’s something to look forward to.”
Expanding on the success of Minding, who is now hot favourite for the Epsom Oaks next month, O’Brien added: “She’s always been very high class and she’s a pure home-bred. We’ve known the family well for a long time, which is great, it’s a massive help. It (Oaks) is very possible, but I don’t want to say it until we get home. We’ve always thought she’d stay.”
Prominent early, Lumiere trailed home last of the 16 runners.
However, the Johnston stable’s supposed second string, Fireglow, did run with credit and finished best of the rest in fourth.
Meanwhile, Hugo Palmer will let “the dust settle” before deciding whether to target Galileo Gold at the Investec Epsom Derby or bid for a Guineas double.
Galileo Gold gave Palmer his first English Classic success with a resounding performance in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Saturday and the trainer now has the difficult, but enviable, problem of where to go next.
While Palmer would naturally prefer to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas rather than try and fail at Epsom, he is keeping the options open for the time being.
Galileo Gold’s decisive victory continued the renaissance of Frankie Dettori who won last year’s Derby on the now retired Golden Horn. “I don’t want to give up my Derby crown without a fight, but the big question is whether he’ll be ready for a mile-and-a-half in less than five weeks. It could be touch and go,” he said.
With Malton trainer Richard Fahey’s Ribchester third and Kentuckyconnection fifth for Hambleton’s Bryan Smart, the big disappointment was the aforementioned Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on favourite Air Force Blue, who beat just one horse home.
Endearing Yorkshire veteran Dubai Dynamo will make his 150th racecourse appearance in the feature event at Beverley’s Bank Holiday Monday meeting.
Trained by Ruth Carr in Stillington, the 11-year-old gelding will be joined by stablemate Abushamah in the £10,000 Beverley Annual Badgeholders Handicap.
Dubai Dynamo, who has earned over £350,000 in a distinguished career, dramatically won this eight-and-a-half-furlong prize by a neck in 2014 and will again by ridden by PJ McDonald.
The gelded son of Kyllachy has had a bit of a lean spell since he struck at Ripon last August, but Carr has reason for cautious optimism ahead of just his third outing on the Westwood. She said: “He’s such an honest horse and, touch-wood, he is very sound.
“He goes well at Beverley, as he showed when he won this race a few years ago.
“It’s a very nice race to win and hopefully the old boy can do us proud.”
Warren Greatrex feels the “sky is the limit” for three-time Wetherby winner One Track Mind over fences next season.
The six-year-old saw off all-comers to win the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown to pull off a long-held plan for connections.
While the temptation was there to stay hurdling, Greatrex is keen to see how he gets on over bigger obstacles.
The Upper Lambourn handler said: “He jumps hurdles like a chaser and while it is always tempting to stay hurdling, having won a Grade One and proved he is a high-class hurdler, the sky is the limit for him over fences.
“He’s got everything you want in a chaser and is very exciting. He’s still a bit unfurnished and you’d imagine he should come back even stronger with another summer on his back.”