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Rivals find Winter too hot to handle in Nassau

3 Aug 2017

Brilliant filly wins her fourth Group 1 in succession - three of them in the Champions Series

Winter and Moore pull away from the opposition at Goodwood. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Aidan O’Brien was able to breathe easy after his magnificent filly, Winter, coped with deep ground, a longer trip and older opposition to win the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Thursday.

The daughter of Galileo had already established herself as one of this season’s outstanding talents with successive victories in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes.

This was something different, though, as she beat Blond Me by a length and a half, with front-running Sobetsu another neck back in third.

Having raced a little keenly early on, it was unclear what Winter would find when she challenged Sobetsu, a Group One winner in the mud,a furlong out. Ryan Moore did not have to get serious, though, and she won with a bit to spare.

“It took a while to get there, but I always knew she would,” Moore said. “She travels beautifully, she is a high-class filly.”

Winning trainer Aidan O’Brien admitted the contest had been a nervous watch.

“I was holding my breath all the way, because she was keen in Ryan’s hands to start with, and he did a great job to relax her,” he said. “I knew he was going to wait, but when you get to the final two furlongs in that ground you don’t know what’s going to happen. She’s just very classy.

“She’s made the transformation from the first half into the second half of the season, and she’s won well on the ground, which is like winter jumping ground. It’s a different level of fitness you need for it, but she’s obviously very good.”

Future plans for Winter but she is unlikely to be allowed to rest on her laurels. “Getting a mile and a quarter that well opens up a lot of options for her, and she might even get further,” O’Brien said.

“The lads [her owners] will decide on her future, but she has an option of Leopardstown [entered in Matron Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes] or York [entered in Juddmonte International and Yorkshire Oaks] now she has won over a mile and a quarter.”

Andrew Balding said of Blond me: “She is a cracking filly, the Middleton run was not a fluke, she deserved to be in this race and she has run great.

“I was just a bit worried about the ground, but she is obviously fairly versatile and she might stay a bit further. We might look at mile-and-a-half options for her. She is in the Grosser Preis von Baden so that could be a possibility.”