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Champions Series Stars To Stud: Anapurna

7 Jan 2020

This week we focus on the filly who provided Frankel with his first domestic Classic winner as a sire

Trainer: John Gosden. Regular jockey: Frankie Dettori.
Races: 7. Wins: 4. Group 1 wins: 2. Prize-money:
Form in Champions Series races: 10. Official rating: 115.

Anapurna provided Frankie Dettori with a fifth Investec Oaks triumph, and John Gosden with a third. Perhaps most significant she gave the mighty Frankel a first domestic Classic  success as a sire.
She went off at 8/1 at Epsom but you would have been able to add a zero or two to that price, ante-post, at the start of the year.
Anapurna missed all the summer and autumn as a two-year-old and only made her debut over an extended mile in a novice event at Wolverhampton on December 27.
It was an inauspicious start, to say the least, as she trailed home ninth of 13 (beaten more than 16 lengths) after being slow away and running green.
A month later she was a different proposition, winning a ten furlong maiden at Lingfield by five lengths. And she built on that when landing a Listed event in similar style at the same venue, on her turf debut, in May.
Clearly learning fast, she took her form to a new level under an inspired Dettori at Epsom, staying on stoutly to overhaul Pink Dogwood in the final strides to win by a neck.

Anapurna did not reappear until September, when she was perhaps a little rusty and finished seventh to Star Catcher, her stablemate, in the Qatar Prix Vermeille. Sharper for that run, she then secured a second Group 1 triumph by gamely making all in the Qatar Prix Royallieu at the same track.
On her final start, Anapurna went off at just 6/1 to land the QIPCO British Champions Filies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day.
However, she slipped and unseated her rider, William Buick, on the way to the post and once the ran got under way she was uncharacteristically keen. By the business end of the contest she had nothing left to give and, eased, beat only one home.

May 31, 2019 in the Investec Oaks at Epsom. John Gosden was double-handed in his quest to win a third Oaks and most perceived Mehdaayih, an impressive winner of her trial at Chester, to be his principal hope. There was an element of surprise, then, when Rab Havlin was revealed as her rider, with stable jockey Dettori instead of Anapurna.
Punters still preferred the former, who went off 11/4 favourite. Anapurna started at 8/1 with Aidan O’Brien’s No 1 hope Pink Dogwood (3/1) and impressive Newmarket winner Maqsad (4/1) also shorter in the betting.

Lavender’s Blue set a sound pace to three out before Peach Tree picked up the baton for another furlong, when Dettori and Anapurna sneaked up the inside to nose ahead under strong pressure. Pink Dogwood looked the likely winner when sweeping past her on the outside but Anapurna responded generously to all of her jockey’s urgings and muscled her way back to the front, prevailing by a neck. Mehdaayih finished only seventh after meeting trouble in running.

“She sharpened enormously from the Oaks trial, and I told [sister and brother who own Meon Valley Stud] Helena [Ellingsen] and Mark [Weinfeld] and Frankie that she had really come on. Her work rider, who also looks after her at home, now has to sit as still as a mouse on her – if you ask her, she’ll just go whoosh! Before she used to just look a little confused. “You can’t overtrain a filly like this as she has taken time to come to herself – she has been incredibly brave today, the other filly [second Pink Dogwood] also, both are great fillies in a race. “I thought coming past the furlong pole we were going to run a valiant second or third, and then through the last 50 yards when it climbs again, she dug deep, the jockey dug deep, and Frankie just hand rode her to the finish, the pair outstayed the rest. It was a proper test of good fillies.”
John Gosden after the Investec Oaks “I knew I would do my best work at the end, but I was worried
that three lengths might be a bridge too far. Then she started
to motor and I was trying to work out my timing – and I thought then I might get there. “It was a great buzz, it has been 25 years since my first Oaks. Sometimes when you are not riding a favourite, you are able to enjoy it a bit more as you are not under so much pressure. We knew we had a chance but we were third favourite so I was able to take it all in and enjoy it.”


Owner-breeder Mark Weinfeld has been well served by members of Anapurna’s family for the past three decades. So he is probably the best person to ask! He said of Anapurna after her Investec Oaks triumph: “This is the fourth generation of this family going back to One In A Million. Anapurna is out of Dash To The Top, who was a Montjeu filly who had one or two Montjeu traits but was very talented – she seems to have passed that bit on!”
He must be relishing see what Anapurna might produce to keep the family flag flying. Anapurna showed herself to be a strong stayer over a mile and a half, and probably would have got further if asked. Her dam also stayed 12 furlongs, while Frankel, her sire, has also shown himself to be a strong influence for stamina. The chemistry all points to Anapurna producing middle distance stayers , although the stallions she visits will obviously be a factor and her breeding does have some speedier elements. For instance, her half-sisters include Dynasty, a useful 6f winner as a juvenile.