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Champions Series Stars To Stud: Minding

7 Feb 2018

This week we look at the outstanding filly whose seven Group 1 wins included the 1000 Guineas and Oaks


Minding and Moore win the Investec Oaks Epsom. Picture:

Career details:

It is easy to forget that Aidan O’Brien achieved his record haul of 28 Group 1 winners in 2017 without the assistance of perhaps the best filly he has trained.

Minding began the campaign, as a four-year-old, with seven wins at the highest level already to her name.

She had won no fewer than four QIPCO British Champions Series the previous year – a record for a filly – and the manner in which she won Group 2 Camelot Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes on her return at Naas at the start of May suggested more victories at the highest level were a formality.

However, little more than three weeks later it was reported she had suffered a setback and unfortunately she was still unable to be trained by almost the middle of July. With the season slipping away, her connections reluctantly called time on her career.

“She injured her pastern and John (Halley, vet) just wasn’t happy for her to resume training yet,” O’Brien said. “At this stage, we felt it would be a bit of a struggle to get her back for the remainder of the season so the lads decided that the best option was to retire her as she was too important.

“It was just going to take too much time with her and while she will be absolutely fine we felt that we were just running out of time for this year.”

Minding squeezed plenty into her two full seasons on the track.

As a two-year-old, the daughter of Galileo won three of her five races and signed off with successive wins in the Moyglare Stud Stakes under Seamie Heffernan (who rode her in all her homework) and Dubai Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket for Ryan Moore.

After the second of those Group 1 wins, Timeform observed that she was “one of the best two-year-old fillies seen in recent years”.

The following year Minding raced exclusively in Group 1 races – winning five, being placed in the other two and showing tremendous versatility regards trip and and ground.

She provided O’Brien with his 250th Group 1 winner when easily winning the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and then overcame trouble in running to scoop the Investec Oaks – becoming the 48th filly to achieve the Classic double.

She then scooped the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh (not part of the Series); the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) at Ascot for good measure.

Minding suffered a shock defeat in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas (she lost by a head to Jet Setting after apparently banging her head leaving the stalls) in among those wins and her only other reverse was when third to Almanzor and stablemate Found in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.

In total, she won nine of her 13 races and accumulated £2,327,295 in prize money. She finished with a rating of 122, which perhaps did her an injustice.

Career highlight:

The Guineas? The Oaks? Minding’s career represented a box of chocolates where there were very few soft centres but her Queen Elizabeth II Stakes victory on her final start of 2016 was perhaps her finest moment.

For a start, she had been on the go all season and the only previous time she had taken on the boys at the highest level, in the Irish Champion Stakes, she had come up a bit short. In addition, she was dropping back to a mile for the first time since her shock reverse in the Irish 1000 Guineas and there was plenty of depth to the opposition.

Despite all that, Minding was sent off the well-backed 7-4 favourite and she pretty much put the race to bed when quickening ahead two out.

Ribchester and Lightning Spear closed the gap late on but Minding fended off the former with something to spare by half a length. Awtaad, winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas, and Galileo Gold, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas victor, were among the also-rans.

What they said:

After announcing her retirement, Aidan O’Brien said: “She was an incredible filly and was one of the best fillies I have trained.

“What she did was just incredible because she ran at the top level between a mile and a mile and a half as a three-year-old. To win five Group Ones at three is amazing really.

“She had the most brilliant physique and a wonderful pedigree. Above all, it was her mind that made her special because she was such a pleasure to deal with and had a brilliant attitude. She was incredibly well-named.”

Where she will stand:

Coolmore Stud, in Fethard, County Tipperary in Ireland – the headquarters of the world’s largest breeding operation. Minding will become an exciting new part of the team.

Situated in the heart of the Golden Vale on over 7,000 prime acres of Ireland’s finest limestone land, Coolmore provides the ideal environment for breeding and raising thoroughbreds.

Originally inherited by Battle of Britain flying ace Tim Vigors in 1945, what was to become Coolmore Stud started out as a small agricultural farm.

John Magnier in conjunction with his late father-in-law, legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien, and Robert Sangster took over the 350-acre existing farm from Vigors in 1975 with the objective of creating a world class thoroughbred stallion operation.

Today, Coolmore is celebrated as a world-class thoroughbred stud farm which has a long list of champions on its past and present rosters. Minding’s own superstar sure, Galileo, is of course among the sires who stand there.

What should we expect from her offspring?:

Minding ticks just about every box in terms of her own breeding, physique, temperament, ability and versatility.

Horses who can win Group 1 races between 7f and 1m4f are something of a collector’s item, plus she clearly had a great constitution.

It does not always follow that champion filles become champion broodmares but she begins her second vocation better qualified than most. And Coolmore are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a stallion for her.