Homecoming Queen Slams Rivals
Homecoming Queen Slams Rivals
Sporting Life

Homecoming Queen

Homecoming Queen routed her rivals in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday to complete a famous double for her trainer, Aidan O’Brien, after the success of Camelot the previous day.

O’Brien became the first trainer since 1942 to do the double in the same season on two occasions.

The legendary Fred Darling was the last man to achieve the feat that O’Brien first managed in 2005 with Virginia Waters and Footstepsinthesand.

The second Classic of the season was delayed as the fatally injured Gray Pearl, who had gone down in the stalls, was attended to before being taken away in the attending horse ambulance.

Those already loaded – the majority of the field – were removed with several jockeys opting to take the weight off their fillies’ backs as they led them round behind the starting gates.

The race eventually got underway some around 30 minutes later than scheduled and Ryan Moore was quick to roust Homecoming Queen – who had been the last to load – into the lead with most commentators assuming that she was helping to set the gallop for her better fancied stablemate and favourite Maybe.

However, the Holy Roman Emperor filly – who remarkably was having the fourteenth start of her career – kicked at the two pole to leave her rivals trailing in her wake, crossing the line nine lengths clear of her nearest rival to record the second largest winning margin in the race’s history.

The field raced together in the centre of the track and Maybe’s supporters would have been happy as the filly looked to be travelling well in the first half of the field but she had no answer to the winner’s devastating turn of foot and she ultimately looked rather laboured in finishing third.

Starscope was one place in front of her despite having given trouble at the start, running a huge race on just her third start and improving significantly on her unlucky in running fourth in the Nell Gwyn.

She was saddled by John Gosden who was also responsible for the fourth home, The Fugue, who ran a blinder on just her second career start.

The race was won in a two second faster time than Camelot had run 24 hours earlier and the successful jockey, who was securing his first victory in the Newmarket fillies’ Classic, said: “Aidan said she was very fit and very well.

“I thought I was going a stride too quick, but she just kept going.

“There’s not much of her, but she tries very hard. She’s very tough.”

O’Brien, who was claiming his second 1000 Guineas victory after Virginia Waters struck in 2005, said: “It’s incredible. She’s a hardy, tough filly with a great pedigree.

“In the last couple of weeks she’s gone into a different zone.

“When Seamus (Heffernan) won on her last year he said she could be very smart. Joseph won a Listed race on her at the Curragh and said she had a massive engine.

“We went to the Breeders’ Cup with her after that but she was entitled to be tired there. She ran first time up at the Curragh when she got a little bit tired, but won nicely at Leopardstown.

“It was an incredible performance and Joseph said she was the filly he was most worried about as she would be going off in front and it was Maybe’s first run. I was delighted with Maybe, too.”

“She (Homecoming Queen) can go to the Irish Guineas or she can go anywhere – the Curragh, Ascot and Epsom are all in the mix. There are lot of options open to her now. She’s a very progressive filly.”

There may be more to come, too, from Maybe who Joseph O’Brien felt was perhaps lacking in race fitness.

He said: “She travelled into the race well but she just got a bit tired on the ground which is getting softer all the time.”

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