Seventh Heaven powers to victory under Colm O’Donoghue
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 3:45PM 18 AUG 2016
Report: York, Thursday
Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+ fillies and mares
AIDAN O’BRIEN has arguably Europe’s finest filly in Minding, but the master of Ballydoyle also has a formidable back-up team to rely on and it was Seventh Heaven who provided the trainer with his fourth Darley Yorkshire Oaks triumph on Thursday.
If that was not enough for the all-conquering O’Brien, he also saddled the runner-up Found and Pretty Perfect, who was fourth behind the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Queen’s Trust.
The betting and jockey bookings indicated Found, one of only two horses to beat last year’s Derby and Arc hero Golden Horn, was the number one contender from O’Brien’s County Tipperary base.
Howver, O’Brien had spoken favourably of Seventh Heaven, who sprang a 14-1 shock in the Irish Oaks on her previous appearance, but went off a 100-30 chance for the £365,750 Group 1.
Patiently ridden by Ballydoyle stalwart Colm O’Donoghue, she picked up well entering the final furlong and powered home for a two-and-three-quarter length verdict over Found, who returned the 2-1 favourite.
O’Donoghue said: “She’s a very good filly and was a Classic winner getting the weight allowance [8lb] from the older fillies. She’s tough and genuine with a great temperament and beautiful action.”
O’Brien, whose previous Yorkshire Oaks victories had come via Alexandrova, Peeping Fawn and Tapestry, mentioned the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf as a possible target for Seventh Heaven, who flopped in the Oaks at Epsom, but is right back on track.
He said: “Colm gave her a beautiful ride and she’d come forward lovely since the Irish Oaks. We thought the track, ground and trip would suit her well here.
“She is a beautiful traveller and a big, rangy filly. She handles fast ground well and has plenty of class. She has a lot of options and I’d say she’s going to make a real four-year-old.”
Found, like her stablemate a daughter of Galileo, is already a four-year-old.
She may have tired under Seamie Heffernan after having two months off since finishing second in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but O’Brien, winning his 13th top-level Flat race of 2016, has some sexy aims for her.
He added: “The plan with her was to go to the Curragh for the Royal Whip on Sunday, but we came here as we have US Army Ranger for that, and then go to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes and then go to the Arc so nothing might change from that.”