There’s a song by Fleetwood Mac called Big Love and that is exactly what horse racing feels for the latest Aidan O’Brien trained star filly.
Like the album Tango In The Night from which it’s taken topping the charts, Love exploded onto the scene from this established stable.
O’Brien has saddled many before that have been hits, but few so hotly progressive from two to three. Given a lovely toe into the Epsom Oaks, Love broke Enable’s track record.
While her achievement that day was somewhat overshadowed by a shocking result in The Derby, what she did should not be forgotten.
Were the other fillies looking out for Love? She demolished her stable companion Ennistymon by nine lengths and that one is a pretty handy yardstick.
Options abound for this wonder-filly. Should she try and win a third Classic with an Irish Oaks tilt? How about the King George at Ascot?
What of the Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival? Love is on for a Triple Crown bid and emulating Oh So Sharp if the St Leger comes under consideration.
Above all, she would get maximum sex and weight-for-age allowances in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. All of these are attractive targets, so plotting a path is what “the lads” of Coolmore must do.
Irish Oaks and King George feel soon for Love
O’Brien basically gave Love a month between her 1000 Guineas triumph and Epsom Oaks romp. The Irish equivalent is just two weeks after the latter.
In a normal season, the gap is about three times as large and ample time for an Oaks double. Given the obvious strength-in-depth at Ballydoyle, there are other fillies who could turn up and take the prize money.
The King George at Ascot, meanwhile, is three weeks after Epsom – still not the same break. Dual Arc heroine Enable targets that race, so the clash could come too early.
There is also Magical to consider. The Pretty Polly Stakes scorer has always been held by Enable, but the older mares are quoted at shorter odds in the King George betting.
Love is a top-price 5/1 with bookmakers for the 1m 4f Ascot Group 1. If connections were serious about a King George tilt, she would be shorter or Enable and Magical would be at bigger odds.
O’Brien is not a trainer that overexposes his best horses. Given the way that Love stepped so effortlessly up in trip, it’s unlikely that Glorious Goodwood comes under consideration either.
The Nassau Stakes there is a drop back in trip of a quarter-mile. Love has the speed and class to come hurtling downhill to the line at Goodwood, but it hasn’t been mentioned.
It may be a little longer before we see her again, then. The Coolmore ammunition is such that they could mop up prize money in these midsummer features without getting Love out of her stable.
Yorkshire Oaks and St Leger definitely doable
Goodwood apart, early August sees something of a lull after what will be one of the busiest summers in British Flat racing history.
O’Brien has won the Yorkshire Oaks four times and usually sends runner over from the Emerald Isle to the Ebor Festival.
Not that it appears Love needs it, but running here would give her the opportunity to freshen up. Her Classic successes haven’t looked arduous at all.
The Yorkshire Oaks has been Enable’s stepping stone to the Arc in two of the last three years. Again, a clash of the generations we all want to see coming on the Kanvesmire would be a real highlight.
Love wasn’t stopping at the line at Epsom and, being by the mighty Galileo, should have no problem in stepping up in trip.
O’Brien and the Coolmore set are students of history, so the St Leger and completing a seldom seen fillies’ Triple Crown may appeal.
The oldest Classic is on 12 September this year. It’s the same date that the Irish Champion Stakes is run at Leopardstown and three weeks out from the Arc.
Love is again a top-price 5/1 with the bookies for a historic Doncaster victory. However, another Coolmore Classic winner in Santiago looks earmarked for the St Leger and heads the betting after Irish Derby glory.
Grand Prix prep run for Arc shouldn’t be overlooked
Connections are dreaming big with their two star three-year-olds. One of the curiosities of this unique year is a change to the usual French pattern.
On 13 September, day two of Irish Champions Weekend, the Grand Prix de Paris is being run at Longchamp. This three-year-olds only Group 1 race over the Arc course and distance is usually in high summer.
Not this year, though. Love hasn’t raced in France yet, so O’Brien getting vital course experience into her could prove wise.
This is three weeks out from the Arc too. It would either the Grand Prix de Paris or the St Leger with the races about 24 hours apart.
What of the Arc itself? Love ranges in price from 4/1 down to 3/1, ahead of Sandown Eclipse one-two Ghaiyyath and Enable.
Bar those three it is double figure prices and easy to see why. Love probably has two further runs at most in her before a tilt at Europe’s richest and France’s most famous race.
The way that the Arc terms Are structured means three-year-old fillies get weight and age allowances. To quote Ruby Walsh, “I don’t think there’s any horse in training that can give Love 9lbs”.
Whatever her route to Longchamp, she remains the new queen of the turf. Will the older generation be able to stop her when nobody in her own age bracket has looked like landing a blow? That’s the beauty of Love!