Frankie Dettori added a fifth Group One Investec Oaks win to his Classic collection when taking the 2019 race aboard the John Gosden-trained Anapurna. He has now won 18 British Classics.
Dettori previously scored in 1994 on Balanchine, 1995 on Moonshell, 2002 on Kazzia and in 2017 on Enable. He is the most successful jockey currently riding in the mile and a half fillies' Classic.
Anapurna, an 8/1 chance, became the first British Classic winner for her sire, Frankel. Bred by Meon Valley Stud, she is owned by Helena Springfield Ltd, the name under which Meon Valley Stud's fillies run. She beat the Aidan O'Brien-trained, Ryan Moore-ridden Pink Dogwood by a neck.
Dettori said: “I did not think I was going to get to Ryan, but my filly was very courageous. She was brilliant. I love having winners here. I rode my first Classic winner 25 years ago and am still here!
“It is 25 years since my first Oaks winner [Balanchine, 1994]. With this one I think I managed to pass my greatest hero, Pat Eddery, in number of Classics won. I had a great run, I got a nice split to the inside. For a moment I thought, 'God, I'm not good enough', but when the stamina kicked in she won really well.
“It was a team decision for me to ride Anapurna [rather than Gosden's other runner Mehdaayih, the 11/4 favorite who finished seventh under Rab Havlin]. I never rode the filly [Mehdaayih] this year and Rab has done really well with her. I knew mine would stay but the only thing I was afraid of was the [lack of] experience. But it was a great run round. For a minute I couldn't get out and when I took the split she took a furlong to get going and Ryan [Moore, on Pink Dogwood] had three lengths on me, but I knew she would come good.
“She's completely different to Lingfield [where she won the Oaks trial on May 11]; she traveled a lot better today. She was all at sea at Lingfield, but that taught her a lot. She's a very good stayer and she proved it today.
“It's a milestone for me because Pat Eddery was my greatest hero. I sat next to him in the weighing-room for 20 years, and I managed to pass him with this Classic. They are hard to win and when you do win, it's great. We miss Pat; he was a great mentor.”
Newmarket trainer John Gosden recorded his third success in the Investec Oaks, following wins in the 2014 edition with Taghrooda and the 2017 renewal with subsequent dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Enable.
Discussing the victory, Gosden said: “it was a brave performance from Anapurna and as brave a performance from the jockey.
“Anapurna had a dream trip. She was on the inside, where you get boxed IN, but Frankie found a lovely little gap rather like Defoe did in the Coronation Cup. It was brave but he got the gaps, saved the ground and I thought she was very brave.
“I thought coming past the furlong pole that Ryan Moore and Pink Dogwood had got it. But this filly somehow found the reserves of courage and energy to get her head back in front. That last 50 yards are uphill and in the end she basically just outstayed the other filly. So full marks to both riders and both fillies.”
Gosden also saddled Mehdaayih, the 11/4 favorite who finished seventh under Rab Havlin after a troubled passage up the home straight. Reflecting on her performance, Gosden continued: “Frankie found a gap on the inside which you usually don't get at Epsom, whereas our other filly Mehdaayih got smashed and bumped around everywhere. Mehdaayih is a very good filly and had a very rough trip, but hopefully there will be other days for her.”
Gosden continued: “Mark Weinfeld and Meon Valley Stud are owner-breeders and for them to own a Classic winner is what it is all about. They have a horse in the Derby tomorrow (Telecaster) as you know, so it is beyond exciting for them.
“It's very exciting to have a winner for the owners. She is bred by wonderful owner-breeders, they have their stud farm and they breed a lot. They have a horse running in the Derby tomorrow that they offered for sale – for owner-breeders to win the Oaks is what it is all about.”
Anapurna was bred by Meon Valley Stud, a venture set up by Egon and Elizabeth Weinfeld. In 1979, they formed the stud, in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire. It is now one of the most successful British commercial breeding operations.
The stud has bred a string of top-class winners and keeps a number of fillies and the occasional colt in training. Egon Weinfeld's son Mark and daughter Helena Ellingsen are actively involved in the management of the stud and many of their racehorses are leased to run in the name of the promotional company Helena Springfield, including Anapurna.
Meon Valley Stud also bred the Hughie Morrison-trained Telecaster, who runs in tomorrow's Investec Derby.
Mark Weinfeld said: “Anapurna really had to be tough. We have gone close to winning the Oaks before, so this is unbelievable.
“This is what we live for, this is what we dream of. You start your matings four years beforehand and to see them come to fruition like this is an unbelievable feeling, particularly if you own the horse as well.
“We sell a lot of what we produce, but here we have a broodmare for the future.”
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