Love was all heart when making all under jockey Ryan Moore in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, the highlight on day two of Royal Ascot. The victory earned her an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf this fall at Del Mar.
Racing for the first time in her 4-year-old campaign, much was expected of the 11/10 favorite following victories in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks last season. Ridden with confidence by Moore – who was recording a 63rd Royal Ascot win – Love kept finding more to repel all challengers and run out a comfortable three-quarter length winner from 2020 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Audarya (10/1).
Love provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with a 75th Royal Ascot success, and owners Coolmore were celebrating a fourth win in this prestigious ten-furlong contest, following Highland Reel, So You Think and Duke Of Marmalade.
O’Brien said: “Obviously this was her first run of the year and we had to be very cautious. We knew that she was going to come on a lot from the run and Ryan gave her a beautiful ride.
“We’d obviously would have preferred to have a run, but that’s her first time over a mile and a quarter and we were over the moon with her.
“She’s very genuine, very brave. Ryan was trying to balance it, and he knew that Armory was going to be very fancied, so he was just trying to do enough, and not to do too much. He was trying to do the right thing for Love. We are over the moon.
“We knew that her head was out and down and looking at Ryan’s body language, he hadn’t gone for everything. He was trying to let her win and give her as easy time as he could.
“She will come on a lot [for that]. Obviously, we had prepared her two or three times and stopped and started again, which is far from ideal, but I’m delighted that the lads decided to do this – to wait until the ground came right. It was a lovely place to start, Royal Ascot – there’s nowhere better.”
Regarding her next target, he added: “I think everything is open to her, the King George, the Eclipse, whatever the lads decide and whatever they want to do.”
Moore said: “It is great to have Love back. She was a wonderful filly at three, and it’s a long time since she ran in the Yorkshire Oaks. That is her first run since last August and she’s beaten a Breeders’ Cup winner.
“It was great to get her back today and I’m sure she will come on for the run. She’s a very honest filly with a lot of ability and hopefully she will be better as the year goes on.”
James Fanshawe said of the second: “I am delighted with Audarya; it’s her first run of the season, as it is for Love, and we weren’t sure how she’d get on. She’s proved she’s progressed again from last year and I’m thrilled with her. Actually William [Buick] said the pace wasn’t that strong; I don’t know if that made any difference.
“I’m not sure what’s next – I’ll go home and think about it. You’d say keep her against her own sex, but she’s been beaten by her own sex, but whether we go for the Romanet or the Nassau or something like that, I’m not sure.”
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