Love con­quers all in York­shire Oaks

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage RAC­ING CORRESPOND­ENT at York

Love took an­other step to­wards be­ing crowned this year’s top three­year-old when the chest­nut with a white blaze, a 4-9 shot, saun­tered to a five-length suc­cess in yes­ter­day’s Dar­ley York­shire Oaks. Peo­ple walk­ing their dogs on the Knavesmire prob­a­bly ex­pend more en­ergy.

The im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion af­ter she had won the Ep­som Oaks by nine lengths, hav­ing al­ready won the 1,000 Guineas by 4½, was that she was bet­ter than the colts of this year’s Clas­sic gen­er­a­tion, and there was noth­ing about yes­ter­day’s win to sug­gest oth­er­wise – it will take a good horse of any age or sex, or heavy ground, to get to the bot­tom of her.

Trainer Ai­dan O’Brien paid her a com­pli­ment ev­ery bit as pre­cious as a wide-mar­gin vic­tory when he said: “It’s hard to say we’ve had a more ex­cit­ing filly at this stage. I can’t name one.”

Three fur­longs out she took Ryan Moore to the front on the bri­dle and from that mo­ment there was only one win­ner. Be­hind her, Alpin­ista, the 33-1 out­sider, got the bet­ter of the bat­tle to be brides­maid.

Love has now won her three Group Ones this sea­son by an ag­gre­gate of nearly 20 lengths and yes­ter­day she be­came the first filly to win the same trio of races since Noel Mur­less won them with Mys­te­ri­ous in 1973. If there was a doubt be­fore­hand it was the sticky go­ing, not ideal for her good-ground ac­tion. But it made scant dif­fer­ence to the style of her vic­tory and O’Brien will lose less sleep now if it comes up good to soft at Longchamp, af­ter her de­feats as a two-year-old had mostly come on slower ground.

“It was all pretty straight for­ward,” Moore said af­ter­wards. “Re­al­is­ti­cally it was the eas­i­est task she’s had for a while. She was run­ning against some un­ex­posed sorts but re­ally they had to step up to her level – she was very pro­fes­sional. But it was re­ally busi­ness as usual. The ground is a bit dead. I rode her when it was a bit dead last year, but she’s stronger this sea­son and has gone up in trip, which has helped. But it wasn’t her ideal con­di­tions.”

O’Brien ex­pressed the hope she would im­prove for the run, hav­ing had a break since the Oaks.

“She was also a good bit heav­ier than when she won the Oaks,” he said. “You don’t like stop­ping their bod­ies de­vel­op­ing, but it can catch you out when you run them again. She’s im­proved from race to race and, as that’s her first run since a break, you’d ex­pect her to im­prove again. She’s big­ger, wider, stronger.” Love is now 3-1 joint favourite for the Arc with En­able, who will have to con­cede 7lb to the Ir­ish filly.

When Love re­turned to the win­ners’ en­clo­sure yes­ter­day it was to the sound of All You Need is Love. It is a sen­ti­ment that En­able, John Gos­den’s six-year-old mare, might not en­tirely con­cur with as she goes in search for a record third Arc.

To­day Bat­taash goes for a sec­ond Cool­more Nun­thorpe and, though the ground will have dried out a bit, he loves it rat­tling fast. Last year he dis­proved the the­ory that he does not like York af­ter two de­feats in the race, by win­ning it in a record time. Al­though a fierce tail­wind is forecast the ground will prob­a­bly not be quick enough for a track record, but Bat­taash may be vul­ner­a­ble to Tim Easterby’s Art Power.

Big-hearted: Jockey Ryan Moore and Love af­ter win­ning the Dar­ley York­shire Oaks at York

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