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Hydrangea enables O’Brien to equal Group 1 record

21 Oct 2017

Versatile filly gives Aidan O'Brien a 13th win in this year's Champions Series - and 25th Group 1 win of year

Moore and Hydrangea are greeted after taking the spoils on Champions Day. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Hydrangea kept on powerfully to land the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes – in the process enabling Aidan O’Brien to equal the late Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group or Grade One successes in a year.

Hydrangea, sent off at 4-1, beat the French-trained Bateel, the 7-4 favourite, by two lengths under Ryan Moore in a thrilling race.

O’Brien said: “I am so delighted for everybody. It is a big team effort, we are only a small link in the chain and we are so grateful and delighted.

“With these Group Ones, every one of them is so hard to win and you never expect anything. You try all the time, which we do. We are doing our best every single day and that’s all we can do. It’s great to be here and I am so grateful to everybody.”

He added: “You couldn’t be sure that she [Hydrangea] would stay. She is a home-bred Galileo filly and Galileos will not stop: they are most incredible animals in the world.

Moore added: “Hydrangea is great, she’s been running very good races all year – she won the Matron [Stakes at Leopardstown last month] and she won a very good race in the Opera [Chantilly]. She’s just super.

“I thought she had a great chance here today even though I was hoping the ground would be a bit better than it is. She has a great attitude.”

Bateel delighted her trainer, Francis Graffard, who said:  “Bateel has run a fantastic race. There were no excuses, she had the ground that she likes, she had a perfect run. She came upsides Hydrangea, but when Ryan [Moore] asked his filly she ran away from us.

“I was very, very upset to start with to finish second, but when I looked back at the replay, there were no excuses, I am very proud of my filly.”

John Gosden’s Coronet (11-2) ran another creditable race in defeat under Olivier Peslier, a further length and three-quarters back in third.