Galileo’s Rhododendron Battles to Opera Success

By Sean Cronin

Susan Magnier colourbearer Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was no match for Winter (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) nor Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) when runner-up in the G1 1000 Guineas and G1 Epsom Oaks, respectively, and bounced back off a seventh in Leopardstown’s G1 Matron S. last month to claim Sunday’s G1 Qatar Prix de l’Opera in game fashion. Positioned in touch racing fifth after the initial exchanges as The Black Princess (Fr) (Iffraaj {GB}) clocked the fractions under Arc-winning jockey Frankie Dettori, last term’s G1 Moyglare Stud S. third and G1 Fillies’ Mile heroine was asked to stretch approaching the final quarter-mile and kept on resolutely under a late drive once hooking up Hydrangea (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) with 300 metres remaining to deny that stablemate by a head. Lady Frankel (GB) (Frankel {GB}) closed strongly to finish a neck further back in third. “[Trainer] Aidan [O’Brien] gave us every encouragement and was very hopeful that she’d run a big race,” said winning part-owner Derrick Smith.

RHODODENDRON (IRE), f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (MG1SW-Eng, G1SW-Ire G1SP-Fr, $941,139), by Pivotal (GB). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor Derrick Smith; B-Orpendale, Chelston Wynatt (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Seamus Heffernan. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng G1SP-Ire, 10-4-3-1, €912,220. *Full to Magical (Ire), GSW G1SP-Ire, $175,688, to Flying the Flag (Ire), GSW-Ire GSP-SAf, $195,702. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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