All the news from Investec Ladies’ Day 2018

INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL 2018, EPSOM DOWNS

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

INVESTEC LADIES’ DAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 1

 

2018 INVESTEC DERBY GENERATING HUGE TV INTEREST IN JAPAN

 

Tomorrow’s Investec Derby has attracted worldwide TV interest, particularly in Japan, thanks to Saxon Warrior’s sire, the Japanese legend, Deep Impact

 

Tomorrow’s Investec Derby from Epsom Downs Racecourse in the UK will be the subject of unprecedented media attention in Japan, thanks to the participation of hot favourite Saxon Warrior, whose sire is the Japanese legend, Deep Impact.

Deep Impact is a former champion racehorse in Japan, who won seven Grade 1 races, including the Triple Crown. He is now the world’s most expensive advertised sire and stands at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan, where he commands a fee of ¥40m (around £275,000).

Racecourse Media Group (RMG), the UK-based media rights organisation which produces and distributes top-class horseracing around the world, and Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), owners of Epsom Downs Racecourse, have facilitated widespread coverage in Japan, where Deep Impact has a mammoth following.

The Investec Derby itself will be shown live for the first time on Japan’s specialist horseracing channel the Green Channel, while Saxon Warrior’s performance will be the focus of Sunday’s edition of Good Morning Japan, broadcast on NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai – Japan Broadcasting Corporation). Japan’s only public broadcaster is also filming at Epsom this weekend. The programme regularly attracts an estimated 10 million viewers and should Saxon Warrior win, the story will also be run on NHK’s news bulletins.

Fuji TV, the leading commercial broadcaster in Japan, will be airing a one-hour documentary dedicated to Saxon Warrior’s bid for victory in Britain’s richest race, which is expected to be viewed by a 6 – 8 million audience. The documentary team have been based in the UK and Ireland over the last month and have captured footage at Newmarket and Ballydoyle, the base of Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Saxon Warrior.

A number of other Japanese broadcasters are on standby to access the Investec Derby footage, should Saxon Warrior triumph.

Stephen Wallis, The Jockey Club Group’s International Director, said: “Saxon Warrior’s participation in the Investec Derby has triggered an explosion of media coverage in Japan. The interest is a result of the Japanese’s high regard for the tradition and heritage associated with the race, blended with their fanaticism for Saxon Warrior’s sire, Deep Impact.

“The Japan Racing Association has been a huge help in facilitating the media coverage in Japan, which will result in around 20 million viewers there being able to follow the story of Saxon Warrior’s bid for Investec Derby glory.”

The £1.5-million race has attracted other leading broadcasters from around the world, including NBC Sports in the US, which will be broadcasting a live two-hour programme.

European broadcasters taking live coverage include ITV, Racing UK (UK), TV3 (Ireland), National Sports Channel (Russia), Equidia Racing (France), Unire (Italy), TV Maritim Norge AS (Scandinavia) and TVP (Poland).

Live coverage will also be provided by broadcasters from further afield, including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada), SuperSport (South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa), Tellytrack (South Africa), Racing.com and Sky Racing Thoroughbred Channel (Australia), NZ Trackside (New Zealand), SportsMax (Caribbean) and Eleven Sports (Singapore).

The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region will be served by live pictures from Dubai Racing Channel while Yas TV will also be broadcasting a dedicated Derby programme in Abu Dhabi.

Delayed coverage will be widely available to news outlets across the world via the sports news video agency, SNTV, while Trans World Sport, the leading global sports magazine programme, affords the fixture added exposure. CNN is covering the race for its World Sport and Winning Post programmes, while Sina Sports will also be promoting the raceday in China.

 

TIPSTERS GO WILD FOR ILLUSION

The main focus on Investec Ladies’ Day is the Investec Oaks (4.30pm) and City A.M., official newspaper of the Investec Derby Festival, dedicates four pages to today’s racing. Bill Esdaile, the paper’s main tipster, believes the standout filly in the Classic is the Godolphin-owned Wild Illusion, while he also thinks Marie’s Diamond can take the opening Investec Woodcote Stakes (2.00pm).

Full marks go to the Daily Mirror as they are the only paper today to dedicate a full pull-out to this afternoon’s racing (the award winning Mirror Racing). David Yates, writing as Newsboy, naps Wild Illusion and thinks that a bit of give underfoot will suit her much better than the quicker ground did when she finished fourth behind shock 66/1 winner Billesdon Brook in last month’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

David Jennings sets the scene in the trade paper, the Racing Post, opining that today’s fairytale could come courtesy of Wild Illusion, who will give trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick their first Investec Oaks success should she be victorious. Godolphin supremo Sheikh Mohammed is, of course, no stranger to Investec Oaks success, having won the race seven times in the past (four in his own colours and three with Godolphin).

The Daily Mail’s Sam Turner (Britain’s No1 Tipster) is another in the Wild Illusion camp, while racing correspondent Marcus Townend reports on yesterday’s Investec Derby draw, where warm favourite Saxon Warrior was berthed in stall one.

Wild Illusion is indeed the pick of Rob Wright in The Times, who also agrees with City A.M.’s Bill Esdaile in that Marie’s Diamond rates a solid bet in the Investec Woodcote Stakes, while Jon Freeman in the i also tips Charlie Appleby’s filly for Classic glory.

The racing tipsters seem to be split into two camps – those that like Wild Illusion and those that think Perfect Clarity can give trainer Clive Cox his first Classic success.

 

The Daily Telegraph’s Marcus Armytage reckons it is ‘hard to see past Perfect Clarity’ in the Investec Oaks, an opinion he shares with Guardian writer Greg Wood, who thinks the filly can give her sire Nathaniel his second Oaks success in as many years following Enable’s fine victory 12 months ago.

 

The Sun’s Steve Jones, writing as Templegate, is another firmly in the Perfect Clarity camp and reasons that her stamina will be the key to landing today’s big race.

Although the Epsom Guardian offers no advice as to the outcome of this afternoon’s Investec Oaks, it does inform its readers that the police are fully prepared ahead of tomorrow’s main feature, the Investec Derby.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s premier Classic, both the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star have produced fine Investec Derby sweepstake kits as the big race approaches, while The Daily Telegraph has a four-page Investec-sponsored wrap around its sports section, in which four racing luminaries pick their favourite-ever Investec Derby winner.

Racing broadcaster and national treasure Clare Balding explains that the panel, which comprised herself, Telegraph racing correspondent Marcus Armytage, ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani and Derby historian Michael Church, had a tough choice but eventually plumped for Nijinsky (who landed the 1970 Investec Derby) as the greatest ever winner of the premier Classic and world’s greatest race first run in 1780.

Shergar, who won the 1981 running by a record 10 lengths, edged 1971 winner Mill Reef into second place, while the also rans included Sea The Stars (2009), Pinza (1953), Sea-Bird (1965), Never Say Die (1954), Generous (1991), Reference Point (1987) and Grundy (1975).

WILL PRINCE DASH TO VICTORY NUMBER FOUR?

 

There will be more prestigious races run at Epsom Downs this weekend, but none will be faster – or more visually spectacular – than the Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ Handicap (3.45pm on Investec Derby Day – Saturday, June 2).

The famous five-furlong sprint, which is all downhill until the final 100 yards, is the fastest of its kind in the world. The current world record for five furlongs – 53.69 seconds – was set in the ‘Dash’ by the John Best-trained Stone Of Folca in 2012.

The ground that day was Good to Firm; the current going description of Soft, Good to Soft in places suggests that Stone Of Folca’s record will not be broken on Investec Derby Day 2018.

But the 20-runner, £100,000 race still holds a great deal of interest; can Caspian Prince win it for an unprecedented fourth time?

The nine-year-old is now trained by Michael Appleby, to whose yard he moved in March. Each of his Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ successes has been for a different trainer: Tony Carroll in 2014, Dean Ivory in 2016 and Tony Coyle in 2017.

In total, the Dylan Thomas-sired Caspian Prince has run 81 times. He spent his early career in France under the care of Eoghan O’Neill, for whom he won four times. Trainer Tony Carroll bought him for E20,000 in November 2013, and Caspian Prince has been owned by Stephen Louch since then and has been handled by seven different trainers. He has won 18 times and has a career total of £637,295 in prize-money.

