Last year’s 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks heroine had not raced since landing the Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival in August as connections waited for quicker ground.
And their patience was rewarded with a fine Ryan Moore ride after he decidied to keep it simple, and set the pace in this prestigious 10-furlong contest.
Yet, as Love’s pursuers made their move in their home straight, the four-year-old filly showed great courage to repel allcomers, including Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya, and provide the Ballydoyle team with a first win of the week.
“It was her first run of the year so we had to be very cautious with her,” O’Brien said. “Ryan gave her a beautiful ride, she’ll come on a lot from the run, we’d obviously have preferred to have had a run [before].
“First time over a mile and a quarter and we were over the moon with her. She’s very genuine, very brave. We knew that her head was out and down and looking at Ryan’s body language, he hadn’t gone for everything, he was trying to let her win and give her as easy a time as he could.
“I’m delighted that the lads [Coolmore owners] decided to do this and wait until the ground came right, that was a lovely place to start, in Royal Ascot, there’s nowhere better.”
Moore added: “First run since last August and she beat a Breeders’ Cup winner. I’m sure she’ll improve, but I’m delighted with her today.”
Day two of Royal Ascot saw Charlie Appleby’s Kemari disepl his inexperience and glalop into Melbourne Cup contention by winning the Queen’s Vase. William Buick always had the Godolphin-owned colt Kemari close to the pace just behind the leaders before challenging early in the straight and striking for home.
It was another notable success for Derby-winning trainer Charlie Appleby after the Classic success of Adayar.
“He has proved me wrong and William right, which is the great thing about having a team such as we’ve got,” said a pleasantly surprised Appleby.
“I hope he will make up into a Cup horse for next year.
“This year – as we all know, in the past few years three-year-olds in the Melbourne Cup, they have produced the goods.
“Whether he gets to that level, we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori rode a landmark 75th Royal Ascot winner when Indie Angel took the Duke and Cambridge Stakes.