Aidan O’Brien lands 1,000 Guineas again on a Peaceful day at the Curragh

Favourite Albigna can’t get going as O’Brien adds Irish Classic to last weekend’s success

Peaceful and Seamie Heffernan (L) took the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photograph: PA

Peaceful and Seamie Heffernan (L) took the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photograph: PA

 

Peaceful (3-1) delivered Aidan O’Brien with a 43rd Curragh classic on Saturday evening but also supplied her sire Galileo with a world record 85th individual Group One winner.

Coolmore Stud’s goldmine stallion overtook the deceased Danehill - his former neighbour at the renowned Fethard farm - when Seamus Heffernan guided Peaceful to victory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.

The 3-1 winner was two lengths too good for Fancy Blue, a first classic runner as a trainer, for O’Brien’s son, Donnacha, while Peaceful’s stable companion So Wonderful in third.

To complete a rare family classic finish, New York Girl was fourth for O’Brien’s other son, Joseph. The well-backed 6-5 favourite Albigna was never able to challenge and finished only sixth.

It was a ninth Irish 1,000 for O’Brien, a fourth for his long-time ally Heffernan, and they combined on the day for a four-timer.

Travel restrictions due to coronavirus means Coolmore’s No 1 rider Ryan Moore currently isn’t travelling to Ireland and 47-year-old Heffernan has stepped into the Ballydoyle hot seat with aplomb since racing resumed here last Monday.

Four more winners on Saturday, all of them by Galileo, continued to justify recent support for his chances of a first jockeys title this year.

There was a symmetry to Peaceful’s landmark moment too as Heffernan regularly rode Galileo in his work as well as landing the Derrinstown Derby Trial on him in 2001.

It preceded Galileo’s Derby success at Epsom and the Curragh, as well as a memorable win in the King George over Fantastic Light, when ridden by Mick Kinane.

Even those accomplishments pale however in comparison to his subsequent remarkable stud career.

The perennial champion stallion, whose fee is private but has been speculated at being at least €300,000, has sired a succession of top horses, most notably Frankel.

Magic Wand, the globe-trotting more, is also among Galileo’s 85 individual top-flight winners and hit the Group Two mark on a rare appearance on home ground in the Group Two Lanwades Stakes on Saturday.

Along with the two-year-old winner Snow, and the Group Three Gladness Stakes victor, Lancaster House, she contributed to Saturday’s Ballydoyle four-timer although Peaceful was centre-stage.

Seamus Heffernan and Peaceful after their 1,000 Guineas success. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho
Seamus Heffernan and Peaceful after their 1,000 Guineas success. Photograph: Caroline Norris/Inpho

Heffernan had the pick between her and So Wonderful and got it right.

“I was very impressed. Her homework has been solid. I did fancy her but I fancy a lot of horses and they don’t win. Some horses work way better than what they do at the track but she has done what she’d showed us at home,” he said after being prominent throughout the race.

“I was comfortable and then four down I was gradually stepping up the pace. Whatever had to come and get me had to make up three lengths,” he added.

O’Brien supplied Moore with Love to win the English Guineas six days earlier and she is on course for the Oaks at Epsom.

The champion trainer nominated the Irish Oaks as one possible option for Peaceful but didn’t rule out a quick reappearance at a mile in next week’s Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“If she came out of it well you’d have to look at it, if the ground was nice there. We thought some of these fillies could back up in it. The ground is on the slow side in Ascot at the moment.

“It’s rapid the way things are happening this season and it’s very hard to make plans because it’s changing all the time. You don’t get much time to think, but it’s just great to be racing.

“So Wonderful ran well to finish third. I don’t think she’ll get much further. I thought a mile was going to be her limit. She’s still a maiden so we could always go back and try to win her maiden with her,” O’Brien said.

Peaceful took an unusual route to classic glory having landed her maiden at Thurles last autumn, ironically when ridden by Donnacha O’Brien.

“Donnacha loved her in Thurles last year and then she went to Newmarket and couldn’t walk a yard in the heavy ground, but still kept fighting and wasn’t beaten far at the line.

“That’s the sign of a really good filly, she just wouldn’t lie down. She’s obviously very good. She loves the ground, skipped along, and is very uncomplicated. We always thought she’d stay a lot further than a mile,” O’Brien added.

The overarching theme through revolved around the winner’s sire and the latest evidence of his overwhelming influence on the breed.

It even contained another piece of symmetry. The first of Galileo’s 85 came 14 years ago with Nightime landing the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

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