Caspian Prince will carry 9st 9lb in tomorrow’s Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ and will be ridden by Adam Kirby, who partnered him to win the race back in 2014. He carried 9st 8lb to victory last year, and 9st 10lb when successful in 2016, so another bold bid in a race he clearly relishes is expected. He is currently available at odds of 11/2 with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.

There are two other former winners of the race in this year’s field. Duke Of Firenze, who won the 2013 renewal for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, is now trained by David Griffiths. The Pivotal nine-year-old carries top weight of 9st 10lb and will be ridden by David Allan. And Desert Law, victorious in the 2014 ‘Dash’ for Paul Midgley and Martin Lane, returns again. He has a weight of 8st 12lb and Luke Morris will be in the saddle on this occasion.

The fact that the winners of the past five runnings of the Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ all take their chances once more on Investec Derby Day underlines the longevity of sprinters’ careers. They become very popular with racing fans and there is sure to be a huge reception if Caspian Prince can pull off a quartet of victories.

PUNTERS HEAD FOR THE HILLS

 

Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, reports a good spread of money over all seven races on Investec Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs.

The best-backed horse of the day comes in the final race, the Investec Zebra Handicap (5.50pm), where Galloway Hills has been all the rage at the foot of the handicap and the David Elsworth-trained three-year-old is now the 7/2 favourite from an initial price of 11/2.

In the feature race, the Group One Investec Oaks (4.30pm), punters cannot get enough of Wild Illusion at the head of the market. The Godolphin-owned filly has consolidated her position as favourite and is now a 2/1 shot (from 5/2).

“Galloway Hills has been backed off the boards this morning and punters clearly think that the fact that Silvestre De Sousa is prepared to do 8st 2lb is a strong pointer towards his chance this afternoon,” said Unibet spokesman Brett Williams. “Elsewhere, Wild Illusion has been very strong in the Investec Oaks and has been the clear pick ahead of the fillies’ Classic.”

The other Group One race of the day is the Investec Coronation Cup (3.10pm) where red-hot favourite Cracksman has been backed to the exclusion of every other horse and is now the 1/4 market leader (from 3/10).

In the opening Investec Woodcote Stakes (2.00pm), True Belief has been backed into 3/1 (from 5/1) to give the Godolphin operation the best possible start to the Investec Derby Festival, while King’s Pavilion has been nibbled into 11/2 (from 13/2) for the Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap (2.35pm). Ajman King is another favourite which has been well supported at Epsom Downs this afternoon and the Roger Varian-trained four-year-old is now a 6/5 shot (from 6/4) for the Investec Wealth & Management Handicap (3.45pm).

 

Unibet Market Moves

 

2.00pm: Investec Woodcote Stakes

True Belief – 3/1 (from 5/1)

2.35pm: Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap

King’s Pavilion – 11/2 (from 13/2)

3.10pm: Investec Coronation Cup

 

Cracksman – 1/4 (from 3/10)

3.45pm: Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap

 

Ajman King – 6/5 (from 6/4)

4.30pm: Investec Oaks

 

Wild Illusion – 2/1 (from 5/2); Forever Together 11/2 (from 6/1)

 

5.50pm: Investec Zebra Handicap

Galloway Hills – 7/2 (from 11/2)

INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL 2018, EPSOM DOWNS

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

INVESTEC LADIES’ DAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 1

 

INVESTEC OAKS FACTS

 

Youngest jockey: Donnacha O’Brien, 19, Forever Together.

Oldest jockey: Seamie Heffernan, 45, I Can Fly.

Youngest filly: Forever Together, foaled May 25, 2015

Oldest filly: Give And Take, foaled Feb 4, 2015.

Winning-most jockey: Ryan Moore, two wins (Snow Fairy 2010, Minding 2016).

First Investec Oaks ride: Padraig Beggy, Flattering (Beggy had his first ride in a Classic at Epsom last year aboard Investec Derby winner Wings Of Eagles), Wayne Lordan, Bye Bye Baby.

Winning-most trainer: Aidan O’Brien with six winners from 54 runners (Shahtoush 1998, Imagine 2001, Alexandrova 2006, Was 2012, Qualify 2015, Minding 2016). O’Brien runs five in the premier fillies’ Classic this year.

William Haggas (Give And Take) is the only other trainer in the race to have a previous winner, Dancing Rain 2011.

Trainer with the fewest Investec Oaks runs: Clive Cox,one runner (Miracle Seeker, 11th in 2008).

Oldest trainer: William Haggas 57 (Give And Take).

Youngest trainer: Charlie Appleby 42 (Wild Illusion).

Owners debuting: Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah (Ejtyah), Nicholas Jones (Give And Take), Dr Bridget Drew and David Keast (Perfect Clarity).

Winning-most owner: Coolmore partnersips, five wins (Shahtoush 1998, Imagine 2001, Alexandrova 2006, Was 2012, Minding 2016).

Most represented sire: Galileo – four runners Bye Bye Baby, Flattering, Forever Together, Magic Wand.

Galileo is represented by two grandsons Ejtyah (Frankel) and Perfect Clarity (Nathaniel), taking his representation to six from nine runners.

All bar one runner (Wild Illusion, Dubawi x Rumh (Monsun)) has Sadlers Wells in the first three generations.

LAW GOES COSMIC FOR FAHEY

 

Richard Fahey took the first race of the Investec Derby Festival, the Investec Woodcote EBF Conditions Race, with Cosmic Law.

Ridden by P J McDonald, the No Nay Never two-year-old colt was highly impressive, drawing away from the field to score by six lengths at odds of 10/1 in a time of 1min 11.95 seconds.

Fahey said: “I was expecting him to run well. But it’s amazing – you sit in the car on the way here, reading the paper, and you see he is the outsider. You think I’m getting this very wrong here – or someone is, anyway. It’s just nice to see him win. He’s a grand horse and a horse we like. He’s quite a laidback character and is getting better with racing, but to win by six lengths – I didn’t see that.

“Six furlongs suits him – five is his bare minimum. He went to Carlisle [over that trip] and only got going 50 yards from the line and took off, and PJ [McDonald] said the penny just dropped. Some horses need racing, some need looking after, but he’s one who definitely improved from racing.”

Asked about what Cosmic Law what do next, he replied: “Coming down in the car I was thinking about the Coventry [at Royal Ascot] and then that we had no chance, but it is definitely in my mind and I will speak to [owner] John Dance. He’s a good-minded horse and if any horse could do it, it’d be him.

“We galloped nine horses on our grass and they have all won. They all finished in a heap that day and I thought ‘Well, there’s no star there’, but it looks like there are three or four stars among them. We are quite happy at the moment with the two-year-olds.

“I am delighted for John Dance, who is a big supporter of the northern trainers. It was great to see Laurens win in France the other day – she is representing the north, not just John – and I am delighted for him because he invests a lot of money and it’s great that he is getting the reward.”

COSMIC DANCES TO VICTORY

Cosmic Law ran his rivals ragged when producing a scintillating display in the Investec Woodcote Conditions Race at Epsom Downs this afternoon.

The 10/1 shot broke smartly and was always handy under jockey P J McDonald as the pair tracked early leader (and 2/1 favourite) Marie’s Diamond.

Richard Fahey’s colt moved to the front just after the two-furlong pole and quickened away in the style of a very good horse to record a devastating six-length victory from the 12/1 runner-up Usain Boat.

“Cosmic Law was professional today,” said McDonald.

“He was very green first time out when Tony Hamilton rode him and Tony did a great job of educating him and looking after him.

“He came on a ton to win at Carlisle and I thought he was massively overpriced today. The Carlisle race was a good race and did not get the recognition it deserved coming into today.

“I was quietly confident about the horse. I thought he would improve for the step up in trip and I was not worried about the ground.

“He is going in the right direction and has given us no reason today not to go [for the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot over six furlongs on June 19], provided he comes out of today OK.

“I will leave the decision to Richard (Fahey) and the boss (owner John Dance) but I can’t see a reason why we won’t be going to have a crack.

“It is soft ground. You could maybe call it good to soft, soft, but it rode soft on this lad.”

