Hermosa secures fourth Newmarket Guineas double for Aidan O’Brien

Sheila Lavery denied dream Classic debut as Lady Kaya just pipped for 1,000 Guineas

Aidan O'Brien completed a fourth Newmarket Guineas double on Sunday as Hermosa denied Co Meath trainer Sheila Lavery a fairytale result with the runner-up Lady Kaya.

Twenty four hours after Magna Grecia supplied O’Brien with a 10th Qipco 2,000 Guineas in an unsatisfactory race dominated by an apparent draw bias, there were no such complications about the fillies’ classic.

Wayne Lordan bounced Hermosa straight to the front of the field which, despite a slight split, all came up the centre of the Rowley Mile.

If the 14-1 winner led her group, Lady Kaya was in front of hers and the Irish pair ultimately dominated the finish ahead of the 7-2 favourite Qabala in third.


Lady Kaya briefly looked like pulling off a stunning success for Lavery with her first ever Classic runner as she was last off the bridle for dual-purpose jockey Robbie Colgan.

The man who rode Royal County Star to a Troytown Chase victory in 2007 momentarily must have thought Classic glory was in sights on the 11-1 shot.

However, normal service resumed as Lordan kicked Hermosa on to ultimately score by a length. It was a second 1,000 Guineas in three years for the Cork rider who won on Winter in 2017.

“I thought I was cantering over everything, everywhere, but I was just worried about the final hill,” said Colgan, who added he felt Lady Kaya’s run petered out in the final 50 yards. “We were beaten fair and square. If we were beaten a short head I’d be a lot sicker.”

Lavery said: “At the back of my mind I was a bit worried [about the trip] but she very nearly got there.

“Robbie Colgan is stable jockey and I’ve wanted him to go on the Flat. You’d never think this time last year he was jumping fences. He is cool and not intimidated by anyone and rides his own race.

“I’m just ecstatic. I suppose in a way it hasn’t sunk in. But now I will have a drink and relax once I go see how she has walked off. I know Richard Hannon said yesterday ‘who remembers second’ – but I’ll remember this second!”

It was a fifth 1,000 for O’Brien and a 34th English Classic in all for Ireland’s champion trainer. Hermosa was subsequently cut to as low as 5-1 to become No 35 in next month’s Oaks at Epsom.

“I think she’ll stay and she’s an easy ride so you can put her anywhere,” Lordan said afterwards.

O’Brien indicated Hermosa’s next target is likely to be the Oaks but also said the Irish 1,000 is an option for the full sister to Hydrangea.

“She did very well over the winter and ran an unbelievable race last year in the Fillies’ Mile. She is very uncomplicated, tough, like her sister, and stays well,” O’Brien said.

“Physically she has changed a lot over the winter and really grew into a three-year-old. The plan was to go along with her and she was happy to go because we knew she’d get the trip well.

“The boss [John Magnier] always says it is about the blood and the pedigree is the road map. I’d say that is what she’s going to love [the Oaks]. The Irish Guineas is there to look at but she won’t mind stepping up in trip,” he added.

Magna Grecia has been installed a 6-4 favourite to complete the English-Irish Guineas double at the Curragh later this month.

O’Brien’s son, Donnacha, landed Saturday’s Classic for a second year running and ultimately won it with something to spare after running up the stands side.

The 66-1 runner King Of Change was also one of three colts to follow a route close to the stands rail which proved to be the place to be.

The winner’s stable companion Ten Sovereigns, a 9-4 favourite, was drawn on the other side and never could land a telling blow before fading to fifth, a place behind Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon.

“I’d imagine the Irish Guineas, and then the St James’s Palace at Ascot, would be what we’re thinking now,” O’Brien reported.

Magna Grecia is a first English Classic winner for the stallion Invincible Spirit who stands at the Irish National Stud outside Kildare at a fee of €120,000.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column