Horses To Follow » Winter


Winter ran a cracking race to finish second to Hydrangea in the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last Saturday.

Drawn widest of all in stall 12, Aidan O’Brien’s filly was a little keener than ideal through the early stages of the race. She didn’t really drop the bridle until they started to leave the back straight, passing the five-furlong marker, as she was able to drop in behind Rehana into fourth place. Widest of all, all the way around the bottom bend, and fully four horse-widths off the inside rail as they turned for home, she came under pressure early in the home straight, but she responded to that pressure. She got past Rehana and into second place inside the final furlong, and she closed on Hydrangea all the way to the line, but just failed by a head to catch her better-fancied stable companion.

This was a really likeable performance from the Galileo filly. Given how keen she was early on, and how wide she was all the way around the bottom bend, from the end of the back straight to the top of the home straight, she did really well to get as close as she got to the winner, who had the run of the race, prominent throughout and always along the inside rail. There was also a lot to like about the manner in which Winter stuck her neck out and battled willingly for Wayne Lordan all the way to the winning line.

The Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial is often a strong race, it has been won in the recent past by 1000 Guineas winners Virginia Waters and Homecoming Queen, and this year’s renewal looked as strong as ever, with four of the first five from last year’s Moyglare Stud Stakes lining up against each other again. And three of the four fillies from the Moyglare filled three of the first four places on Saturday, with Winter doing best by far of the fillies who didn’t run in the Moyglare.

She raced just three times last season, she was beaten on her first two runs but she did well to win a seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk in August from a wide draw, 11 of 12. Five of the six fillies in her immediate wake that day who have run since have all won. By Galileo, she is out of the Choisir mare Laddies Poker Two, who won three of her five races, over six and seven furlongs, her last run and win being in the 2010 Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. But Winter is by Galileo, and she appeared to see out the seven furlongs well on Saturday, she was catching the winner on the run to the line after racing freely, so there is every chance that she will get a mile. She is an exciting filly, whichever route she goes down now.

8th April 2017