Dettori and Enable storm to Oaks victory
Italian superstar Frankie Dettori produced a superb ride on Enable to land the Epsom Oaks on Friday beating the odds on favourite Rhododendron to the backdrop of a dramatic thunderstorm.
The 46-year-old Italian -- winning his fourth Oaks but first since 2002 -- looked to be at 8/11 shot Rhododendron's mercy at the furlong pole but instead it was the John Gosden-trained filly who found more to win at 6/1.
Rhododendron -- who finished second in the English 1000 Guineas behind stablemate Winter -- finished five lengths adrift in second whilst her trainer Aidan O'Brien also saddled the third Alluringly, who was a further six lengths in arrears.
"When I saw Ryan Moore upsides on Rhododendron I thought oh my God I'm in trouble," said Dettori.
"However, she (Enable) is a lovely filly and she has loads of guts.
"She will get better and better.
"I didn't have much time to celebrate but I will now," added Dettori, who produced his trademark leap from the saddle in the winners enclosure.
Gosden, like Enable's owner Prince Khaled Abdullah winning his second Oaks, admitted he had been concerned that Dettori might get boxed in as Moore brought Rhododendron with her run and passed Godolphin's Sobetsu.
"However, Frankie didn't allow that to happen and then you had the two best pound for pound jockeys on two really good fillies battling it out," said Gosden, who saddles five in the Epsom Derby on Saturday including the fancied Cracksman who carries the colours of the 2015 winner Golden Horn and with Dettori once more aboard.
"It was an epic battle and I thought they had us at one point but in the last part we dominated."
There were few excuses from O'Brien.
"He (Moore) didn't use the rain as an excuse, he just felt the last furlong seemed like a long furlong.
- 'amazing horse' -
"Whether the trip was far enough or because she'd had a very busy day, she still ran very well though.
"I suppose she wouldn't mind going back in trip."
Only nine of the 10 runners took part after the valiant effort of American trainer Kenneth McPeek to bring over a rare entrant from the United States ended in desperate disappointment.
Daddys Lil Darling didn't live up to her name galloping freely down to the starting stalls and forcing jockey Olivier Peslier to jump off as she was heading at breakneck speed for a dead end behind the barrier.
Peslier's astute decision left him with nothing but bruised pride and the filly herself didn't seem to be injured.
"Mystifying that, she has never done that before," said McPeek
It wasn't the end of the drama as a loud clap of thunder rattled the fillies just as they were being loaded into the stalls and O'Brien's rank outsider Pocketfullofdreams reared up and dislodged his jockey the trainer's son Donnacha.
Aidan O'Brien had already had an eventful day as a technical problem with their plane meant they arrived only hours before battle began but he at least took away a sizeable consolation prize in the other Group One race of the day.
O'Brien's classy trusty retainer Highland Reel added to his impressive list of Group One wins with the Coronation Cup giving the Irishman his eighth success in the race.
"Delighted with him because obviously they went through a lot," O'Brien told ITV.
"He's an amazing horse, tough, tactical speed and he stays."
© 2017 AFP