2.00pm Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes

1 Cosmic Law (John Dance) Richard Fahey 2-9-05 P J McDonald 10/1

2 Usain Boat (Blue Starr Racing) George Scott 2-9-05 Frankie Dettori 12/1

3 Mendoza (Manton Thoroughbreds III) Brian Meehan 2-9-00 Oisin Murphy 8/1

2/1 fav Marie’s Diamond (6th)

Distances: 6, nk

Time: 1m 11.95s

Tote Win: £12.30; Places: £4.80, £3.70 Exacta: £134.00

 

USAIN SETTLES FOR SECOND IN WOODCOTE

 

Newmarket trainer George Scott was delighted with the performance of Usain Boat (12/1) who finished second to runaway winner Cosmic Law (10/1) in the first race of the Investec Derby Festival, the Investec Woodcote Conditions Race.

The two-year-old son of Casamento kept on well in the closing stages under Frankie Dettori to finish six lengths behind the impressive Cosmic Law ridden by P J McDonald in the six-furlong event.

Scott said: “Usain Boat has run a brilliant race. I’m thrilled with the run and Frankie gave him a great ride.

“The winner had flown and we rode him for second, so we’re really pleased.

“He has going to mature mentally for that run and I think the experience of Epsom will really help him – we’re very pleased.

“If the ground is suitable at Royal Ascot, we will head to the Chesham [Saturday, June 23 7f, Listed].

“I imagine he is also a horse who we could go to France with to try and win a race on soft ground out there as he loves soft conditions.”

GOING AFTER THE FIRST

P J McDonald, on board the 10/1 six-length winner Cosmic Law, said: “Soft.”

Frankie Dettori, jockey of 12/1 second placed Usain Boat, said: “It is good to soft, no worse than that.”

Oisin Murphy, partner of third Mendoza, said: “As described.”

Ryan Moore, partner of fifth Its the Only Way, said: “It is nearer to soft than good.”

Silvestre De Sousa, on 2/1 favourite Marie’s Diamond, said: “It is good to soft.”

Andrea Atzeni, on board fourth Cotubanama, said: “It is proper good to soft ground.”

William Buick, rider of last True Belief, said: “It is soft, good to soft in places and hard work. I think the clerk of the course has called it right.”

MEDBURN LEAVES HEDGER IN DREAMLAND

 

The Peter Hedger-trained Medburn Dream survived a stewards’ enquiry to land the £50,000 Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap at Epsom Downs under Franny Norton.

Always prominent, the 5/1 shot hung towards the stands’ side rail in the home straight, coming across David O’Meara’s Mythical Madness (11/2).

However, Medburn Dream kept on gamely in the closing stages to score by a length and a quarter in the extended mile contest.

78-year-old Hedger, based in Hook, Hampshire, started out as a racehorse transporter before taking out a training licence in 1989.

He has saddled four winners at Epsom from seven runners in the last five years.

Medburn Dream is unbeaten in two starts for Hedger having scored at Windsor on his debut for the yard earlier this year.

Hedger said: “I said to a lot of people that I really fancied this horse today and I didn’t want to have egg on my face.

“Franny thought he was far enough clear and the jockey in second didn’t stop riding.

“Medburn Dream likes having a rail on the right had side and they all came down the centre and he just hung right.

“He does it well and we now need to decide where to go next. If he wins another race, we might target the Betfred Mile at Goodwood.

“Good ground or softer is his preferred ground and he is as genuine as they come.

“He was gelded in the winter and we’ve brought him along slowly.

“He went to Windsor last time and won on good to firm ground and then this was the next option.”

NORTON KEEPS DREAMING

Franny Norton survived a stewards’ inquiry to win the £50,000 Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap over a mile and 113 yards with the Peter Hedger-trained Medburn Dream.

The Showcasing five-year-old hung right towards the stands’ rail in the closing stages of the race, but won by a length and a quarter from Mythical Madness at odds of 5/1.

Norton said: “I was fairly confident that I would keep the race – I’m just a bit disappointed that I’ve got a three-day ban for it. My horse does hang right and I took Mythical Madness slightly off his line, but my horse was adamant that he was going there and rather than taking him off his stride, I just let him drift a little bit. He was always going to win and I was always clear of the second horse.

“When I had a look today, the rail was not as far our as I thought it would be. I felt it was too far to go over to the stands’ side. The aim was to go down the middle because felt it was better when I cantered down. This horse just hung to his right, so it was more accident than design.

“It’s nice to come here on a big day and get a prize. They are lovely owners and have been loyal to me. There’s a good Saturday handicap in him [Medburn Dream].”

KING’S TO STEP UP IN TRIP

The David O’Meara-trained Mythical Madness was beaten by one and a quarter lengths by Medburn Dream (5/1) in the £50,000 Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap over a mile and 113 yards at Epsom Downs this afternoon but his supporters had a glimmer of hope following the race when a stewards’ enquiry was called.

The winner, partnered by jockey Franny Norton, had drifted off a true line towards the stands’ side and, in the process, caused the 11/2 runner-up, ridden by James Doyle, to switch in order to get a clear run.

However, the stewards decided that the interference was not enough to reverse the placings, meaning that the original result stood.

The 7/2 favourite, King’s Pavilion, finished a further two and a half lengths back in third and his trainer, Jason Ward, felt that a step up in trip was now on the cards for the son of King’s Best.

“He’s a year older and I suspect he wants 10 furlongs nowadays,” said Ward.

“When I bought him – he’s a King’s Best – I always wanted to go a bit further with him. We probably overdid the dropping him in at Ripon (two runs ago when third behind Mutamaded) and I think he would have won that day if we’d been a bit more positive.

“He wants this sort of ground (soft) and we’ll step him back up in trip next time out.”

2.35pm Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap

1 Medburn Dream (Eddie Evans) Peter Hedger 5-8-13 Franny Norton 5/1

2 Mythical Madness (J Chua) David O’Meara 7-9-02 James Doyle 11/2

3 King’s Pavilion (Peter Ward) Jason Ward 5-9-03 Ben Curtis 7/2 fav

Distances: 1¼, 2½

Time: 1m 47.24s

Tote Win: £6.20; Places: £2.20, £1.90, £1.50; Exacta: £34.90

INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL 2018, EPSOM DOWNS

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

INVESTEC LADIES’ DAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 1

 

INVESTEC DERBY FACTS

 

Winning-most trainers: Aidan O’Brien, with six wins from 72 runners since 1998 (2001 Galileo, 2002 High Chaparral, 2012 Camelot, 2013 Ruler Of The World, 2014 Australia, 2017 Wings Of Eagles). John Gosden, trainer of Roaring Lion and Sevenna Star, has won the Investec Derby twice (Benny The Dip, 1997 and Golden Horn, 2015). Dermot Weld (Hazapour) and William Haggas (Young Rascal) are the other two trainers with runners this year to have won the premier Classic before. Weld scored with Harzand in 2016, while Haggas took glory with Shaamit – his first Investec Derby runner – in 1996.

Oldest trainer: Dermot Weld, 69

Youngest trainer: Harry Dunlop (Knight To Behold), 42

Derby debutant: Harry Dunlop has his first Investec Derby runner in Knight To Behold.

Winning-most jockey: both Ryan Moore, who rides the favourite Saxon Warrior, and Frankie Dettori, who will be aboard Hazapour, have won the Investec Derby twice. Moore took it in 2010 with Workforce and in 2013 with Ruler Of The World, while Dettori’s victories came courtesy of Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015.

Oldest jockey: Frankie Dettori, 47

Youngest jockey: Donnacha O’Brien (Kew Gardens), 19

Most experienced jockey: Frankie Dettori, with 22 previous rides in the race.

First-timers: Richard Kingscote (Knight To Behold), Robert Havlin (Sevenna Star)

Oldest horse: Kew Gardens, born January 20, 2015

Youngest horse: Dee Ex Bee, born May 3, 2015

Most successful owners: The Coolmore partnership (Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor), with five runners in this year’s Investec Derby (Delano Roosevelt, Saxon Warrior, Kew Gardens, The Pentagon, Zabriskie), have owned all or part of the six of trainer Aidan O’Brien’s winners of the race, plus the 2011 victor Pour Moi, trained by Andre Fabre. The Aga Khan, owner of Hazapour, has owned five Investec Derby winners to date: Shergar in 1981, Shahrastani in 1986, Kahyasi in 1988, Sinndar in 2000 and Harzand in 2016.

A sponsor’s dream: Bernard Kantor, owner of the William Haggas-trained Young Rascal, is Managing Director of Investec, sponsor of the Derby Festival.

