Archive for 2018

Enable’s Powerful Pedigree

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Enable’s Powerful Pedigree

 

After Enable’s thrilling victory in the Longines Breeders’Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, what better time to re-examine the mare’s pedigree.

 

 

The first thing we notice is that she is inbred 2 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells, a fact rarely referred to when we marvel at her achievements.

 

Sadler’s Wells was Champion Sire in G.B & Ireland 13 times between 1990 and 2003, during which time he sired five winners of the Oaks and the notable stallions: Montjeu (sire of four Epsom Derby winners); High Chaparral (won Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and the Breeders’Cup Turf twice), and his jewell in the crown – Galileo.

 

Galileo, also won the English and Irish Derby’s, going on to be now, 10 times Champion Sire. Among his produce are three Derby winners – New Approach (2008), Ruler Of The World (2013) and Australia (2014),  three Oaks winners – Was (2012), Minding (2016) and Forever Together (2018), not forgetting the sensational Guineas winner, Frankel, unbeaten in 14 races.

 

Enable’s star-studded third generation also boasts, Urban Sea, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Silver Hawk, sire of Derby winner, Benny The Dip, Northern Dancer, Kentucky Derby winner and Champion Sire in both G.B & Ireland and North America, and, Mill Reef’s son, Shirley Heights, whose colt Slip Anchor completed a line of three Derby winners.

 

But what of Enables sire and dam?

Her sire, Nathaniel, won 4 races (from 11 starts) incl: King Edward VII Stakes, Ascot, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, beating Workforce, and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, Sandown.

Nathaniel sired Enable from his first crop and stands at Newsells Park Stud (GB) at a fee of £25,000 for 2019

 

Her dam, Concentric, won 3 races (from 7 starts): Prix de Chaillot and Prix de Cheffreville, Lonchamp, Prix Charles Laffitte, Chantilly.  She has bred 4 winners from 5 foals incl. Tournament b.g. 2011 by Oasis Dream, won 3 races incl. Ladbrokes Handicap, (AW) Lingfield; 32Red.com Handicap (AW) Kempton; Contribution b.f. 2012 by Champs Elysees, won 1 race: Prix Kasteel, Maisons-Laffitte; Centroid b.c.2015 by Dansili, won 1 race, Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, Leopardstown.

 

But back to Enable herself. She has won 10 races (from 11 starts): 32Red.com Maiden Fillies Stakes (AW), Newcastle, Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks, Investec Oaks Stakes (race record time), Darley Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Darley Yorkshire Oaks, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (twice), 118Bet September Stakes (AW), Kempton, Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (Churchill Downs).

 

And dare we hope she stays in training for 2019

 

Steve Donoghue, Joe Childs & Tommy Weston

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Three famous Jockeys who rode between the Wars

 

Steve Donoghue (1884-1945), born in Warrington, the son of a steelworker, he was champion jockey 10 times from 1914 to 1923. His 14 Classic wins included six in the Derby, including a record three on the trot – Humorist (1921), Captain Cuttle (1922) and Papyrus (1923) and two wins in the Oaks on My Dear (1918) and the misspelt Exhibitionnist (1937). His great popularity with the public, expressed through the shout of “Come on Steve” became a catchphrase of the nation.

Perseverance was the key to Steve’s success, for his early attempts to become a jockey brought many reversals. As a young lad at John Porter’s yard at Kingsclere, Steve had run away when severely beaten after his mount had got loose on the gallops and upset the stable star Flying Fox. Brief stays with Dobson Peacock at Middleham and Alfred Sadler junior at Newmarket followed. However, frustrated with his lack of opportunity, Steve applied for a job with American trainer Edward Johnson in France, where eventually, he rode his first winner, Hanoi, at the age of 21.

Gordon Richards recalled Steve as a “lovable character” and, in the days when jockeys travelled by train, remembered him as being invariably late and last to board:

“He always bought a First Class ticket and always travelled in the guards van.”

 

 

Joe Childs (1884-1958), born in Chantilly, was later apprenticed to Tom Jennings jnr at Phantom House, Newmarket. In 1901, he had his first big race success, winning the Royal Hunt Cup on the 4-1 favourite Stealaway (4y-6st-7lb). In 1910, he began riding in Germany for Fred Darling, who at that time trained there. On the outbreak of war, he returned to England, and whilst serving in the 4th Hussars and, despite his outbreaks of petulance, he obtained regular leave to ride in the major races. In 1916, he won both the Derby and Oaks on Fifinella (pictured). And, after winning the Triple Crown on Gainsborough in 1918, he gave all his riding fees to regimental funds.

In 1925, he was appointed first jockey to King George V and three years later, won the One Thousand Guineas for him on Scuttle. An exponent of the ‘late rush’, Childs rode most of his 15 Classic winners that way. Nevertheless, when riding Coronach in the 1926 Derby for Fred Darling, he obeyed his orders – leading from start to finish, to win by five lengths.

On retirement, he owned a small stud in Nazeing, Essex and a controlling interest in Portsmouth Greyhound Stadium. Joe Childs had four brothers – all jockeys – Albert, Arthur, Henry and Charles – the latter winning the 1916 St Leger on Hurry On.

