Beverly D. scouting report: Wedding Vow
Trainer Aidan O’Brien reportedly had a couple of other fillies in mind (Together Forever and Outstanding) at first, but Wedding Vow’s career-best form has earned her the call-up.
You wouldn’t have seen this coming a month ago. The royally bred daughter of Galileo and Oaks (G1) runner-up Remember When (herself a three-quarter sister to Dylan Thomas) was still a maiden trying to live up to her pedigree.
In her sophomore debut, Wedding Vow was collared late in a soft-ground Leopardstown maiden by Zannda. An Aga Khan homebred, Zannda subsequently placed in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly and in the Blue Wind (G3) (to future Irish 1000 Guineas [G1] winner Pleascach) and recently landed the Give Thanks (G3).
Climbing into stakes company thereafter, Wedding Vow was a well-beaten second in the Victor McCalmont Memorial to Legatissimo, who went on to win the 1000 Guineas (G1), miss narrowly in the Oaks (G1) and the Curragh’s Pretty Polly (G1), and impress in the Nassau (G1). Finishing fourth in the McCalmont was older Beverly D. rival Carla Bianca (who was conceding the sophomores 17 pounds).
Off that performance, Wedding Vow was dispatched as the odds-on favorite in a weak Lingfield Oaks Trial, but had to switch out for room and could do no better than third. She looked a bit green, lugging in and taking a while to switch leads:
Wedding Vow added blinkers for the Ribblesdale (G2) at Royal Ascot, where she didn’t settle well in the headgear. A bigger problem was interference. When she was leveling off and making headway in the stretch, she appeared to lean inward again, just as a rival swerved out in front of her and caused mayhem. Wedding Vow was fortunate not to go down, so her seventh is best ignored.
Dropping in trip to nine furlongs for the July 19 Kilboy Estate (G2), Wedding Vow lost the headgear – and her maiden status. She uncorked an irresistible charge to win going away from the older Brooch:
In the aftermath, O’Brien mentioned possibly going to “races in America” without naming targets, so her Beverly D. tilt may have been in mind even then. Yet O’Brien wheeled her back for the August 1 Nassau at Glorious Goodwood. She rallied well while playing second fiddle again to Legatissimo:
"She ran a fantastic race and I couldn't be happier with her,” jockey Colm O’Donoghue said. “She is progressive and could well be better at four. She traveled well and gave a good kick a furlong and a half out, but Legatissimo kicked again and really showed her class. (Legatissimo) was a very, very good winner of the 1000 Guineas."
At the risk of being hypercritical, it should be mentioned that a couple of her Nassau rivals ran well below form (Star of Seville and Diamondsandrubies). The fact that Arabian Queen was third, in my mind, casts a slight question mark. Arabian Queen had failed to place in her three prior Group 1 attempts and trailed behind Amazing Maria and Euro Charline in the Falmouth (G1).
Still, that Legatissimo formline commands attention, and as a rapid improver, Wedding Vow has yet to reach her ceiling. The concern is she now lines up for her third race in less than a month, with a transatlantic flight to boot. Is it a case of striking while the iron is hot, or is it a bridge too far?
Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.