Champion sire: Galileo, who won the Investec Derby in 2001 for Aidan O’Brien, has three runners in this year’s race (Delano Roosevelt, Kew Gardens, The Pentagon). He is also broodmare sire of Saxon Warrior – who is the first Japanese-bred horse (by Deep Impact) to run in the Investec Derby – and the John Gosden-trained Sevenna Star.

Classic contender: Saxon Warrior, the winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, bids to become the 38th horse to follow up a 2000 Guineas victory with Investec Derby success. The last was Camelot, also trained by Aidan O’Brien, in 2012.

CRACKSMAN LEAVES IT LATE

 

The red-hot favourite Cracksman, ridden by Frankie Dettori, left it late but eventually got on top in an eventful running of the Group One Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs this afternoon.

The eventual runner-up Salouen (33/1) was given a peach of a ride by jockey Silvestre De Sousa and almost made every yard of the running but was denied by a head, with the 2/7 favourite getting up in the shadows of the post.

Cracksman’s trainer John Gosden was in a reflective mood after the Group One event and pinpointed Royal Ascot as the four-year-old’s next target.

“I was pleased with the way he finished,” said the trainer.

“He’s got a lot of guts and he’s got a lot of class. I could see from a long way out that Frankie’s elbows were just moving a little and, coming down Tattenham Corner, he wasn’t comfortable.

“However, when he finally met the level ground, he just flew. They were strung out weren’t they? This is testing ground – I hope it dries out for tomorrow. They were well strung out though and they are all decent mile and a half horses.

“I don’t know why but he wasn’t comfortable during the race – it certainly wasn’t the horse we know. However, he showed guts to get up and win and that’s what I’m pleased about.

“It was a brilliant ride from Silvestre (De Sousa on runner-up Salouen) as it’s very difficult to come from behind on this ground – especially if you’re not enjoying running downhill.

“I’m pleased he showed so much courage though – it’s a good test for a horse. He didn’t really take off until he met the rising ground. We’ll point him towards Royal Ascot now (for the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 10 furlongs) – it’s only 19 days away but he loves the track. He gets to Swinley Bottom and eats up the ground – he adores it.

“I only really enjoyed the last 50 yards of that race – but Frankie didn’t panic. It was a lot more exciting than people thought it would be though with a 1/3 shot as favourite!”

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer was a relieved man after the race.

“It was quite a surprise. The other horse kept going and that was as close as I like it!

“Cracksman is fantastic. He is so well-bred and a bit similar to Golden Horn (Oppenheimer’s Investec Derby winner in 2015) in many ways. He loves racing, but we knew he doesn’t like Epsom. The first time he ran at Epsom over a mile and a quarter, he struggled a bit, and it was the same in the Derby. He definitely fell down the hill. And it was the same again today.

“This is the last time we will be running him on a severe downhill.”

CRACKSMAN WINS BY THE SKIN OF HIS TEETH

 

Odds-on (2/7) favourite Cracksman prevailed in the Group One Investec Coronation Cup – but only by a head from 33/1 shot Salouen.

It was a third Group One for the four-year-old son of Frankel, who is trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Dettori has now won five Investec Coronation Cups – Swain in 1997, Singspiel in 1997, Daylami in 1999, Mutafaweq in 2001 and now Cracksman.

The jockey said: “It was a decent pace. Cracksman was a bit sleepy today, but he does not enjoy galloping downhill and when I wanted to close the gap, I couldn’t. He felt lethargic, like he did in the Derby last year.

“Silvestre [de Sousa, Salouen’s jockey] got five lengths on me and, God, he made it hard work for me but once we flattened out, the turbo kicked in. Then he started to motor and I thought I might still run out of time, but we got there. I didn’t want to win like that, but, a bit like Man United, we find a way to win, and we did.

“You did not see the best of Cracksman today. He was never happy on the track – he is so big -and we know he is a better horse than he showed today. His class pulled him through because any other horse would have downed tools and finished second.

“It was a massive effort to make that ground up. The damage was down round Tattenham Corner because I couldn’t really lay up.

“It wasn’t a Champion Stakes or a Great Voltigeur performance, but it’s three times we’ve taken here and he’s run a very similar race each time – lethargic, not responsive round Tattenham Corner and in the straight. It was only in the last 100 yards that he made the two lengths up.

“I am happy that I’ve won, but I wanted to show the world a good display. Now that we’ve got this one out of the way, I think a track where he meets the ground is more for him, like Ascot in the Champion Stakes. We got this job done but by the skin of my teeth.”

 

AGONY FOR SALOUEN AS CRACKSMAN LANDS CORONATION

 

Trainer Sylvester Kirk was left wondering what might have been after 33/1 chance Salouen, the outsider of the six runners was edged out in the thrilling closing stages of the £420,000 G1 Investec Coronation Cup by 2/7 favourite Cracksman.

Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, Salouen set a steady gallop in the mile and a half contest and quickened up smartly in the home straight to go clear.

However, the John Gosden-trained Cracksman, ridden by Frankie Dettori, finally got going in the closing stages to score by a head in a gripping finish at Epsom Downs.

Salouen was 13th in last year’s Investec Derby, with Cracksman third, and Kirk was delighted with the four-year-old son of Canford Cliffs.

Kirk said: “I’m delighted with Salouen as we have seen him do what we think he was capable of.

“He jumped out in front and made the running and has just been beaten by a very good horse.

“Of course we are disappointed but we would have been delighted with that result beforehand.

“I thought he was home and hosed. I don’t usually count my chickens, but I thought a furlong out he had won.

“He was the outsider of the race and he had won from the front before so we were happy to let him go and do it.

“We’ll sit back and find a little race for him before aiming for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

“It’s a pleasure for a small yard like us to have a nice horse like him.

“Cracksman was laboured and looked to be under pressure from a long way out, so I thought Salouen was going to hang on – I’m very proud of the horse.

“It was a great race and I’m delighted we’ve come. He has been in plenty of Group One battles and it was lovely that he shows that he really does belong at that level.”

 

FANTASTIC SECOND FOR SALOUEN

 

Salouen almost defied his odds of 33/1, the joint-longest price in this year’s renewal of the Investec Coronation Cup, coming home a head second to 2/7 favourite Cracksman.

The son of Canford Cliffs was 13th in last year’s Investec Derby, but his return to Epsom was received as a resounding success by Fanny Kirk, wife of trainer Sylvester Kirk.

 “It is absolutely fantastic!” said Kirk “To be that close a second to Cracksman shows that he is a serious horse, it is just fantastic. I thought we had won it for a moment.

“I am just thrilled for the owner, Ronan [Balasuria] and all the team at Cedar Lodge. The team have all worked so hard.

“We have always known he was good and he has shown us it today. Last year he nearly fell over in the Investec Derby.

“I think we have the Prix de l’arc de Triomphe in mind for him and we will probably go with the same jockey [Silvestre de Sousa] as he rode fantastically well today.

“Salouen is a horse that loves going off in front, he is a fantastic mover and he loves going on the top of the ground. The ground today didn’t overly suit today but he is all heart and he puts it all in.

“It is almost a fairytale but I am happy with second.”

 

3.10pm £420,000 Investec Coronation Cup (Group 1) 1m 4f 6y – Result

1 (6) CRACKSMAN JOHN GOSDEN 9ST 0LB FRANKIE DETTORI 2/7 FAV

2 (4) Salouen (IRE) Sylvester Kirk 9st 0lb Silvestre De Sousa 33/1

3 (1) Windstoss (GER) Markus Klug, Germany 9st 0lb Adrie de Vries 20/1

4 (2) Idaho (IRE) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Ryan Moore 8/1

5 (3) Hawkbill (USA) (Sheepskin C/P) Charlie Appleby 9st 0lb William Buick 6/1

6 (5) Yucatan (IRE) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Donnacha O’Brien 33/1

Winner owned by Anthony Oppenheimer

Time: 2m 38.49s

Distances: hd, 3¾, 4½, 17, 24

Breeder: Hascombe And Valiant Studs

Breeding: 4 b c Frankel – Rhadegunda (Pivotal)

Tote Win: £1.10 Places: £1.10, £8.90 Exacta: £11.30

FIRST INVESTEC CORONATION CUP SUCCESS FOR OWNER ANTHONY OPPENHEIMER & FOR TRAINER JOHN GOSDEN

 

FIFTH INVESTEC CORONATION CUP SUCCESS FOR JOCKEY FRANKIE DETTORI FOLLOWING SWAIN (1996), SINGSPIEL (1997), DAYLAMI (1999) & MUTAFAWEQ (2001)

 

AJMAN THE EPSOM KING

 

The Roger Varian-trained Ajman King showed just why punters had put their faith in him when running out the authoritative two and three quarter length winner of the Investec Wealth and Investment Handicap at Epsom Downs this afternoon.

