Even Song gives O’Brien 50th Royal Ascot win with Ribblesdale victory
Edited Press Release
Aidan O'Brien reached a significant milestone on Thursday at Royal Ascot.
Even Song gave her Ballydoyle trainer his 50th Royal Ascot victory when running out an impressive 1 1/2-length winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-G2).
"It's great to get 50 Royal Ascot winners but I'm a small part of a very big team and everyone works very hard. I'm very happy for everyone,” O’Brien praised his staff. “From the conception, to foaling, to bringing these horses along, everyone works very hard at Coolmore and Ballydoyle and I'm very grateful to them all.”
The 15-8 favorite was always traveling kindly for jockey Ryan Moore and stayed on strongly in the closing stages when asked for her effort.
"Everyone does a great job with her,” O’Brien said following the 12-furlong race. “Ryan rode her in Newmarket when she was third in the Pretty Polly and felt she could be the second best staying filly. We decided to leave her and come here rather than go to Epsom and it has worked out great. We felt she would get a mile and a half well and handle an ease in the ground. It is great when it works out and she is a well-bred filly too which is great.
"Ryan has given her a lovely ride and she's come there when she wanted to – I imagine he is very happy. She always been a professional filly but I was worried that she'd still be a little bit green and this is only her second run this year.
“It's worked out great. We were thinking that if everything went well today that we'd go to the Irish Oaks ([Ire-G1] at the Curragh) so I think that's what we might think of. She's a very well-bred filly and a half-sister to last year's St Leger winner (Simple Verse). She's a big mare as well so you'd imagine she'd improve and could be even better next year.”
Moore was also happy to have ridden his second Royal Ascot winner of the week.
"Even Song quickened up very well and showed a good turn of foot," he said. "They went slow and she relaxed very well in tight quarters. She is a very good filly.
“Aidan trained this filly with this race in mind and it has worked out. We went very slow but she is a high class filly. It all went according to plan."
Roger Varian was delighted with the performance of 33-1 Ajman Princess, who finished an excellent second to Even Song in the Ribblesdale.
Having traveled up near the lead throughout, the three-year-old filly stuck on resolutely for Andrea Atzeni to fill second for the fourth time in four career starts. With her first three starts all being in maiden company, the daughter of Teofilo excelled for the step up to Group 2 company and benefited from the fitting of a hood.
"We've always liked her,” Atzeni commented. “She is a filly who is a slow-learner. Her first couple of races she was pretty keen and with the hood on today and the ringbit she was a lot more settled. The winner (Even Song) went by me a bit quick but she run well and she stays well. She is a filly who will get better with time."
"She has run really well,” Varian said. “I really like this filly and I've been disappointed that we hadn't broken her maiden because she had good maiden form here at Ascot on her second start where she split two listed winners.
"It was a messy race last time at Leicester. There was no gallop and she was keen in behind. That is why I put the hood on her today. I always thought she would run better in a better race and they went a good gallop.”
For the future, the Newmarket handler suggested a maiden victory was a short-term target.
"At some point we need to win a maiden,” Varian remarked. “I think she is a filly who will improve with racing and age. She might even stay further.
"I'll speak to the owner and see whether we come back a level and make her a winner or we stay ambitious. One day she is definitely going to be a very nice filly, probably the priority is to make her a winner first."
John Gosden sent out Ribblesdale third The Black Princess, who finished one length adrift of second.
"It was a great run from a horrible draw on the outside,” Gosden said. “We had to go very much the long way round and considering that she ran a lovely race."
William Buick, who was aboard the daughter of Iffraaj, added, "I was stuck out a bit wide and then I got bumped into the middle of the track up the straight which didn't help. She's run one hell of a race. She's a really lovely filly."
Even Song photo courtesy of Ascot Racecourse via Twitter