Aidan O’Brien says Minding may never race again
Meanwhile Nezwaah achieved Pretty Polly glory at the Curragh on Sunday
Andrea Atzeni celebrates winning the Pretty Polly Stakes on Nezwaah at the Curragh Racecourse, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
The English-trained Nezwaah secured Group One glory in Sunday’s Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, on an afternoon when Aidan O’Brien revealed the outstanding 2016 winner Minding may never race again.
Ireland’s reigning Horse of the Year suffered a setback in May but had been expected to return to work this week. But veterinary advice is that Minding needs another month on the sidelines, which leaves her trainer facing a potential race against the clock.
“We’ll leave her another month, but if we go another month we could run out of time so I’m not sure. We’ll have to see,” O’Brien reported.
The champion trainer saddled a hat-trick at HQ on Sunday, but had to settle for the runner-up spot with the Ryan Moore-ridden Rain Goddess in the Pretty Polly.
Journey started 15-8 favourite but beat only one home, as Nezwaah scored under Andrea Atzeni.
It completed a frustrating weekend for Journey’s trainer John Gosden, who also finished runner-up with Cracksman in Saturday’s Derby.
After that classic, Coolmore’s supremo John Magnier stated that neither Cracksman or the French-trained Waldgeist would have lined up had the Derby been run elsewhere.
Gosden stressed on Sunday that he was happy the big race was kept at the Curragh.
“I love Leopardstown’s mile-and-a-quarter course. But the mile-and-a-half track there is very different and difficult for jockeys. I know it’s a matter of debate, and I don’t know enough about the other tracks in Ireland, but I’m delighted the Derby was run here, on the best track,” Gosden said.
“You’re facing two difficult years, but you’ll end up with a facility that people, and especially young people, will want to come to. It was like an old railway station here before.
“I remember when they tore the stand down in Arlington [in Chicago], put up the bleachers and everything else, and ran the Arlington Million there.
“We had a lot of fun. They tore down Longchamp and switched the Arc to Chantilly. But the reality [is] it’s not the same race there,” added Britain’s top trainer.
Roger Varian pinpointed Goodwood’s Nassau Stakes as an option for Nezwaah and said: “You could probably name a small handful of very good fillies that aren’t here. But it was a good race on paper, with four Group One winners in it.”
Meanwhile, Churchill’s sister Clemmie landed the same Grangecon Stakes her dam Meow won in 2010 and earned 16-1 quotes for next year’s 1,000 Guineas, while her stable companion Gustav Klimt is 20-1 for the 2,000 after his impressive maiden victory.
Johannes Vermeer was the middle leg of the Ballydoyle hat-trick in the International Stakes and O’Brien nominated Australia’s Caulfield Cup as a possible autumn target for the former Group One winner.
O’Brien’s son Joseph then saddled Rekindling to overhaul the Leger winner Wicklow Brave in the final strides of the Curragh Cup and win at 4-1.