The 5/4 favourite, who had been as big as 2/1 when prices were first chalked up for this race last night, was always travelling sweetly for jockey Andrea Atzeni and, although the pair didn’t have the best passage through the race, Ajman King quickly put the race to bed when he found daylight.

Varian was positively purring after the race but was not quite sure where the four-year-old would go next.

“It’s never easy watching when you have a short-priced favourite in a handicap,” said the trainer.

“I’ve been nervous watching the racing all day. It’s tacky ground, they’re coming top-side and you need luck in running.

“From a high draw, they all come up and almost pin you on that stands’ side rail. I liked how he did it in the end – he made me go a bit greyer though!

“I’m not sure where he’ll go next as I think he likes give in the ground.

“I really don’t know. I think he needs a bit of time between his races as well.

“He’s clearly a good horse though and there are plenty of nice races ahead for him.”

 

3.45pm Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap

1 Ajman King (Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum) Roger Varian 4-9-06 Andrea Atzeni 5/4 fav

2 Brorocco (Kingsclere Racing Club) Andrew Balding 5-9-01 David Probert 10/1

3 Dark Red (The Hon Ronald Arculli) Ed Dunlop 6-9-10 Ryan Moore 11/1

Distances: 2¾, 2½

Time: 2m 10.27s

Tote Win: £1.90; Places: £1.10, £2.60, £2.90; Exacta: £16.80

 

AJMAN KING DELIVERS FOR VARIAN & ATZENI

 

The well-regarded Ajman King (5/4 favourite) justified the hype by registering his third victory at Epsom Downs in the £60,000 Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap.

Ridden by Andrea Atzeni and trained by Roger Varian, the four-year-old son of Lope De Vega met trouble in running in the home straight, but quickened up smartly to score by two and three-quarter lengths in the 10-furlong contest.

Atzeni said: “Ajman King travelled well and whilst it was a rough race, I had plenty of horse underneath me and he ran on really well.

“He met some trouble in running but he kept on nicely when we moved towards the stands’ side rail and he found another gear.”

Regarding future targets, Atzeni continued: “We will have to see what the handicapper does, but he keeps on improving and is going the right.

“Roger and the team at home have done a great job with him – we could have a nice horse to challenge for prizes throughout the rest of the season now.”

BROROCCO PERFORMS WITH CREDIT

The Andrew Balding-trained Brorocco finished second in the £60,000 Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap, beaten two and three-quarter lengths by the 5/4 favourite Ajman King at odds of 10/1.

Brorocco, a five-year-old by Shirocco owned by the Kingsclere Racing Club, was ridden by David Probert.

Balding said: “It was a good effort and probably the ground is slowly than he ideally wants. But he’s performed with credit and was beaten by a very good horse. We’re pleased with the run.

“The John Smith’s Cup [at York] will be his main aim, but we’ll work out how we get there in due course.”

Dark Red, trained by Ed Dunlop and ridden by Ryan Moore, took third place, a further two and a half lengths back, while the Hughie Morrison-trained Not So Sleep was fourth.

Morrison said: “The fear was that it would turn into a bit of a sprint.  He was always going to be a bit free but he is less free if they go a good gallop. They just didn’t go a good gallop. He looked well beat two out but ran on when he got his second wind. We would have never have beaten the winner.

“We will keep aiming at these types of races.”

AIDAN AND DONNACHA JOIN TOGETHER FOR OAKS VICTORY

Forever Together’s superb four and a half length victory in the Investec Oaks was a seventh in the fillies’ mile and a half Classic for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Ridden by O’Brien’s son Donnacha, who won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket aboard Investec Derby favourite Saxon Warrior last month, Forever Together was sent off at odds of 7/1. Wild Illusion, the 5/2 favourite, finished second.

Aidan O’Brien first won the £500,000 Group One with Shahtoush in 1998. Since then, Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015) and Minding (2016) have been added to the roll of honour.

Forever Together is a daughter of Galileo out of the Theatrical mare Green Room, also dam of Group One winner Lord Shanakill. She is the first maiden to win the Investec Oaks since Sun Princess in 1983.

O’Brien said: “This is incredible. I am so delighted for everyone; Padraig who looks after her, Emmet who rides her, then John [Magnier], Michael [Tabor], Derrick [Smith], Sue, Gay and Doreen. It is brilliant for everyone.

“Forever Together is a staying filly who gets the trip very well and is obviously by Galileo, which is a massive advantage.

“Donnacha gave her an unbelievable ride. I am over the moon.

“It went according enough to plan. We weren’t sure about the ground – who would act on it and who wouldn’t. Donnacha rides her in all her work and he was very happy with her after Chester [she finished second in the Cheshire Oaks]. She was still a maiden until today, but the ground was so bad [in Ireland this spring] we couldn’t stand it, so we skipped the maidens and she ran a lovely race at Chester.

“I think we will go to the Irish Oaks now. Obviously we will have to see what the lads want to do, but you’d be thinking she’d love the Curragh. We’re very happy with all the fillies, really.

“We’re delighted and so grateful to a lot of people that we are in this position and we don’t take that for granted for one minute. Donnacha is a very good rider – he’s very cool and confident. He’s been watching races since the day his eyes opened so tactically he’s very aware, and very confident to make his own decisions and stand by them.”

 

FOREVER THE OAKS QUEEN

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Forever Together (7/1) stayed on strongly to land the Group One Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs this afternoon.

The result was a red letter day for the O’Brien family as Aidan’s son, Donnacha, was on board the three-year-old filly in the premier fillies’ Classic and the pair galloped away on the stands’ side rail to record a four-and-a-half-length victory from the 5/2 favourite, Wild Illusion.

The 19-year-old was celebrating his second British Classic success, following his victory on Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and was visibly delighted following the race.

“Forever Together was very impressive,” said the jockey.

“I got a beautiful trip through the race following Ryan (on board stablemate Magic Wand). He edged over and kept me company over to rail. It played out perfectly and the rail seems to be the place to be. She is very genuine and galloped out to the line really well. She is a proper staying filly.

“I should have been a lot closer at Chester but got into a bit of trouble. I thought a week or two ago that she had a really good chance, then the rain came and I was a bit worried. She seemed to handle it really well, but I was not expecting her to do that.

“When you are riding one of his (father Aidan’s horses), you have a chance. It does not matter what it is. He is an absolute genius and is able to do things with these horses that I don’t understand. He just tweaks little things and brings out massive improvement. I don’t know how he does it but am trying to learn as much as I can.

“It’s fantastic. She’s a real tough filly and relaxes beautifully in her races. I got a nice run down the rail and she stayed on really strongly. I knew my filly would stay well and knew if I had a chance two out that I’d be bang there as she’d hit the line well.

“I saw Magic Wand at the two pole but, when she dropped away, I knew it was my race. You then just hope there’s nothing else coming up and it’s a relief when you hit the line.

“It’s nice to get the Oaks win today and hopefully we can double up in the Derby tomorrow.”

Donnacha partners Kew Gardens, trained by his father, in the £1.5-million Investec Derby, Britain’s premier Classic and richest race.

WILD ILLUSION SECOND FOR APPLEBY

Godolphin’s Wild Illusion (5/2 favourite) was a creditable second to the impressive Forever Together (7/1) in the fillies’ Classic, the £500,000 G1 Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, the three-year-old daughter of Dubawi travelled well into contention in the home straight but could not match the finishing kick of the impressive winner, trained by Aidan O’Brien and partnered by his son Donnacha O’Brien in the mile and a half contest, who won by four and a half lengths.

Appleby said: “Wild Illusion ran really well. She has just been outstayed I think. She has run a very solid race there.

“We thought stamina would be her real forte and when William made his move, I thought we were going to go through and win it, but Forever Together was on the rail and as we’ve already seen this afternoon, it is a little bit of an advantage.

“She didn’t look that comfortable coming down the hill but she came there to win her race and we got beaten by a better horse on the day.

“We didn’t lose too much in defeat, we just met one on the day who was a superior stayer.

“Wild Illusion has lost nothing in defeat and lives to fight another day.”

