/ Racing

Taghrooda outclasses Oaks rivals to remain unbeaten

Updated: Friday, 06 Jun 2014 19:41 | Comments

Taghrooda has provided the great Sea The Stars with a first Classic winner from his very first crop of three-year-olds
Taghrooda has provided the great Sea The Stars with a first Classic winner from his very first crop of three-year-olds

Taghrooda led home a Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum 1-2 in the Oaks at Epsom as the unbeaten daughter of Sea The Stars quickened three and three-quarter lengths clear of Tarfasha to give trainer John Gosden and jockey Paul Hanagan their first wins in the race.

Gosden's filly was all the rage for the mile-and-a-half contest following a brilliant display in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket a month ago, but as doubts emerged about the form of that Listed event her price gradually drifted and she was a 5-1 shot at the off.

Taghrooda travelled powerfully on the heels of the leaders before unleashing a devastating turn of foot that saw her streak clear of Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha and Volume from the Luca Cumani yard.

Although a little keen coming down the hill, there were very few worries for supporters of the Gosden runner as she appeared in her comfort zone throughout and it was clear early in the straight she had far more to give than any of her opponents.

She accelerated clear and was in a different class to the rest of the field, but it was a close-run thing for second.

Weld's Irish raider Tarfasha had been the subject of plenty of support and stuck on grimly to deny Volume the runner-up spot.

Outsider Inchila was right on their heels in fourth place, just ahead of Godolphin's Ihtimal in fifth.

Gosden was full of praise for the winning rider, saying: “He was very clever, we had the position we wanted but at the latter part of the bend at Tattenham Corner, she got a bump and it threw her on her off-fore and he was very quick to get back on the near-fore. Full marks to Paul."

Hanagan said: "It went like clockwork really. You kind of plan for the race to go like that, I'd been planning it for the last month I think. She did get a bit of a bump and she changed legs, it took a while to get her organised again, but I was always happy from then.

"I'm just more delighted to give something back to Sheikh Hamdan and all the team. They've put a lot of faith in me, and John's team have done a marvellous job. I just pointed her today."

A big fish when with Richard Fahey in the smaller pond of the northern circuit, Hanagan admitted it had not been straightforward to adapt to life in Newmarket in such a high-profile role.

"I'd ridden one Group winner before I got the job, that's why I keep saying it's nice to give something back," he said.

"I'd not had a lot of rides in Classics, but you have to start somewhere. That was my first ride in the Oaks and it means everything.

"I found it very difficult at first to take the family away, we were very settled in Yorkshire and if it wasn't for everyone around me, I would have struggled."

Gosden went on: "Paul's being very modest, he's a good team man and a pleasure to work with.

"We had wanted to get two trials in, but it went soft at Sandown and the trials go bang, bang, bang, so we came here for a look last week at Breakfast with the Stars. She was pretty chilled and seen it all before.

"It's great to win any Classic, it's great for the owner to win with a home-bred, beating the one he bought, that's the right way round.

"She's in the Irish Oaks (at the Curragh), that's the logical place to go. It's a good, honest galloping track, we'll go there and then take a look."

The owner himself said: "The Guineas and the Oaks are the races that I really want to win as an owner.

"She was the most beautiful yearling, last year I kept asking John when she was going to see the course and he just kept saying wait.

"When she won, she only won by a head which to me is not enough but this year she is more mature. I was satisfied with (Hanagan) from the beginning. He used to wait, so we told him to change his way of riding a bit and be a little bit aggressive from the beginning. He rode a marvellous race today."

The 4-1 favourite was Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Marvellous, who was never really a threat in sixth.

Jockey Joseph O'Brien said: "I was flat out at the top of the hill. With six or seven to go I was struggling. She'd have had a hard enough race in the Irish Guineas, on testing enough ground at the Curragh. We'll freshen her up now."

Volume and Richard Hughes dictated the pace and the Cumani filly hung on to the bitter end and she was only a nose off finishing runner-up.

Tarfasha had been the subject of plenty of support and the trainer's son, Mark, said: "You always want to win, but we're very, very happy with her.

"It's up to the owner, I'd guess the Irish Oaks just across the road is the logical next step and maybe the two of them can do battle again."

It appears the gutsy Volume will be there too, and Cumani said: "She's a big, long-striding filly who has won from the front before and we knew she stayed.

"I think it'll be the Irish Oaks now."

Peter Chapple-Hyam was disappointed Inchila missed the break and could not lead as planned, but the 40-1 chance performed with credit in fourth ahead of Ihtimal. She, too, could head to the Curragh.

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