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The Investec Oaks

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History

Like the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, the Investec Oaks is a fillies-only Classic, run at Epsom Downs in June over the same mile-and-a-half (2,400 metres) distance as the Investec Derby.

The 2010 race was won by Snow Fairy, giving the previous season’s Champion Jockey, Ryan Moore, his first Classic win. The horse had been so unfancied, months before, that one punter was able to put £4 on her… at 999-1. Moore went on the complete a memorable Epsom double 24 hours later by taking the Investec Derby on the mighty Workforce.

Epsom certainly provides the ultimate test, with an undulating, stamina-sapping course comprising deceptive cambers and a challenging decent into Tattenham Corner. Fillies taking part usually appear in one or more trial races before the Investec Oaks.

The ladies take centre stage off the course as well, with the race being staged on ‘Ladies Day’, when colourful hats and dresses are very much in evidence.The Investec Oaks was established in 1779, one year before the Derby, and was named after a house near Epsom, leased by the 12th Earl of Derby and who had invited guests at one of his parties there to come and race their horses.

The Investec Oaks, QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Ladbrokes St Leger, the final Classic of the season, make up the Fillies’ Triple Crown. Only seven horses have won all three races in a season, the Henry Cecil-trained Oh So Sharp the most recent in 1985.

Enable won in a record time in 2017 and went on to land four more Group 1 races before the year was out, including the QIPCO-sponsored King George, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1994, 1995, 2002, 2017, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (1998, 2001, 2006, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Dettori and Anapurna dig deep for Investec Oaks glory

Frankie Dettori was at his brilliant best as he steered Anapurna to a thrilling victory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom.

Trainer John Gosden fielded two runners in a bid to win the fillies’ Classic for the third time, with impressive Cheshire Oaks heroine Mehdaayih the 11-4 favourite under Robert Havlin and Anapurna an 8-1 shot after landing the Lingfield Oaks Trial.

The victory was a first British Classic for former Series star Frankel as a stallion.

While Mehdaayih pulled for her head early on and met significant traffic problems, Dettori always had Anapurna in prime position and although she was under pressure early in the straight, the daughter of Frankel responded admirably to her rider’s urgings,

Aidan O’Brien’s Pink Dogwood displayed an electric turn of foot to grab the lead racing inside the final two furlongs – but Anapurna dug deep and got up to score by a neck in the QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

In doing so she provided Dettori with his fifth Oaks success following the previous triumphs of Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995), Kazzia (2002) and Enable (2017).

Pink Dogwood was a clear second, ahead of her stablemate Fleeting in third.

Gosden said: “A brave performance by the filly and brave from the jockey. He found a gap on the inside. Unfortunately our other filly (Mehdaayih) got nothing but smashed and bumped around everywhere.

“I thought coming past the furlong pole (Ryan) Moore (on Pink Dogwood) had got it, but somehow this filly found the courage of reserves and energy to get her head back in front.

“The last 50 yards are uphill and she basically outstayed the other filly. Full marks to both riders and both fillies – two magnificent fillies.”

Dettori said: “The only thing I was afraid of was inexperience, but I had a great run round. For a minute I couldn’t get out and it took a furlong to get going and Ryan had three lengths on me, but I knew she would come home good.

“I was getting him and then in the last 30 yards I got him. Beautiful.”

The 48-year-old added: “I absolutely love it. My first one (Oaks on Balanchine) was 25 years ago and I’m still here.”

O’Brien said of Pink Dogwood: “She ran a great race. It was her first run over a mile and a half, but she ran a lovely race.

“I don’t know if she was outstayed. She just got collared late and when they do you can always say things like that, but you are never sure.

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

If it weren’t for the 12th Earl of Derby, perhaps Epsom would be best known for natural mineral water, London commuters or bath salts. That or the fact that Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page came from the Surrey town. As it is, Epsom stands for horseracing, and the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby in particular.

The earl invited his friends to race their fillies on the Epsom Downs in 1779 and thus The Oaks was born. A year later and a second race, for colts and fillies, was introduced. A toss of a coin and it became known as The Derby (if the earl’s friend, Sir Charles Bunbury, had called right then flat racing’s Blue Riband event might today be called ‘The Epsom Bunbury’).

The racecourse has witnessed some of the sport’s most glorious moments, with Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar among the horses to enter the winner’s enclosure. It has also seen tragedy, however, when suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in 1913 and died of a fractured skull.

Getting there

Epsom Downs
KT18 5LQ

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