AIDAN O’BRIEN completed a phenomenal Newmarket weekend by saddling Hermosa to provide the trainer a fourth 1000 Guineas and double up after Magna Grecia’s 2000 Guineas victory on the previous afternoon. Ireland’s perennial Champion Trainer has now won six of the last eight Classics staged at Newmarket and nine of the last 12 British Classics, taking his career total of those most prestigious Group Ones to 34. Many argued Magna Grecia was aided by a draw bias to add to his undoubted quality but Hermosa, seemingly the trainer’s third or fourth string, was just very gutsy. A 3yo daughter of Galileo, she was bounced out in front by Wayne Lordan and set intense fractions, almost appearing as only in the field to make the running for her stable companions. Others, notably runner-up Lady Kaya, travelled more strongly as they loomed alongside, but they could not get past and when the field met the rising ground in the final furlong Hermosa once again stretched away to win stylishly.
O’Brien, in customary modest style, said: “Physically she changed a lot over the winter and really grew into a 3yo; she’s a very, very, very tough filly. “The boss, John Magnier, always says it’s all about the blood, it’s all about the pedigree, that’s the roadmap. “She won’t mind stepping up in trip and it’s an awful advantage to us to have Galileo; his influence is going to be forever and ever, it’s very strong in the dams as well. It’s that will to win that makes them so tough, they’re never beaten. “When anything comes to challenge they put their heads down and fight to the end; they’ll go down on their knees for you. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It was not just a Guineas double for O’Brien, who guided Magnier’s mother Evie Stockwell onto the podium to collect the trophy, but Galileo as well, with the only two horses with the supersire in their immediate pedigree winning both Classics. And it was a second 1000 Guineas for the man aboard; Lordan has been part of the Coolmore team for a long time. He rode for Tommy Stack for 16 years and David Wachman for 12. When Wachman retired three years ago he joined the operation’s ‘flagship’ and it is a move that is paying off. While his seasonal tallies have dropped slightly, Lordan arrived with five Group One wins, but now has nine. Winter, in this very race in 2017, brought him his first Classic and after his second he said: “Aidan’s great, he gives you the opportunities and it’s nice to repay him on a day like today to show you’re worth the job. I was more than delighted to get the opportunity and it’s paying off. “Hermosa can bowl along and saves plenty while she does it, so I was happy to go a good gallop. When I passed the 2f pole I could see her flicking one ear so I thought I’d enough that she’d pick up if she had a challenge.” Asked if he was ever headed, Lordan added: “I don’t know. I was only watching the line.” O’Brien continued: “We knew she’d get the trip well because her sister won over a mile and a half on heavy ground at Ascot. I’d say the Oaks is what she’s going to love, the Irish Guineas is there to look at but I would imagine she won’t mind stepping up in trip.” Just over an hour later, Sheikh Hamdan’s Maqsad advertised her claims as a prominent player in the Epsom Oaks picture after a highly impressive win in the 1m2f Listed Pretty Polly Stakes. Always travelling strongly under Jim Crowley, the William Haggas-trained filly, a 3yo daughter of Siyouni, stormed clear on the bridle from Shambolic, with the exciting favourite running out an emphatic winner by five lengths. Haggas said: “I was impressed with her, I thought she travelled and settled well. She appeared to be better at the trip. I was keen to have a go but she has a bit of speed, but they need speed if they’re going to stay. There’s a lot of stamina on the dam’s side and she’s out of a Galileo mare. “She’s in lots of things. Lots of options are open, we’ve just to sit down and think about it.” Owner Sheikh Hamdan last won the Oaks in 2014 with Taghrooda, who won the Pretty Polly Stakes by six lengths. Earlier, David Lanigan celebrated his first turf winner of the year in style as Worth Waiting claimed the biggest success of her career in the 1m1f Group 2 Dahlia Stakes. After coming up short at the top level on her final start last year, the 4yo daughter of Bated Breath, owned by Saif Ali, appears to have taken a step forward over the winter, with a ready victory. Racing front rank under James Doyle throughout, she hit the front 3f out and moved into a lead she would not surrender on the way to a length win from Nyaleti. Lanigan said: “She has trained well up to this race and she is a stronger filly this year. “Ted Durcan rides her in a lot of her work. Even last year, before we went to and won the Aphrodite Stakes we weren’t 100% sure she would stay the mile and a half completely. “I think she is so relaxed she helped herself last year. When we went to Deauville they crawled, then sprinted. Then when we ran in the Group One at Chantilly, she blew like a filly who didn’t stay a mile and a half, and I knew she was 100% fit. “When Ted climbed off her a week ago on the watered gallop, it was the first time in 11 years he has been riding for me that he jumped off one and was really happy with her, so I thought we are in the right spot. “I thought if we went and won today, we would go for the Pretty Polly on The Curragh. Long term, at the end of last year we thought the perfect fit for her would be the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park.” Godolphin’s On The Warpath won a 6f handicap in style under William Buick. Charlie Appleby’s gelding defied a mark of 102 impressively as he went one better than when beaten a length into second by Mubtasim over 7f at the Craven Meeting last month. Appleby said: “This horse has been consistent all year at Meydan and now back in Europe. “James Doyle suggested a return to 6f would suit him and that was a pleasing win.” Silvestre de Sousa and Mark Johnston, who had landed the opening 1m4f handicap with Baghdad, bookended the card when Nayef Road proved far too good in the finale, a 1m2f handicap, in the colours of Mohamed Obaida.