Mother Earth gave trainer Aidan O’Brien a third successive victory in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas as she claimed the fillies’ Classic in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
All eyes had been on O’Brien’s other runner, Santa Barbara – but it was the bigger-priced filly who grabbed the glory at Newmarket, taking the Ballydoyle trainer’s tally in the race to seven, with five of those victories in the last six years.
Sent off at 10/1, Mother Earth was given a vintage ride from Dettori, who was registering his fourth win in the race.
The 50-year-old had her in mid-pack, behind Ryan Moore on Santa Barbara in the early stages, as Statement and Fev Rover made the running.
When Dettori asked Mother Earth to make his move, the daughter of Zoffany responded with a decisive turn of foot that took her into the lead.
They maintained the gallop and went on to score by a length from Saffron Beach, with Fev Rover a neck away in third and Santa Barbara (5/2 joint-favourite) just a nose further back in fourth. Alcohol Free, the other joint-favourite, was just behind Santa Barbara in fifth.
Betfair reacted by cutting the winner's odds for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot - from 12/1 to 3/1, while Sky Bet make Mother Earth 6/1 from 50s for the Oaks.
1st Mother Earth 10/1
2nd Saffron Beach 9/1
3rd Fev Rover 22/1
4th Santa Barbara 5/2 favourite
Winning Trainer: Aidan O'Brien | Winning Jockey: Frankie Dettori
O’Brien said: “Mother Earth is a very good filly, always was.
“It was unfair to Santa Barbara to come (after one run), but we had to come. With a view to coming back for the Oaks, she had to run.
“Ryan said he would have liked to have waited longer, but he saw Frankie coming on his outside and he had to go.
“Santa Barbara was just green in the dip, but after having one easy run, it was a great run.
“We kind of felt coming here that she was going to learn as much as she would having three runs, but there was a risk doing it that she was going to get beaten.
“She’s classy and would have learnt a lot for it. She has plenty of time now to get over it before the next day, hopefully.
“We never took her off the bridle at home – today was her first time. Hopefully she’ll come out of it OK and it will do her good.
“Frankie’s filly is a very consistent filly. She had a great run in America on her last run last year and she’s very professional and did everything really well, so we’re delighted.
“Santa Barbara was always going to go to the Oaks and Mother Earth was always going to come back to the Irish Guineas. That was the plan.”
He added: “It’s great to have Frankie, what can you say – he’s an unbelievable rider.”
Speaking after the race Dettori said: “I was super excited to win that! I didn’t have the pressure to ride the favourite and had a very willing partner on a filly who I knew would give me everything.
“Aidan gave me a lot of confidence this morning and said to forget about Santa Barbara and just ride my own race. He told me to get cover and I did and like I said I forgot about the favourite and just kicked at the top of the hill.
“I knew she’d stay really well and I won - it’s as simple as that! It’s my 20th Classic (in Britain) at 50 years old. I’m only 10 behind Lester now so I’ve got plenty of time!
“It’s great to do it at Newmarket. I’m extremely happy and I got lucky to get that ride. Lester was 56 so I’ve got six years left and Kevin won yesterday - come on the oldies!”
MOTHER EARTH ran out a clear-cut winner of the 1000 Guineas, the form pick beforehand on her placed efforts at Group/Grade 1 level at two and probably not having to improve a huge amount to land the Classic.
She's entered in the Oaks, but she'd be far from certain to stay a mile and a half, and the Irish Guineas and Coronation Stakes appeal as a more likely route.
Her stable-companion Santa Barbara was uneasy in the market, but ran a fine race to finish fourth, her inexperience showing after she'd held every chance. She's a strapping filly, attractive too, and may well justify her reputation in future, almost certainly up in trip. She could yet prove the best of these.
In between the pair, Nell Gwyn second Saffron Beach emerged best of the fillies that ran in the trials, seeing the extra furlong out well and just edging second, with Fev Rover, who looked fit as a flea, running a cracker, up there all the way, to take third.
Sacred and Vadream were among those that appeared not to stay, but the other joint-favourite, Alcohol Free, just didn't look good enough.
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