Aidan O’Brien produced a Newmarket Group 1 double on Saturday as Clemmie and U S Navy Flag edged the Ballydoyle handler closer to legendary US trainer Bobbie Frankel’s record of 25 Group or Grade 1 race wins in a year.
Clemmie, a sister to dual Guineas winner Churchill, got the ball rolling for the Tipperary-based trainer when winning the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.
Treasuring had taken the field along with Different League and Madeline close. Clemmie made her bid for glory two furlongs out, and even though Different League looked a serious threat, she couldn’t find anything extra in the final 100 yards as O’Brien’s charge pulled clear in the hands of Ryan Moore to win by a length and three-quarters, from Different League, with Madeline a further length and a half back in third place.
Speaking to the media following Clemmie’s success, the winning trainer said:
“She wants further but it’s her class that gets her through over six furlongs. She’s been progressing with every run and coming along lovely at home and to show that kind of class over six furlongs, you would have to be over the moon. She’s a lot like Churchill, she’s right in his mould. She’s got a great mind, plenty of speed, stays well and nothing fazes her so she’s a filly to look forward to.”
A winner at Group 3 and Group 2 levels prior to Saturday, Clemmie may now head Stateside to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Del Mar at the end of October.
Clemmie is now 3-1 favourite for the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas back at Newmarket next May and has been installed as second favourite at 10-1 for the Investec Oaks at Epsom next June.
The Group 1 double was completed shortly afterwards when U S Navy Flag (10-1), a brother to Roly Poly, caused a surprise in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, a race in which Aidan O’Brien was mob-handed.
The four Ballydoyle runners were headed by the recent Phoenix Stakes winner at The Curragh, Sioux Nation (11-2), but the Séamie Heffernan-ridden U S Navy Flag, who had been prominently ridden throughout, took the victory from another O’Brien inmate, Fleet Review, by half a length, with Cardsharp from the Mark Johnston yard a further two and a quarter lengths back in third place.
Aidan O’Brien, having won his 20th Group 1 of the year, said of the winner:
“He is long and he is powerful. I think he will go down the sprinting route, but there is nothing to say he won’t get seven furlongs. He is a hardy horse that is progressing and when horses are like that, you can keep going with them if they want to go, and I wouldn’t rule out the Dewhurst with him.”