O’Brien in Winter wonderland
Winter and Wayne Lordan claimed glory in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who landed the 2000 Guineas for an eighth time with Churchill on Saturday, fielded three runners in a bid to win the fillies' Classic.
Rhododendron was the 5/4 favourite in the hands of Ryan Moore, but while she endured a troubled passage, her stable companion Winter stayed out of trouble wide of the field.
Lordan guided the 9/1 shot to the front entering the final furlong and though Rhododendron came home strongly, Winter was away and gone and passed the post two lengths to the good.
Daban was best of the rest in third, another neck away.
Winter was having just her second start for O'Brien, having last year been in the care of the now-retired David Wachman.
Lordan said: "She travelled quite well. I went forward quite early because she's a filly that gallops and I knew the track would suit her.
"This means a lot. I'm very grateful to Aidan for letting me keep the ride on the filly."
The winning jockey added: "It was pretty straightforward. I just followed the pace.
"Even though it was her first time on the track (Newmarket), it didn't matter.
"I think she'll get a mile and a quarter."
O'Brien said: "I'm obviously delighted. David (Wachman) always thought the world of her and told us she was going to be a Classic filly.
"Wayne gave her a great ride. She's a fine, big mare. The second horse ran a great race. She came home very well. She's a filly that's going to stay very well."
Of Rhododendron, O'Brien added: "I haven't talked to Ryan (Moore) yet, but I'd say he'll be very happy with her. She was coming home very well. Ryan is always delighted when he learns about a horse and thinks they're going to come forward.
"Ryan thought going out that she would stay very well in the future and we thought she could be an Oaks filly. Wayne said a mile and a quarter should be no problem for Winter.
"After that you're never sure, but that's a good sign."
Coolmore partner Michael Tabor said: "You got the impression Rhododendron was unlucky, but when you looked at the winner, she was always travelling well and travelling within herself.
"I think she'd have pulled out more. Whether Rhododendron, with a clear run would have beaten her, I wouldn't be too sure."
It was the third time O'Brien has completed the 2000-1000 Guineas double.
Tabor added: "It can't get any better than that, I suppose. I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating and Aidan is a man full of confidence that does the right thing most of the time.
"His horses seem to improve from two to three and their three-year-old career seems to get better and better. That's the mark of the man."
Daban's trainer John Gosden said: "She has won a Nell Gwyn and finished third in Guineas and she will go back for the Jersey.
"That's the way to go with her and I couldn't be happier with her. She ran great and put it all in.
"It is a strongly-run mile and, as I said before, my concern was stamina as she is not bred to get a mile.
"She ran a wonderful race to be third in the Guineas but she didn't quite see it out."
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