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Qualify Wins Gr1 English Oaks

Tuesday, 9th June 2015

Coolmore's Australian-bred stallion Fastnet Rock celebrated his first northern hemisphere Gr1 winner when Ballydoyle filly Qualify (Fastnet Rock-Perihelion, by Galileo) scored a surprise short head victory over race favourite Legatissimo and Lady Of Dubai in the time-honoured English Oaks (12 furlongs) at Epsom Downs on Friday. Qualify, who started at odds of 50-1, had entered the Oaks off two ordinary performances in the English and Irish editions of the 1000 Guineas, but trainer Aidan O'Brien, who collected his fifth Epsom Oaks trophy, said she had performed better than the bare form suggested. "She was very classy when she won her Group 3 very easily at the Curragh last year. The plan was to start at Newmarket and go to the Curragh. It went a little bit wrong in Newmarket first time out and Joseph (O'Brien) had to look after her," O'Brien told Racing Post. "Then we went to the Curragh and she ran a very nice race. She was buried in the field and no-one spotted her and no one was talking about her. She ran a really lovely race there and we were really happy with her." He added: "Colm [jockey Colm O'Donoghue] gave her a masterful ride. We always knew she the ability, she always worked like a high class filly. We were worried the ground wasn't quick enough today because she wants real hard fast ground. But obviously we're delighted." Qualify took her record to 3 wins (including the Gr3 Park Stakes) and 1 placing (the Gr3 Silver Flash Stakes) from 10 starts for £303,766 earnings. Qualify is the 19th Gr1 winner for champion sire Fastnet Rock, who shuttled to Ireland for five seasons but remained in Australia this year, reports breednet.com.au.

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