The Kevin Murphy racing column: Love blossomed with a fine double

The Kevin Murphy racing column: Love blossomed with a fine double
Serpentine ridden by jockey Emmet McNamara wins the Investec Derby at Epsom Racecourse. Picture: Dan Abraham/PA Wire

LOVE cemented her place as a very special filly following an extraordinary weekend of Classic action in both England and France.

The Epsom Derby was won by Serpentine who was perceived to be a pacemaker for the Ballydoyle contingent.

There was plenty of uneducated comments online alleging all sorts of conspiracy theories, but it was a day to remember for Emmet McNamara who dictated the fractions from the front.

While the Derby was hotly debated in the racing media there was nothing but admiration for the brilliance of Love who completed the Guineas/ Oaks double in spectacular fashion.

Already she has joined Enable at the head of the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe betting and all roads lead to Longchamp in October.

On the most dramatic weekend of the flat season Enable was beaten on her seasonal reappearance to Charlie Appleby’s Ghaiyyath who also looks Paris bound.

Of course Aidan O’Brien also has Japan and Magical so we are in for a very special race later in the season.

John Gosden is one of the most intriguing characters in racing and his reflections on Enable were fascinating following her defeat in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Sunday.

A third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win remains her ultimate target in the autumn and she satisfied her trainer when second to Charlie Appleby’s Ghaiyyath over a trip short of her optimum.

However, Gosden believes Enable could face a tricky task at Longchamp in October should 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine Love be in opposition, with the six-year-old having to concede 7lb to her younger rival.

We have seen it time and again over the years where that weight advantage can swing the pendulum in favour of the younger horses.

“Enable took it well, she had a good blow after the race. It’s always a worry when you haven’t run since October and she was coming back as a six-year-old mare, but I thought her demeanour was wonderful,” Gosden said.

“You are never going to catch Ghaiyyath round Sandown over a mile and a quarter when he gets a nice easy lead.

“He’s a magnificent horse and a great galloper. To that extent we were delighted to finish second.

“If you are a stock man and work with animals, you get used to them and I could feel and see that her metabolism had changed as she’s got older.

“She’s finding it hard to get tight, the race will have helped, but you can’t keep trying to do it at home.

“A third Arc would be an extraordinary achievement. This year you’ve got to look at the three-year-olds. “For me there was one outstanding three-year-old performance in Europe and that was by a certain filly in the Oaks (Love).”

Jessica Harrington is having a superb season and has already had 23 winners.

While the dual purpose trainer is better known for her exploits over jumps with horses like Moscow Flyer and Sizing John, her two-year-olds are in magnificent form with stable jockey Shane Foley riding with extreme confidence.

But the master trainer is taking her time over a target for her Group One winning filly Albigna.

The three-year-old holds entries for both the Green Room Meld Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday and the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh a week later, and could take up either engagement.

“She’s in the Meld Stakes at Leopardstown and she’s also still in the Irish Oaks. So we’re yet to decide — there are various options for her,” Jessica Harrington said.

“She doesn’t want good to firm ground. As long as the ground is nice, she’s ok — it was just a bit quick at the Curragh on Guineas day, that was all.”

Harrington also issued an update on Millisle, who finished second in the Group Three Coolmore Sioux Nation Lacken Stakes at Naas on Saturday.

The filly was running for a second time since reverting to a distance of six furlongs, having previously suffered her heaviest defeat when finishing seventh in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Despite regaining her form at her preferred trip, the three-year-old will not take up her early entry in the July Cup and will instead be targeted at a contest closer to home.

“We’ll run over six or seven furlongs now. We’ll probably look for races in Ireland next — the plan is for her to run her next race here.”

The Galway Festival is appearing on the radar and the seven-day racing marathon will go ahead behind closed doors.

A couple of firms have priced up the Galway Plate with Gordon Elliott’s Galvin topping the market.

He was an easy winner of the BoyleSports Chase in Killarney during the week justifying long odds-on favouritism.

Over the coming weeks plenty of horses will be seen getting their prep run in for the unique undulations of Galway.

Another interesting contender from Leeside might be the Willie Mullins trained Bachasson.

Owned by the O’Connell family from Glanmire, this French bred is highly talented on his day and might slip under the radar.

Entries for both the Galway Hurdle and Plate will be released next week.

Although Galvin looked to have a relative easy task on paper his jockey Davy Russell said: “It wasn’t much of a race but it was nice to get him out and was ideal for him.

“He is versatile enough ground-wise and if he was to be competitive in a Galway Plate he’d have to reproduce his career best form.”

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