Back in form Rhododendron holds off gutsy Hydrangea in the L'Opera
Seamie Heffernan urges Rhododendron past Hydrangea and Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore sided with Hydrangea following her narrow victory over another Ballydoyle inmate Winter in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

Rhododendron, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, had finished second in the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks earlier in the year, but had disappointed on her two most recent outings.

Aidan O'Brien's pair were never too far off the pace being set by John Gosden's The Black Princess and after fighting their way to the front in the final furlong, it was Rhododendron who claimed a narrow verdict.

Sky Bet reacted by cutting the winner to 8/1 from 14s for the British Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes and to 14/1 from 25s for the British Champion Stakes.

O'Brien said: "We've just been talking, me and Michael (Tabor, part-owner), about sending her (Rhododendron) to the USA for the (Breeders' Cup) Filly & Mare Turf. I think that will be the plan.

"She had a bad day the last time she came here (pulled up), which stopped her for six weeks, and the lads did a great job to get her back.

"She's all class and we thought she would win the Oaks, only for her to run into Enable at Epsom.

"I'm delighted with Hydrangea and there's a good chance that she could also go for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare."





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Fast Finishing Happily takes Lagarder
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Happily lunged late to beat the boys in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and earn quotes from Sky Bet of 6/1 (from 8s) for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and 7/1 (from 10s) for the Investec Oaks.

With Magical the chosen Ballydoyle representative in the Prix Marcel Boussac - finishing fourth - Happily instead took on the colts and was a hot favourite under Ryan Moore.

Charlie Appleby's pair of Mythical Magic and Masar controlled the pace, with leading home-trained runner Olmedo splitting the pair at the top of the home straight.

Masar responded to pressure to stay with the strong-travelling Olmedo, but neither had any answer when Happily quickened by in the last half-furlong.

Olmedo beat Masar to the runner-up spot, with Mythical Magic fading into fifth place.


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Reeler Breeders Cup Defense not certain its Ascot or there say's O'Brien

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01/10 
Highland Reel has the option of running in the Qipco Champion Stakes or heading to America for the Breeders' Cup.

Aidan O'Brien was forced to rule him out of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which he finished second 12 months ago, due to soft ground.

The five-year-old has won the Coronation Cup and Prince of Wales's Stakes this season but has not been seen since being beaten nearly 10 lengths by Enable in the King George at Ascot on soft ground.

O'Brien said: "We are going to wait and see.

"He has the option of taking in the Champion Stakes or the Breeders Cup. The lads will think about what they want to do.

"The ground we thought was going to be too heavy in the Arc that is why we didn't go there."






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