Horse Racing News – 5th June 2017

Eagles Electric in Derby Shocker and Gosden Able in the Oaks

This past weekend saw the third and fourth Classics of the British flat racing season take place at the Surrey venue of Epsom Downs. For many, the 1m4f Oaks and Derby are just about the premier contests of the calendar year, certainly for the three year old generation. With breeding value enhanced immeasurably by a win here, and this year’s Derby being the richest race ever run on British soil, there was plenty to play for and the big guns were out in force.

Gosden Success in The Oaks

First up came the fillies in Friday’s Oaks. Considering he had already taken the four British and Irish Classics to be run so far this season, and the fact that his daughter of Galileo, Rhododendron had run such an encouraging and slightly unlucky race when second in the Oaks at Epsom, it was little surprise that she started as a red hot odds on favourite here. The main question concerned whether she would see out the extra distance here. In the end, she didn’t quite.

What looked set to be a ding dong battle headed into the final furlong quickly turned into a one sided contest, as whereas Rhododendron wilted in the rain, John Gosden’s Enable proved her Chester Oaks win to be no fluke as she powered clear in the closing stages for an authoritative success.

For her sire Nathaniel this was just the latest in a sequence of wins that have marked him out as an emerging sire to follow. O’Brien and Galileo filled the places with Rhododendron in second and Alluringly in third.

Outsider Storms to Derby Win

Galileo was also strongly represented in the Derby at Epsom in which he recorded his most famous success. The greatest sire of them all had five of his sons going for him – all trained by O’Brien – and three of his grandsons. Galileo wasn’t the only Derby winning sire represented here though, and in the end the prize went to a son of the French 2011 hero Pour Moi.

There were certainly echoes of his father in the manner in which the – unconsidered by many –  40/1 shot Wings Of Eagles swooped from well off the pace to get on top close home to deny stablemate Cliffs Of Moher, with Gosden’s Cracksman back in third. This was a pretty impressive performance from the winner considering he was checked not once but twice in the straight and Coral make him a 20/1 shot for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe glory.

Highland Reel Still Impressive

Elsewhere at Epsom, Highland Reel cemented his status as one of the top older horses in training when bouncing right back to form to claim the Coronation Stakes over the Derby course and distance, and Tony Coyle’s Caspian Prince became the first horse to land the famous Epsom “Dash” on three occasions. A remarkable feat.

Looking forward, we have a fairly low key couple of weekends ahead, but don’t have long to wait until the next racing extravaganza, as the magnificent Royal Ascot, which kicks off on the 20th June, is now firmly on the horizon.