Article Date: 01-June-2012
Making only her third racecourse appearance, Was became the fourth Epsom Oaks winner for her trainer Aidan O'Brien today (Friday).
The 20/1 chance stormed through on the far rails for Seamie Heffernan to beat Shirocco Star by a neck with 11/4 favourite The Fugue keeping on fast and late for third, followed by Vow.
It was O’Brien’s 200th Group 1 winner and gave him three out of three British Classics so far this season. It was also his fourth Epsom Oaks following Shahtoush, Imagine and Alexandrova but for Heffernan it was a first major triumph on British soil.
Nayarra made a bold bid from the front and led them into the straight, pressed by another of O’Brien’s runners, Twirl, on the outside with Was close up and ready to strike. The Fugue was well behind in the early stages and Mickael Barzalona appeared to be squeezed between Devotion and Maybe.
There was more scrimmaging in the straight, with The Fugue possibly worst affected as several fillies went for the same gap but none of it mattered to Was, who took it up from Nayarra and set sail for home. Vow looked the biggest danger but Shirocco Star, who fretted her way to the start after looking rather worried about the whole business, came with a determined run and was only just denied.
The Fugue seemed to come from an almost impossible position and looked very unfortunate but Epsom is a very tricky racecourse and she will not be the last to find herself some way off the pace when the race develops in earnest.
As O’Brien pointed out afterwards, he may have saddled five but they all deserved to take their chance and are wonderfully well bred.
“Was is a very good-looking filly”, he said. “She’d come on lovely from her first run and we always thought she’d run well. It’s fantastic for Seamie because he’s a great fella and a world-class jockey. He knows all the horses so well and gave her an excellent ride”.
“I had enough horse under me to take two lengths when I needed it”, Heffernan added. “When you’ve got plenty of petrol you can go where you want! I’ve been very lucky in these colours”.
He was referring to Derrick Smith’s silks, though Was is shared with Mrs Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor. A Galileo filly out of the Green Desert mare Alluring Park, she cost 1.2m guineas but will be worth a great deal more when she finally goes to the paddocks.
It was another wonderful day for Coolmore/ Ballydoyle with Camelot still to come this afternoon. Should he make it four out of four this British Classic season, the temptation to go for the clean sweep in the St Leger will surely be hard to resist.
The winning connections withdrew leading fancy Kissed just hours before the race due to unsuitably fast ground.
The Oaks winner 'Was' the highest priced yearling sold in Europe in 2010 when realising 1.2 million guineas at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
The regally bred daughter of Galileo out of the Green Desert mare Alluring Park was bred by Seamus Burns at his Lodge Park Stud in Co. Kilkenny and was knocked down to Demi O'Byrne on behalf of owners Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor.
Alluring Park is a Listed placed half sister to the outstanding 2008 Derby winner New Approach out of the champion racemare Park Express.
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