Love Conquers All In Yorkshire Oaks, Sets Up Clash With Enable In Arc De Triomphe

Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s brilliant filly Love (IRE) crushed her opposition in another outstanding performance to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) on Thursday. The victory secures her a guaranteed start in the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.

Love becomes the third horse to gain a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf this year, joining Queen Supreme (IRE), who won the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth in South Africa on Jan. 11 and Almond Eye (JPN) winner of the Victoria Mile (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan on May 17.

Dual Classic heroine Love was making her first start since her jaw-dropping 9-length Investec Oaks (G1) win at Epsom Downs in July. Although the winning distance today was only 5 lengths, the race was over as a contest at the furlong marker, and her jockey Ryan Moore eased her home.

The 33/1 outsider Alpinista (GB) stayed on and eventually edged out One Voice (IRE) for the runner-up spot as the John Gosden-trained duo Franconia (GB) and Frankly Darling (GB) never figured.

It was a fifth Darley Yorkshire Oaks win for trainer Aidan O’Brien, who was thrilled with his filly’s performance. He said: “I’m delighted. I really couldn’t be happier. Everything went perfect and she won very nicely. She was very good last year and being a Galileo (IRE) filly we hoped she’d improve at three and she has done.”

O’Brien has trained some brilliant fillies over the years, including Alexandrova (IRE), Peeping Fawn and Minding (IRE), but believes Love might top that list.

O’Brien said: “I don’t think we might have ever had a better filly than her. When you’re that close to them, you don’t want to be dreaming, but I think she’s been extra special all the way through.”

The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) and then possibly the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf is on the agenda for Love. O’Brien said: “If she gets back home well then the Arc would be the plan. If she runs again after the Arc, then it would be the Breeders’ Cup.”

It was a second Darley Yorkshire Oaks for Moore who after the race was glowing in his praise for the 3-year-old filly, saying: “She’s very special. She’s been exceptional this year and has absolutely thrived. She’s just got stronger and stronger and has done it very easily today.”

Moore has enjoyed plenty of success over the years at the Breeders’ Cup, riding nine winners so far including on Dank (GB) in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. He continued: “Realistically it was her easiest task for a while. She was running against some unexposed fillies but they had to step up to run to her level. She’s a very straightforward filly and it was business as usual.”

Love, a chestnut daughter of Galileo out of the Pivotal (GB) mare Pikaboo (GB), completed the 1 1/2 miles in 2:31.31 over a course listed as good. Bookmakers SkyBet make Love 5/1, from 6/1, for the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Love to start in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles over the Keeneland turf course. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of $40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must already be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program or it must be nominated by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 26 to receive the rewards.

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