Jockey William Buick said: “I’m very proud of her. She has grown up a hell of a lot and had only one run this year in the 1000 Guineas.

“Me and Donnacha were basically in the same place and it was a great fight but full credit has to go to the winner.

“There weren’t any challenges to the draw. Up the hill, you have to use a bit of speed. The ground has changed a few things but I wouldn’t know if that would affect things tomorrow.

“We were drawn one but we weren’t unlucky in any way and I wouldn’t call it a bad draw.

“She is a filly who stays a mile and a half and has a bit of zip and class. She has finished second in an Oaks so we are really happy with her.”

BEATEN JOCKEYS

William Buick, on the 5/2 favourite and second placed Wild Illusion, said: “She ran well, stayed and handled the ground. They will all prefer good ground but she handled that ground well. I thought the filly that won the race (Forever Together) has improved a lot from Chester and just put the race to bed.”

Wayne Lordan, on 8/1 chance and third Bye Bye Baby, said: “She bowled away. She likes to bowl away and I was happy for her to do so. But she just wasn’t good enough on the day.”

Ryan Moore, on fourth Magic Wand (4/1), said: “She ran a very good race, but she didn’t enjoy the ground.”

Padraig Beggy, on fifth home Flattering (11/1), said: “I ran a good race. The ground is getting a little bit shifty now and when we came to the straight she changed her legs a couple of times. She stayed on well to the line.”

James Doyle, on sixth Give And Take (16/1), said: “It was just a bit disappointing. We had hoped she would run a bit better than that. She never really got into a rhythm.”

Adam Kirby, on seventh Perfect Clarity (5/1), said: “The race went very smoothly and was very cleanly run. There are no excuses but unfortunately she hated the ground. She came with a live chance but just faltered on the ground. She is still a very good filly and there is still a lot of fun to be had with her.”

Seamie Heffernan, eighth on I Can Fly (9/1), said: “I ran terrible.”

Jamie Spencer, on ninth Ejtyah (25/1), said: “The ground was against her.”

4.30pm £500,000 Investec Oaks (Group 1) 1m 4f 6y – Result

1 (3) FOREVER TOGETHER (IRE) AIDAN O’BRIEN, IRELAND 9ST 0LB DONNACHA O’BRIEN 7/1

2 (1) Wild Illusion (Sheepskin C/P) Charlie Appleby 9st 0lb William Buick 5/2 Fav

3 (6) Bye Bye Baby (IRE) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Wayne Lordan 8/1

4 (9) Magic Wand (IRE) (Tongue Strap) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Ryan Moore 4/1

5 (5) Flattering (IRE) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Padraig Beggy 11/1

6 (7) Give And Take William Haggas 9st 0lb James Doyle 16/1

7 (8) Perfect Clarity Clive Cox 9st 0lb Adam Kirby 5/1

8 (4) I Can Fly Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 0lb Seamie Heffernan 9/1

9 (2) Ejtyah David Simcock 9st 0lb Jamie Spencer 25/1

Winner owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier

Time: 2m 40.39s

Distances: 4½, 3½, 3, ½, 1½, 4½, 59, 22

Breeder: Vimal And Gillian Khosla

Breeding: 3 b f Galileo (IRE) – Green Room (USA) (Theatrical (IRE))

Tote Win: £7.70 Places:£2.30, £1.20, £2.50 Exacta:£30.20

FOREVER TOGETHER BECOMES THE FIRST MAIDEN TO WIN THE INVESTEC OAKS SINCE SUN PRINCESS (1983)

 

SIXTH INVESTEC OAKS FOR COOLMORE PARTNERSHIPS FOLLOWING: 1998 SHATOUSH (DIANE NAGLE & SUE MAGNIER), 2001 IMAGINE (DIANE NAGLE & SUE MAGNIER), 2006 ALEXANDROVA (SUE MAGNIER, MICHAEL TABOR & DERRICK SMITH), 2012 WAS (DERRICK SMITH, SUE MAGNIER & MICHAEL TABOR), 2016 MINDING (DERRICK SMITH, SUE MAGNIER & MICHAEL TABOR)

 

SEVENTH INVESTEC OAKS SUCCESS FOR TRAINER AIDAN O’BRIEN FOLLOWING 1998 SHATOUSH, 2001 IMAGINE, 2006 ALEXANDROVA, 2012 WAS, 2015 QUALIFY & 2016 MINDING. 31ST BRITISH CLASSIC SUCCESS

 

FIRST INVESTEC OAKS SUCCESS FOR JOCKEY DONNACHA O’BRIEN. SECOND BRITISH CLASSIC SUCCESS FOR THE JOCKEY

VOLTA CHARGES HOME FOR JOHNSTON

 

Lake Volta was a comfortable winner of the £50,000 Listed Investec Surrey Stakes over seven furlongs at odds of 3/1. The Ravens Pass three-year-old, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, beat Aurum by four and a half lengths.

Johnston said: “It all worked out – I’d said to the jockeys, find that rail, and they were there one behind the other [Johnston also had the P J McDonald-ridden Rufus King, who finished third, in the race] and the one in front [Lake Volta] couldn’t be passed. Silvestre had a perfect position from the start. Anything that wanted a crack at him, including Rufus King, had to go over on to the perhaps slightly stickier ground.

“Silvestre does have an incredible affinity with Epsom. When trying to select our jockey for the Derby [Johnston runs Dee Ex Bee in tomorrow’s Investec Derby] I went through the stats, and his strike-rate here is phenomenal. He works very hard and we’ve seen a couple of examples today of him in his absolute element, head down. There’s nobody stronger. I think we’ve got the right man for the Derby tomorrow.

“The Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot might be a possibility for Lake Volta, but we’ll have to go home and think about it.”

KINGS DISLIKES THE GROUND

Kings Shield, the 9/4 favourite, could only manage fourth in the Listed Investec Surrey Stakes, beaten just under seven and a half lengths.

The son of Scat Daddy is trained in Newmarket by John Gosden, who said: “He wasn’t happy on the ground, but he needs racing and we ran him.”

Oisin Murphy, the retained jockey for the colt’s owners, Qatar Racing, added: “We knew that the ground wouldn’t be to his liking and he ran a race like that. But he needs to run as he needs the experience. He is a nice horse going forward.”

DE SOUSA OFF THE MARK

Jockey Silvestre De Sousa got off the mark at this year’s Investec Derby Festival after Lake Volta stormed to a four-and-a-half-length victory in the Listed Investec Surrey Stakes over seven furlongs at Epsom Downs.

The well-backed 3/1 shot was always travelling sweetly for his jockey and the pair strode clear against the stands’ side rail to record a commanding success over runner-up Aurum (5/2). Earlier in the afternoon, he had nearly pulled off a tremendous shock, leading until close home on 33/1 chance Salouen in the Group One Investec Coronation Cup.

De Sousa explained afterwards how he was always happy with his mount throughout the race.

“The race went pretty much to plan,” said the jockey.

“He bounced out of the gates, travelled nicely down the hill and then quickened up when I asked him to. It was a good performance.

“He likes the ground. For me, he travels a bit better on this sort of ground and gets a better position on it, which makes my job easier.

“I was confident from the gate to be honest – he was travelling that well. I know it’s easy to say after the horse has won but I was always happy.”

5.15pm Investec Surrey Stakes (Listed)

1 Lake Volta (Sheikh Mohammed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 3-9-00 Silvestre de Sousa 3/1

2 Aurum (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 3-9-00 William Buick 5/2

3 Rufus King (Garrett J Freyne Racing) 3-9-00 P J McDonald 9/1

9/4 fav Kings Shield (4th)

Distances: 4½, 2¾

Time: 1m 24.34s

Tote Win: £4.00; Places: £2.10 £1.70; Exacta: £12.10

FOREVER TOGETHER WINS THE INVESTEC OAKS

 

19-year-old jockey Donnacha O’Brien registered his first success in the Investec Oaks following the impressive four and a half-length victory of 7/1 chance Forever Together, trained by his father Aidan, in the mile and a half fillies’ Classic at Epsom.

The three-year-old daughter of Galileo chased in fourth the eventual third and stable companion Bye Bye Baby (8/1) in the early stages of the contest, before travelling powerfully into contention in the home straight.

Forever Together showed a smart turn of foot in the closing stages to quicken clear of Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, the 5/2 favourite, to provide Donnacha O’Brien with a second British Classic success in 2018, following Investec Derby favourite Saxon Warrior’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.

