It was a Winter’s day in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile.
All the pre-race hype in the fillies’ Classic belonged to Rhododendron but she was upstaged by her stablemate as Aidan O’Brien completed a Guineas double at HQ.
After the success of Churchill in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the Ballydoyle mantle was handed over to the fairer sex on Sunday to see if a second strong favourite could land the glory.
But it was Winter, and not the seasonal variety, that proved too strong over the mile, as O’Brien clinched a one-two in the fillies’ Classic at Newmarket.
At around the two-furlong marker, Wayne Lordan brought his mount to the head of the field, and she exited the dip in the same manner she entered it, powering away for a two-length success ahead of Rhododendron. Daban, trained in Newmarket by John Gosden, was a neck back in third.
Winter’s victory provided Lordan with a first Classic winner, and he said: “I’m really enjoying it, when you get an opportunity like that, it’s what it’s all about.
“It was a very strong field but she was staying on strongly when second in the Leopardstown trial last year so I was looking forward to her going up to a mile.
“I thought I had a good chance of her going well and I think there is every chance she will get a mile and a quarter, but after that I don’t know.
“Any time you win a Classic it is very special and this is my first at Newmarket so it’s very enjoyable and I’m glad that I could get the job done.”
Winter had arrived with O’Brien from David Wachman, and had been highly thought of by her previous trainer.
“She’s a big powerful filly and obviously she gets a mile very well,” said O’Brien. “I think she’ll almost certainly get a mile and a quarter and after that we’ll have to see.”
Winter has been installed as 3-1 favourite for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, while defeated favourite Rhododendron has been made 5-2 favourite for the Epsom Oaks.
“Ryan [Moore] said his filly ran a very good race too so we are delighted with her as well,” said O’Brien.
“Rhododendron didn’t get a clear run but it doesn’t always work out. She came home well and you would have to be delighted with her run even though she got beat.
“We always thought she would get further than a mile.”