Love breezed away from the opposition to give Aidan O’Brien a sixth victory in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Ballydoyle handler fielded just one runner in the Classic and Love emphatically turned around last year’s Fillies’ Mile form with Quadrilateral to claim a cosy success under Ryan Moore.
Cloak Of Spirits set the early pace with 11-4 favourite Quadrilateral racing very keenly on her heels, while Moore settled Love (4-1) on the outside of the pack.
She travelled extremely well throughout the mile contest and when Moore gave the signal, Love picked up in fine style and shot clear in the final furlong to win by four and a quarter lengths.
Cloak Of Spirits kept on for second, with Quadrilateral a head back in third.
O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with her. She was doing everything right all through the winter and the spring.
“She’s a lovely filly. We always thought she would get much further than a mile. She showed she got a mile last year and we always thought we’d start here and then maybe go on to the Oaks and I think that’s what the lads were thinking about doing.
“She was well and that was her target all the time. Ryan gave her a beautiful ride, very uncomplicated, he got her in a lovely rhythm and I couldn’t have been happier really. He had her well balanced into the dip, she’s very genuine and she had her head out and ran to the line.”
The Guineas was being run a month later than originally planned due to the coronavirus shutdown and O’Brien admitted the situation presented some challenges.
He said: “It was a little bit tricky as it was a bit stop and start, usually it’s a little bit dangerous when you do that. You have a target, you think you have a target and you have to train for it and then it moves – it just makes it a little bit complicated.
“Everyone has been great, everyone has been very focused and everybody has put a lot of work into her.
“Obviously she’s a beautifully-bred filly by Galileo and I’m delighted for the lads. She’s a special filly.”
O’Brien felt last year’s Fillies’ Mile experience had stood Love in good stead for her Classic assignment.
He said: “We were very happy with her run last year (in the Fillies’ Mile). Looking at the race, it was a very small distance we had to make up.
“We were delighted with her run in the Moyglare and even at Royal Ascot. We thought she handled Newmarket very well and we thought the experience she had last year would have done her good for this year.”
Love is now as low as 6-4 with Coral for the Investec Oaks at Epsom on July 4 and O’Brien believes 12 furlongs should be within Love’s compass.
He added: “We always thought the Oaks was going to suit her well and the Guineas would be the start off. We thought she was going to be a filly from a mile up to a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half.
“We thought she would stay very well, but this was a nice starting point for her especially when the ground was lovely. The distance from the Guineas to the Oaks should be perfect for her.”
I’ve been second in a few Classics and it is horrible, but I’m delighted with the run
Of the placed horses, Richard Hannon said of Cloak Of Spirits: “I’m delighted with her. She did the donkey work and stuck at it. She is a very elegant, pretty classy filly. There will be a lot of good races in her. Maybe the Coronation Stakes could be next, but I will speak to Sheikh Obaid and see what he says.
“I think being out in front suits her and I think Andrea (Atzeni) rode her perfectly.”
He added: “I’ve been second in a few Classics and it is horrible, but I’m delighted with the run. I might not have given her a prep run as she didn’t look great a month ago, plus she won first time out last year so she doesn’t necessarily need it, but she will improve and there are definitely Group races in her.”
Roger Charlton said of the previously-unbeaten Quadrilateral: “She stayed on well, but just got a little tired in the closing stages. She could have probably done with a little more cover, but these races are being run from the front and nothing is coming from behind so you have to be handy.
“I was happy enough with that. The track probably doesn’t play to her strengths. Jason (Watson) seemed happy enough with the run.
“I don’t know what we will do going forward. I will talk to Prince Khalid (Abdullah) first. I’d imagine she would stay further, but we won’t be rushing her.”