Forever Together is a daughter of Galileo out of the Theatrical mare Green Room, also dam of Group One winner Lord Shanakill. She is the first maiden to win the Investec Oaks since Sun Princess in 1983.

Donnacha O’Brien said: “It’s absolutely incredible to win the Oaks. I didn’t expect to be here but when you’re riding for Dad [Aidan] anything can happen and it’s paid off twice already [Saxon Warrior, 2000 Guineas].

“She ran really well at Chester last time and I thought she would have finished a lot closer to Magic Wand had she not met trouble in running.

“I was a bit worried about the ground as I thought that she would have wanted qucicker ground, but I knew that if she did handle it, she would go close.

“The race went perfectly. She jumped out great and I had a great tow into the race. The stands’ side rail seemed to be the place to be.

“It worked out well and she responded nicely under pressure – she hit the line strongly.

“It’s very special to win the Oaks. It was a race I always wanted to win and I have to thank everyone for giving me the opportunities.”

Forever Together ran in the colours of Michael Tabor. This was the first time Tabor’s colours have been carried to victory in the G1 Investec Oaks.

A delighted Tabor paid tribute to O’Brien and his family, commenting: “It’s never a hard thing to put your faith in the O’Brien family when they deliver results like today.

“Their work ethic is superb and it’s a pleasure to be involved with them. We all get on very well which is something you want to happen.

“Even if you have success, you want to get on with people as it provides great enjoyment.

“I was happy to see one of the horses we had in the race win! You have to remember the winner was a late foal so it was a great performance.”

Paddy Power make Forever Together 6/4 to win the Irish Oaks.

O’BRIEN DELIGHTED WITH FOREVER TOGETHER’S INVESTEC OAKS WIN

Aidan O’Brien registered his seventh success in the Investec Oaks following 7/1 shot Forever Together’s impressive victory in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom Downs.

O’Brien, Britain and Ireland’s champion Flat trainer, first won the £500,000 G1 Investec Oaks with Shahtoush in 1998. Since then, Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015) and Minding (2016) have been added to the roll of honour.

Forever Together’s victory in the Investec Oaks was the master of Ballydoyle’s 31st British Classic victory.

In the press conference after the race, O’Brien commented: “I’m delighted for everyone who puts so much work in at Ballydoyle and Coolmore and I’m delighted to be part of such a team. It’s great for Padraig who looks after her, Emmet who rides her, then John [Magnier], Michael [Tabor], Derrick [Smith], Sue, Gay and Doreen. It is brilliant for everyone.

“Forever Together is a staying filly who gets the trip very well and is obviously by Galileo, which is a massive advantage.

“Magic Wand and Forever Together were maidens before the Cheshire Oaks at Chester so the plan was to go there as the ground was so soft at home and see how they got on.

“We knew our fillies were going to improve after Chester and both fillies had really progressed. Forever Together was progressing in her work after Chester where she didn’t really get a clear run, even though we thought she wouldn’t have caught Magic Wand.

“She is a big improving middle-distance filly and when they are improving like that, you don’t know where they are going to stop.

“There was no pressure training these fillies and we are so grateful to the lads who just let these fillies progress when they go to the track.

“Bye Bye Baby [third] went forward as she had the most experience and Donnacha was always going to sit third or fourth.

“It was always going to be straightforward and Donnacha knew the tactics and the filly inside out.

“Donnacha gave her a brilliant ride and he got a great position. He had her lovely and balanced coming down the hill and let her straighten herself up – it all went as we thought it might.

“With the ground being as it was, the longer trip was a little bit of an unknown for our fillies, but she saw it out really well.

“Donnacha is very tactically aware and is very confident. He has a great work ethic and knows what he has to do inside out. He is only 19 but I don’t have to say much to him as he knows what is going on.”

SAXON WARRIOR READY FOR INVESTEC DERBY BATTLE

 

Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien issued a positive bulletin on the well-being of hot favourite Saxon Warrior ahead of tomorrow’s Investec Derby at Epsom Downs.

The 11/10 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, Saxon Warrior is unbeaten in his last four starts.

He returned to action this year with a decisive success in the first British Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5, providing O’Brien with a ninth victory in the mile contest.

The three-year-old son of Deep Impact, a first British Classic winner for the Japanese-based stallion, followed up a striking maiden (1m) victory on debut at the Curragh in August last year, with wins in both the G2 Beresford Stakes (1m) at Naas in September and the G1 Racing Post Trophy (1m) at Doncaster in October.

O’Brien has won the Investec Derby on six occasions courtesy of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), and Wings Of Eagles (2017) and will become the joint winning-most trainer in the Classic’s 239th running alongside Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling, were he to succeed again this year.

Looking ahead to the premier Classic at 4.30pm tomorrow afternoon, Britain and Ireland’s champion Flat trainer said: “We’re very happy with Saxon Warrior. He is drawn in stall one but I’m sure that Ryan [Moore] will take his time with the horse.

“Ryan knows him inside out. He’ll take his time with the horse and let the race unfold. I don’t think they’ll go over to the stands’ side rail tomorrow as they have been doing today.

“He is a very uncomplicated horse and everything has gone well with him since Newmarket. We have four others in the race [Kew Gardens, The Pentagon, Delano Roosevelt and Zabriskie], so hopefully it will be a fair pace for everybody to have a fair shot of winning.

“After the Derby, you work out your best horses over a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half – that is what we are looking forward to seeing.”

 

FIRST EPSOM WINNER FOR O’KEEFFE

 

Shared Equity’s success in the seven-furlong £50,000 Investec Zebra Handicap, the final race of Investec Ladies’ Day, was a first at Epsom Downs for trainer Jedd O’Keeffe.

Ridden by Jack Garritty, the 9/1 chance, a seven-year-old by Elnadim, came home just a neck in front of Swift Approval and Oisin Murphy.

Yorkshire-based O’Keeffe said: “The jockey rode a super race. He wanted to be brave on him, he wanted to bag the near-side rail, and everything went to plan. First class.

“Shared Equity has pace – he would still probably be effective over six furlongs on proper slow ground, but he clearly stays this very nicely now. The ground is key to him. I think he could win over seven furlongs on good-ish ground, but the slower the better, really. The ground will always dictate wherever he goes and always has done.

“Obviously now I’ve got to work out whether he does merit entries in big six-furlong races like the Ayr Gold Cup, which has always been a plan of ours. He probably would be ok as long as the ground was proper soft. Jack said he’d be quite comfortable going to places like Haydock over seven furlongs. He can be quite versatile, to be honest.”

Asked what it was like to win a race on Investec Oaks day, he replied: “Unbelievable! I’ve had a few near misses here before, but to get a winner here is very special. It’s taken a long time! It’s such a good theatre here; it’s absolutely amazing.”

 

EQUITY STEALS THE SHOW

 

The Jedd O’Keeffe-trained Shared Equity (9/1) ran on gamely to land the final race on day one of the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs, the Investec Zebra Handicap.

Ridden by Jack Garritty, the seven-year-old son of Elnadim kept on tenaciously in the closing stages to score by a neck in the seven-furlong contest.

Garritty was thrilled to make the trip south from Yorkshire worthwhile.

He said: “That was a great performance from Shared Equity. He kept on strongly in the closing stages and kept fighting all the way to the line.

“It’s great for him to get his head in front and he deserved that.

“I think a bit of cut in the ground really helps him a lot and that was a big factor today.

“He handled the track really well and was very brave at the finish.

“It’s brilliant to ride a winner for Jedd at Epsom and I’m pleased to have made the long journey south and had a winner – I’m delighted.”

5.50pm Investec Zebra Handicap

1 Shared Equity (Carol & Paul Chapman) Jedd O’Keeffe 7-9-07 Jack Garritty 9/1

2 Swift Approval (JLM Racing) Stuart Williams 6-9-02 Oisin Murphy 25/1

3 Pastoral Player (The Pursuits Partnership) Hughie Morrison 11-8-13 Charlie Bennett (3) 40/1

9/2 jf Ripp Orf (9th), Galloway Hills (14th)

Distances: nk, 2

Time: 1m 25.09s

Tote Win: £12.00 Places: £3.00, £6.30, £11.80 Exacta: £275.40

SWIFT GAINS APPROVAL OF CONNECTIONS

25/1 chance Swift Approval, trained in Newmarket by Stuart Williams, gained the approval of his handler when coming home a neck second to winner Shared Equity (9/1).

