Irish trainer will be double-handed in Sunday’s French Derby at Chantilly
Tuesday, ridden by jockey Ryan Moore, beats Emily Upjohn to win the Oaks at Epsom on
By Brian O’Connor (Irishtimes.com)
Aidan O’Brien won a record 41st English Classic when Tuesday landed a dramatic Epsom Oaks on Friday.
In a desperate finish the Ryan Moore ridden Tuesday got the better of a head-bob finish with the 6-4 Emily Upjohn who almost pulled out an unlikely victory after losing lengths at the start.
“She fell over, slipped, lost her footing,” her disconsolate jockey Frankie Dettori said afterwards. “She should have won, it’s as simple as that.”
The record books however will show how Tuesday emulated her sister Minding, who landed the Oaks in 2016, and secured another statistical benchmark for O’Brien.
The Irishman had been level with the 19th century English trainer John Scott on 40 Classic wins in Britain since Snowfall’s Oaks victory a year ago. Scott landed his tally between 1827 and 1863 in a very different competitive age.
But in just 24 years since Shahtoush began the unprecedented haul in the same fillies Classic, O’Brien has secured a singular spot in racing history.
“I’m delighted for everyone (to get the record) at Ballydoyle and Coolmore. I’m very privileged to be a part of the team. Everyone puts in so much hard work, day and night. The record is for all of them too,” he said.
Tuesday was his 10th Oaks winner in England, the same total as in the 2,000 Guineas, along with seven in the 1,000 Guineas and half a dozen in the St Leger. On Saturday O’Brien aims at a ninth Derby victory.
He has had 46 Classic winners in Ireland to date and could reach 10 in France this Sunday.
Having found himself in the unusual position of reaching June without a Group 1 success this year, O’Brien threw four Oaks darts and Moore found himself on the right one where often he hasn’t.
If Emily Upjohn’s awkward break was more obvious, Tuesday wasn’t the smartest from the gates either and the two principles raced together at the rear of the field down the hill.
With the field coming up the middle of the straight due to easy ground conditions, Moore stuck to the far side of the main pack while Dettori opted for the stands side. At the line there was just a short head in it but the nod favoured Tuesday who got a perfect present on the precise day of her third birthday.
“She’s got an awful lot of class,” said Moore who added of O’Brien: “He’s incredible. We always use terms like ‘genius’ but he goes into so much detail. What he’s done, we’ve never seen the like of it and probably won’t again.”
Last year O’Brien finally broke his French Derby duck when the favourite St Mark’s Basilica emerged on top at Chantilly. He will be doubly represented in Sunday’s renewal of the €1.5 million Prix du Jockey Club although both Ivy League (Moore) and The Acropolis (Dettori) are among the outsiders in a race off a 3pm Irish-time and live on Sky Sports.
Instead, it is Godolphin’s Modern Games who is clear favourite to replicate St Mark’s Basilica by completing the French Guineas-Derby double. William Buick’s mount hasn’t been done any favours by a rejigged draw that put Modern Games in stall 13 of the 15 runners.
A high draw is a disadvantage around the Chantilly course and the fancied local hope Onesto is in box 14.
Ivy League, a 20-1 shot with some layers, is in stall seven while The Acropolis, well beaten by Modern Games in last month’s ‘Poulains’ at Longchamp is in 10. Imperial Fighter and El Bodegon are two other raiders from Britain.
Joseph O’Brien will be represented later on the Chantilly card when the Naas Listed winner Brostaigh lines up for the Group 2 Prix Gros-Chene over five furlongs at 5.30pm.
The 2020 champion apprentice Gavin Ryan has lost out to Dettori for Saturday’s Epsom Derby hopeful Piz Badile. Ryan makes do with half a dozen weekend rides at Listowel which hosts a three-day Bank Holiday session where full crowds will return for the first time since the 2019 Harvest festival.
Topweight Drombeg Dawn has proven winning form around Listowel and could be best of Ryan’s hopes on Saturday in a seven furlong handicap.