- Sire-Dam -
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.
Any talk of Anapurna winning the Oaks at the start of the year would have been fanciful.
She made her debut over an extended mile in a novice event at Wolverhampton on December 27 and trailed home ninth of 13 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.
Anapurna was clearly learning fast and she took her form to a new level under an inspired Dettori at Epsom, staying on stoutly to overhaul Pink Dogwood, who had looked certain to win, in the final strides to win by a neck.
Winning trainer John Gosden: “Anapurna won first time out this year at Lingfield in great style, and the plan was always to go straight back to the Lingfield Oaks Trial. She ran green then, was off the bridle and learning and at one stage Frankie had to say ‘come on old girl, we are meant to be racing here!’ Then in the straight she powered away from them, but was looking around and learning.
“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. Sadly for Rab [Havlin on 11/4 favourite Mehdaayih – the other Gosden runner] he met rather a lot of trouble in running.
“Frankie got through the gaps, he sat handy to the pace which helped, Rab just got slammed a couple of times, but that is Epsom and that is a Classic.
“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.”
Dettori: “She jumped pretty good [settled third on inside], and then Silvestre [de Sousa] was getting run off with a little bit and I thought he won’t get home, and I thought if he stops he might take me back, and then the pacemaker was on his outside. I was also concentrating on that and the fact that I wanted to float down the hill without using her energy, and that was the case.
“Then I was trying to look for a gap and I thought ‘Oh s**t’, and I was still dealing with that when Ryan [Moore] and Jim [Crowley] kicked on the outside and I thought they were gone. Then I managed to get through a gap and I thought there ‘were still two furlongs left and it is quite a long way’.
“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 – thank you John!
“I rode her at Lingfield, she has improved a lot and she is more the finished article, she travelled really well through the race today, unlike Lingfield. She had to show willingness and be brave and put out a very good finish – she is improving and is a very good filly.”
Winning owner Mark Weinfeld: “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!”
Gosden added: “Breeding horses is the toughest thing, things go wrong all the time, owner-breeders like Mark and Helena with their farm at Meon Valley, for them to breed an Oaks winner, and go through all the nightmares that breeders go through, it is a great test of faith. Without these owner-breeders, there would be no proper racing. It is a testament to them, they are the most important ingredient today and what they have achieved.”
BCS Career statistics
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