Seventh Heaven for O'Brien at York
Aidan O'Brien's domination of the British Flat season continued apace as he saddled three of the first four home in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, with Seventh Heaven coming out on top.
His embarrassment of riches in the female division starts with Minding and is consolidated by Ribblesdale winner Even Song, Breeders' Cup Turf heroine Found and Seventh Heaven, which already had the Irish Oaks to her name.
The year-older Found was sent off the 2/1 favourite but after a mid-season break O'Brien had been at pains to let people know she would improve for the run. And that certainly looked to be the case as she cruised into contention before blowing up in the final furlong to be beaten two and three-quarter lengths, giving weight away.
Seventh Heaven, ridden by Colm O'Donoghue in the absence of the sidelined Ryan Moore, went off at 100/30, and bar a blip in the Epsom Oaks she has improved with every race this season.
O'Brien fielded four runners in all and it was the least fancied, Pretty Perfect, which took the field along for much of the mile-and-a-half trip.
As she began to falter halfway up the home straight, the Michael Stoute-trained Queen's Trust moved to the front, but the Ballydoyle big guns were waiting in the wings. Seventh Heaven showed the best turn of foot to grab the lead and galloped all the way to the line.
O'Brien was delighted with the performances of both the winner and the second, but a liking for fast ground has him eyeing the Breeders' Cup rather than Ascot on Champions Day.
"We were delighted with Seventh Heaven at home and Colm gave her a beautiful ride," said O'Brien. "The lads will decide what they want to do, but she has a lot of options."
In the Lowther Stakes, a daughter of Frankel claimed the spoils but not the filly that was expected. Roger Charlton's Fair Eva started 4/11 favourite after two striking victories, but Pat Smullen's mount was never travelling like those odds suggested she should.
In the end she was beaten a length and a half in third by Richard Fahey's Queen Kindly's (9/2), which pulled away from O'Brien's Roly Poly and Fair Eva in the hands of Jamie Spencer.