Wednesday 18 October 2017

Hydrangea freezes out old rival Winter in Matron Stakes shock

Hydrangea (left) claims the scalp of Winter
Hydrangea (left) claims the scalp of Winter

Hydrangea ended the winning run of her illustrious stablemate Winter when springing a surprise in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

Hydrangea had been put in her place four times in Group One races by Winter since beating her in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial on this course in April.

The pair are also regular work companions at Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle stable, but Winter had suffered an interrupted preparation for this race after having Hydrangea back in fourth place when landing a fourth successive victory at the top level in the Nassau Stakes Goodwood five weeks ago.

That may have made the difference in a tight finish.

Another O'Brien filly, Roly Poly, made the running with the two stable companions not far behind.

It looked as though Winter's class might prevail, but Hydrangea (20-1) just would not give in for Wayne Lordan and got the verdict by a head over the even-money favourite.

The John Gosden-trained Persuasive was three-quarters of a length away in third, with Godolphin's Wuheida fourth.

O'Brien said: "I'm delighted for the filly and I'm delighted for Wayne. She is Winter's work partner all year, and maybe she turned around and said 'Hydrangea, you can have this one today!'.

"They ran together in the trial before going to Newmarket and Hydrangea pipped Winter, so it was great really.

"She was the only one of the four fillies that had not won a Group One. We felt that Winter was going to improve a bit from the run. She was carrying a little bit of a tummy, but needed to run.

"The winner will stay further. She could go for the Prix de l'Opera.

"Winter is in the Arc, and the Opera is another option."

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