Williams said: “I am very pleased with him, it was a great run. It is just unfortunate how the race panned out, we had hoped to make the running, but he didn’t quite get there.

“I think that has made the difference, the one that made the running has won. It looked a speed favouring track today.

“Our horse and jockey have done nothing wrong. We have just come up a bit short on the day.

“Someone has to win, that is racing – it is just a shame it wasn’t us!”

Oisin Murphy added: “It as a good run.”

Leading Trainers at the 2018 Investec Derby Festival

 

Trainer   1st  2nd  3rd

Mark Johnson   1  -  1

Aidan O’Brien IRE  1  -  1

Richard Fahey   1  -  -

John Gosden   1  -  -

Peter Hedger   1  -  -

Jedd O’Keeffe   1  -  -

Roger Varian   1  -  -

Charlie Appleby  -  2  -

Andrew Balding  -  1  -

Sylvester Kirk   -  1  -

David O’Meara  -  1  -

George Scott   -  1  -

Stuart Williams  -  1  -

Ed Dunlop   -  -  1

Hughie Morrison  -  -  1

Markus Klug GER  -  -  1

Brian Meehan   -  -  1

Jason Ward   -  -  1

Leading Jockeys at the 2018 Investec Derby Festival

 

Jockey   1st  2nd  3rd

Frankie Dettori  1  1  -

Sylvestre de Sousa  1  1  -

P J McDonald   1  -  1

Andrea Atzeni   1  -  -

Jack Garritty   1  -  -

Franny Norton  1  -  -

Donnacha O’Brien  1  -  -

William Buick   -  2  -

James Doyle   -  1  -

Oisin Murphy   -  1  -

David Probert   -  1  -

Charlie Bennett  -  -  1

Ben Curtis   -  -  1

Wayne Lordan   -  -  1

Ryan Moore   -  -  1

Oisin Murphy   -  -  1

Adrie de Vries   -  -  1

 

 

The 2018 Investec Derby Festival – Winners

 

Investec Ladies Day – Friday, June 1

2.00pm Investec Woodcote EBF Race 6f 3y

COSMIC LAW (John Dance) Richard Fahey 2-9-05 P J McDonald 10/1

2.35pm Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap 1m 113y

MEDBURN DREAM (Eddie Evans) Peter Hedger 5-8-13 Franny Norton 5/1

3.10pm Investec Coronation Cup (Group 1) 1m 4f 6y

CRACKSMAN (Anthony Oppenheimer) John Gosden 4-9-00 Frankie Dettori 2/7 Fav

3.45pm Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap 1m 2f 17y

AJMAN KING (Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum) Roger Varian 4-9-06 Andrea Atzeni 5/4 Fav

4.30pm Investec Oaks (Group 1) 1m 4f 6y

FOREVER TOGETHER (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-00 Donnacha O’Brien 7/1

5.15pm Investec Surrey Stakes (Listed Race) 7f 3y

LAKE VOLTA (Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 3-9-00 Silvestre de Sousa 3/1

5.50pm Investec Zebra Handicap 7f 3y

SHARED EQUITY (Caron & Paul Chapman) Jedd O’Keeffe 7-9-07 Jack Garritty 9/1

 

Race 1 – 2:00pm INVESTEC WOODCOTE EBF CONDITIONS RACE

Following the race William Buick reported that TRUE BELIEF (IRE), unplaced, ran wide on the bend.

Race 2 – 2:35pm INVESTEC CLICK & INVEST MILE HANDICAP

MASHAM STAR (IRE) wore earplugs which were removed at the start. An enquiry was held to consider the placings in this race after interference on the run to the line when the winner, MEDBURN DREAM, ridden by Franny Norton, hung right-handed across the course taking MYTHICAL MADNESS, placed second, ridden by James Doyle, off its intended line. The Stewards considered that the interference had not improved MEDBURN DREAM’s placing as the gelding was going away at the line and the winning distance was 1 ¼ lengths. Norton was suspended for 3 days for careless riding as he had allowed his horse to drift right, over some distance, without sufficient correction. The dates for the ban are June 5, 15 and 17.

Race 3 – 3:10pm INVESTEC CORONATION CUP (Group 1)

IDAHO (IRE) wore earplugs. The performance of IDAHO (IRE), which finished fourth, beaten 8¼ lengths, was considered. Aidan O’Brien could offer no explanation for the colt’s performance other than it may have been unsuited by the soft, good to soft in places, ground, and would prefer a faster surface. Following the race William Buick reported that HAWKSBILL (USA), placed fifth, stopped quickly.

 

Race 4 – 3:45pm INVESTEC WEALTH & INVESTMENT HANDICAP

Permission was given for BROROCCO to go early to post. Approximately 1½ furlongs out NATIVE FIGHTER (IRE), unplaced, hung quickly left-handed taking NEVER SURRENDER (IRE), unplaced, slightly off its intended line, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. The performance of MARATHA (IRE), which finished unplaced, was considered. Stuart Williams could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance.

Race 5 – 4:30pm INVESTEC OAKS (Group 1)

Following the race the Veterinary Officer reported that FLATTERING (IRE), placed fifth, lost her left fore shoe.

Race 6 – 5:15pm INVESTEC SURREY STAKES (Listed Race)

A Stipendiary Steward reported that he witnessed a ½ lb lead weight drop out of William Buick’s breeches after weighing out. The Stipendiary Steward and Buick were interviewed. Buick explained that he was not intending to carry the weight but was going to replace it with a drink of water. The rider was re-weighed prior to the race and drew the correct weight on weighing in. Buick was fined £650.

Race 7 – 5:50pm INVESTEC ZEBRA HANDICAP

Permission was given for BELLE MEADE (IRE) to wear a hood in the parade ring only and for PASTORAL PLAYER to go early to post. After the first furlong PASTORAL PLAYER, unplaced, hung left-handed on to GALLOWAY HILLS, unplaced, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. At the top of the hill GALLOWAY HILLS, unplaced, whilst running freely, interfered with RIPP ORF (IRE), placed sixth, who clipped heels, and with JUANITO CHICO (IRE), unplaced, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. Adam Kirby reported that JUANITO CHICO (IRE), unplaced, suffered interference in running and Silvestre De Sousa reported that GALLOWAY HILLS, ran too freely.

 

CROWD OF OVER 26,000 ON INVESTEC LADIES’ DAY

The attendance today at Epsom Downs, Investec Ladies’ Day, was over 26,000.

This was an increase on 2017, with the Queen’s Stand once again sold out.

Tomorrow, Investec Derby Day, Saturday, June 2, has very limited ticket availability.

The Queen’s Stand, Grandstand, Grandstand (reserved seats), Lonsdale Enclosure and Hillside Enclosure are all sold out.

There are a few hundred tickets remaining in the Upper Tattenham Enclosure, which are available to purchase online up to midnight tonight.

GOING CHANGE AFTER ANDREW COOPER WALKS COURSE FOLLOWING TODAY’S RACING

The going has been changed to Good to Soft, Soft in places after racing on the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, Investec Ladies’ Day.

Andrew Cooper, Epsom’s Clerk of the Course who is officiating at his 23rd Investec Derby Festival, said at 6.45pm: “I have tweaked the going description.

“It is now Good to Soft, Soft in places from Soft, Good to Soft in places. I have just walked the straight and it is has dried out a bit because of the pleasantly warm day.

“The straight is now Good to Soft, though I have left Soft in places in the description. I will reassess everything in the morning.

“The jockeys decided that the stands’ side rail was the best place to be this afternoon and, to be fair, it is a tried and tested route to take when the ground is soft at Epsom. I’ve said myself that, once you get over to that rail that it was a degree sounder than lower down – that’s what 22mm of rain and a couple of drying days does.

“I don’t think we’ve truly tested the inner to the middle area – at least not after the first race. However, the ground on the far side will never be as fresh for Investec Derby Day as it will be tomorrow as we’ll open up the rail (dolled out four yards today) and there will be plenty of fresh ground available on the inside.

“The forecast is for another dry night so I suspect they won’t come over to the stands’ side tomorrow – especially as the distance across will be significantly further with configuration changes to the rail.

“There is no longer any rain forecast overnight and tomorrow’s forecast is for it to be as warm, if not warmer, than it was today.”

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