Dual Classic heroine Love limbers up for Arc in Darley Yorkshire Oaks

Wed 19 Aug 2020

Aidan O’Brien hopes Love can set herself up for a crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

Ultra-impressive in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom, Love sets the standard in Thursday’s Group One, in the absence of Enable.

O’Brien has been pleased with what he has seen at home since her Classic win at Epsom.

“I suppose we were a bit unsure going into the Guineas, because we’d always viewed her as a middle-distance filly,” said O’Brien.

Aidan O'Brien talks to Gary O'Brien about Love

“We were obviously delighted with what she did at Newmarket, and it all went well between then and the Oaks.

“Obviously, what she then went and did in the Oaks we were delighted with, and everything she has done between then and now has pleased us.

“Hopefully this is the start of her preparation for the start of the autumn. We’re looking forward to seeing her run.”

Asked if Love will head straight from York to the Arc, O’Brien said: “We’ll take things one race at a time, but it is very possible that we could do something like that.

“We won’t get ahead of ourselves and take it race by race, but she could do something like that.”

Love is not the only Irish challenger – with Jessica Harrington sending over one of her army of top-class fillies, One Voice.

She was narrowly denied a breakthrough Group One win in the Nassau Stakes by Fancy Blue, trained by O’Brien’s son Donnacha, and steps up to a mile and a half for the first time.

“We were delighted with One Voice’s run in the Nassau and she came out of the race really well,” said Harrington, before the latest leg in the Qipco British Champions Series.

“Fancy Blue had beaten my filly (Alpine Star) in the Prix de Diane, so we kind of had a bit of a line, and we felt our filly would improve again for going up in trip – which she did.

“The time before, at the Curragh, it was one of those stupid things. She got into a pocket and couldn’t get out, so we put a line through that. She didn’t have a hard race, and that’s why we went from there to Goodwood.

“She’s a filly that has improved all year and her pedigree suggests she should be even better over a mile and a half. I know it’s a big ask with Love in there, but you have to try. Tom (Marquand) got on well with her at Goodwood and I’m delighted to use him again.”

Enable’s trainer John Gosden runs two – Frankly Darling, no match for Love in the Oaks, and the unexposed Franconia, who won a Listed race last time out on just her third start.

With Frankie Dettori currently in France, James Doyle comes in for the ride on Franconia.

“It’s a nice ride to pick up,” he said. “She hasn’t done much wrong in her couple of starts this year and she’s obviously won at the track, which is definitely a plus.

“There’s plenty of upside to her. Obviously it’s going to be a tough race, with Love in there – she’s going to be a ridiculously short price, but quite rightly so I guess.

“Hopefully we go there with a nice chance.”

Ralph Beckett’s four-year-old Manuela De Vega – twice a winner at Haydock this season – and Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, who won a Salisbury Listed event last time out, complete the field.

Click here for our runner-by-runner guide

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