Ups And Downs For O’Brien At Epsom And French Derby Prize Stays At Home
Aidan and Donacha Together For Another Classic Success
Friday’s Oaks at Epsom had a wide-open look to it in advance of the race, but in the end it went the way it has so often in the recent past as Aidan O’Brien claimed a seventh success. Considering he had five of the nine runners on the day, that perhaps isn’t the biggest surprise. Even O’Brien didn’t seem to know which was the best of his quintet in advance of the race, but we have a pretty good idea now as daughter of Galileo, Forever Together proved to be much too good.
This one had run an eye-catching trial behind stablemate – and choice of Ryan Moore here – Magic Wand when getting in the clear all too late in the Cheshire Oaks. Here she showed what she could do with a clear run, a slightly longer trip and a stiffer track. Travelling much the best as the race began in earnest, it soon became clear she would have too much for the Godolphin runner Wild Illusion on the run to the line. 4½l was the winning margin in the end. The Irish Oaks looks like being the next target on the back of this impressive display.
The last time the father and son team combined for classic success of course came in this season’s 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket won by the mighty Saxon Warrior. That horse was up in the next big race of the weekend. But would he deliver in Saturdays Derby?
Mighty Masar Slays Saxon
With the Oaks in the record books attention now turned to the most talked about horse of the season to date. Unbeaten in four, including in the 2,000 Guineas last time out, Saxon Warrior had been almost universally labelled as the next big thing and possible Triple Crown winner. Being sired by Japanese sensation, Deep Impact, this is a horse with almost unique global appeal and a win here would have sent his profile into the stratosphere.
Epsom is the place where heroes are made, but it is also the place where bubbles are burst, and it was the latter scenario which befell the O’Brien trained odds on favourite. Whilst it is true that he was trapped in a pocket and didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs, he was still in the clear in ample time to make some sort of impression but could manage only a plodding on fourth in the end.
This was to be the day for the boys in blue of Godolphin as they finally, finally claimed success in flat racings Blue Riband. Many have tried over the years, including the brilliant Dubai Millenium, all have failed. Until now. A blistering winner of this years Craven Stakes, a slightly disappointing effort in the 2,000 Guineas led to Masar heading into this race as something of a forgotten horse. Hindsight is a lovely thing, but being by Derby winning sire New Approach, it was perhaps always likely that this longer trip would see him to best effect, and so it proved.
Travelling all over his rivals with a furlong to go, he was soon pushed into the lead buy William Buick, and whilst Roaring Lion and Dee Ex Bee both threw down mighty challenges, it was Masar who toughed it out to the delight of trainer Charlie Appleby.
Quite a unique result this one following so much recent Irish success, with the first thee home all being trained in Britain.
Bary The Man In French Derby
It may not have come from the most expected source, but one of the sons of Deep Impact did win a European Classic this weekend. Where Saxon Warrior failed in England, Study Of Man Succeeded in France.
In the hands of Stephane Pasquier he came on top in a thriller to hold off Patascoy by half a length in Sundays French Derby. Whilst this contest is held over 1m2½f, the manner in which Pascal Bary’s charge saw it out on soft ground augurs well for a step up to 1m4f and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will surely now be the ultimate objective. A race for which he is now a 20/1 shot with Betfair.
Royal Ascot Fast Approaching
It’s not long till Royal Ascot gets underway and it promises to be as big and exciting as ever. We’ll have all the best Royal Ascot betting offers and tips for all the biggest races.