Love tears them apart in stunning Epsom Oaks romp

Aidan O’Brien’s star filly follows up 1,000 Guineas win with nine length procession

Aidan O’Brien’s Love destroyed the field to win the Oaks at Epsom. Photograph: David Davies/Getty/AFP

Aidan O’Brien’s Love destroyed the field to win the Oaks at Epsom. Photograph: David Davies/Getty/AFP

 

Love added another Classic to her CV as she galloped all over her rivals in the Investec Oaks at Epsom.

Winner of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly made a seamless step up to 12 furlongs as she cruised home by nine lengths in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Stablemate Passion and Tiempo Vuela tried to set the early pace, but they were ignored by the main players, with Moore settling the 11-10 favourite in fifth and Frankie Dettori tracking him on main market rival Frankly Darling.

Turning for home the front pair began to come back to the field, with Moore waiting until the final couple of furlongs to really stoke up his mount, who responded to make effortless progress and take the lead.

Frankly Darling tried to go with her, but Love easily pulled clear, with another stablemate in Ennistymon briefly putting up a challenge for a few strides before Moore let out another notch in the reins and the daughter of Galileo kicked on again.

She galloped home well clear, with Ennistymon just clinging on to second from Frankly Darling by three-quarters of a length.

Moore said: “She was exceptional today. We’ve always thought she’s very good and she proved that in the Guineas, but today she’s taken a step forward.

“Almost her best furlong was her last furlong. She’s got a great temperament and I don’t think she could have been any more impressive, really.

“You never expect to win an Oaks by that far — I don’t know how far she won, but it felt like a very long way.

“Hopefully there’s plenty to look forward to in the future — she’ll be a threat to anything.”

Love took the Epsom Oaks for Aidan O’Brien. Photograph: Edward Whitaker/PA
Love took the Epsom Oaks for Aidan O’Brien. Photograph: Edward Whitaker/PA

O’Brien had plenty of confidence in his filly’s ability to handle the step up in trip before the race.

He said: “We’re delighted, obviously. Before the Guineas we thought the mile might be a little bit short — we always felt she’d get a mile and a quarter well and she’s very genuine and tries hard, so we were always hoping the extra distance was going to improve her.

“She was working incredibly well — her last few canters during the week were incredible, really. Obviously you never know what is going to happen, but we felt she was very well.”

O’Brien was sending out his eighth Oaks winner and added: “We’re in a very privileged position to train such horses. The lads (Coolmore) put in so much day in, day out with the families and the bloodlines.

“This filly is very special — it’s very hard that you could ever have a better filly. You saw what she did in the Guineas — winning by three or four lengths — and she doubled it today.

“It’s only her second run of the year and it’s amazing really.”

O’Brien believes the Irish Oaks later this month could now be an option, with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe another possibility in the autumn — and even a fillies’ Triple Crown bid in the St Leger not totally ruled out.

He said: “Obviously we’ll wait and see and the lads will decide in the next few days.

“The Irish Oaks (July 18) was a possibility, so we’ll see how she is over the next few days.

“I think you’d have to think about the Arc in the autumn — we know what three-year-old fillies can do in the Arc. I suppose it all depends how she comes out of today and whether she has a midsummer break now or takes another run and has a break after that.

“I think everything is possible with her and it’s just a question of what the right thing is to do. The St Leger comes three weeks or a month before the Arc and if she was going to the Arc, would be it be too tough for a filly to run in the Leger beforehand? I don’t know.

“We’ll see how she trains and see what the lads really want to do.”

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