Rhododendron was much the best on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 3:15PM 7 OCT 2016
Report: Newmarket, Friday
Dubai Fillies’ Mile (Group 1) 1m, 2yo fillies
AIDAN O’BRIEN’S extraordinary run at Newmarket continued as Rhododendron defeated stablemate Hydrangea to hand him a one-two in the Dubai Fillies’ Mile on Friday.
Having already taken the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes in previous weeks, the master of Ballydoyle returned to plunder yet more riches at the home of British Flat racing, with the winner the subject of sustained market support in the build-up to the off.
Sent off the 5-2 joint-favourite under Ryan Moore, Rhododendron barely had a moment’s worry as she scooted clear of her rivals to deliver another remarkable result for her trainer, less than a week after his historic Arc one-two-three.
O’Brien admitted he was left puzzled by Rhododendron’s third in last month’s Moyglare Stud Stakes and said: “She’s a very good filly and she has really progressed. She seemed to travel very well and I don’t think she was stopping at the line.
“We were a little confused with her Moyglare run as we thought she was a little better than the other filly [Hydrangea], but this just goes to show what a good race the Moyglare was.”
Hydrangea was ultimately beaten two and a quarter lengths, with a break of six back to the third-placed Urban Fox and O’Brien suggested both of his fillies could be on their travels before the end of the year.
“We knew they were progressing. It was just about the rate they were progressing at,” he said. “Both fillies are in a good place, so the Breeders’ Cup would be an option if the lads wanted to do that.”
Hydrangea’s jockey Seamie Heffernan added: “It’s important for these fillies to run in Group 1s in England and Hydrangea has run a solid race out there.
“She’ll be a nice filly next year when she’ll stay a mile and a quarter.”
Rhododendron is now William Hill’s 9-2 favourite for next year’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas, with Paddy Power bigger at 5-1.
Equally delighted was James Tate, trainer of Urban Fox, who said: “It’s marvelous that she has finished third in a Group 1 as she only cost 10,000 guineas as a yearling.
“She could run in the Listed Montrose Stakes here at the end of the month or else we’ll put her away.”