 

 

Tommy Weston (1903-1981) was the son of a wagon driver for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Tommy weighed only 4st 3lb when apprenticed to E McCormack at Middleham and rode his first winner on Sally Crag at Newmarket on 2 August, 1918. The following year, Steve Donoghue recommended him to Newmarket trainer Alfred Day Sadler, who needed a jockey to scale 6st 3lb for Arion in the Kempton Park Great Jubilee Handicap (run that year at Hurst Park). Not only did young Weston get the job, but won the race by six lengths at odds of 10-1, with Donoghue back in second.

Later, as stable jockey for trainer George Lambton at Stanley House, Newmarket, he rode eight of his 11 Classic victories for Lord Derby (17th Earl), headed by the Derby successes of Sansovino (1924) and Hyperion (1933). He also rode three winners of the Oaks – Beam (1927), Toboggan (1928) and Lovely Rosa (1936).

Weston was Champion Jockey in 1926 with 95 winners, before Gordon Richards settled in to dominate the list. Without explanation, Weston’s retainer with Lord Derby was not renewed for 1935. At the start of the Second World War, Weston volunteered for the Royal Navy and served on the troopships off North Africa. Torpedoed by an Italian submarine in 1943, he was picked-up after three days aboard a raft in the Atlantic. After the war, he won the 1946 Lincolnshire Handicap on the heavily-backed favourite Langton Abbot, drawing clear from half-way and winning by four lengths from 36 rivals. His final classic victory came that year when winning the 2,000 Guineas by four lengths on the 28-1 shot Happy Knight.

The Derby Day Poem

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Due to the resurgence of interest in “The Derby Day Poem”

I have re-entered it higher in the pecking order

on my website to help new viewers find it.

 

 

 

 

 

Derby Day – Michael Church

 

Today is Derby Day!

The Thoroughbred in bloom,

The hopes and dreams of many men

Are shown this afternoon.

 

 

The plans, the trials, the joy, the tears

Have happened all before;

The race has run two hundred years

And shall for many more.

 

If you are in the Queen’s Stand,

Or out there on the Downs,

Or riding in the funfair,

The magic comes around.

 

The scene could run forever,

As only the players change,

You make a bet, they shout “They’re off”,

You turn another page.

 

 

 

Epsom Downs in Wartime

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Epsom Downs in Wartime

 

Throughout the First World War 1914-1918, Epsom Racecourse made an important contribution on the home front. There was a military encampment on the Downs, while both grandstands were used as hospitals.

 

Famously, on 22 January 1915, on a snow covered Epsom Downs in blizzard conditions, Lord Kitchener held an inspection of 20,000 volunteers from the 2nd London Division, before they marched off to the Western Front.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, to safeguard the continuity of the Derby and Oaks, the races were run at  Newmarket from 1915-1918, until racing resumed at Epsom for the Spring Meeting in 1919.

 

Twenty-one years of peace followed until on 3rd September, 1939, at 11.15 a.m. Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, broadcast to the nation the following statement.

 

   “This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

   I have to tell you now, that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

 

To begin with there were little signs of disruption, however, by the end of 1939, Epsom was commandeered by the Army and the following January, its race meetings were abandoned until further notice.

 

There were plans to hold the Epsom Classics at Newbury, but these too were abandoned after strong opposition from the local council. Eventually, the meeting was transferred to the Summer Course at Newmarket, where over the 12 & 13 of June 1940, they were run as the New Derby Stakes and the New Oaks Stakes, as previously titled throughout the First World War.

 

Interestingly, in contrast to the moral indignation raised against racing during the First World War, significantly, the ‘never say die’ spirit of the public travelled with or without petrol coupons, to the 1940 Derby, only days after the evacuation of Dunkirk. Two years later, setting the seal of approval, King George VI won four of the five Classics, only missing out with Big Game in the Derby, when attending with Queen Elizabeth.

 

Meanwhile at Epsom, the military moved into the Prince’s Stand using it as the Officers Mess. Although, not every battle was lost, for in 1943, after a prolonged dispute between the Epsom Grand Stand Association and the nation’s food producers, the Surrey War Agricultural Committee announced its decision to forego their claim to plough up the gallops.

 

 

The racecourse, however, was affected by bombing. Parts of the Grandstand were damaged and there were craters in the enclosures. Nevertheless, everything was patched up in time and the pre-war carnival spirit was in evidence for the first post-war Derby on Wednesday, 5 June 1946.

 

On a day more like January than June, it was reported that 250,000 people attended. For the first time, the Royal family, including the King and Queen, Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth, drove down the course from Tattenham Corner, whereupon, as if by Royal appointment, the sun came out.

 

The winner, Airborne, only the fourth grey to do so, started at 50-1 and appropriately, was backed by the mothers, wives and sweethearts of those in the service.

 

 

Ascot’s Festival of Britain Stakes 1951

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The Festival of Britain Stakes

 

 With the Investec Derby, Oaks and Royal Ascot behind us, I’d like to tell you a short story about my train trip to the first running of Ascot’s King George. Billed as the Festival of Britain Stakes, with more prizemoney than the Derby, it was heralded as the race of the year.  

 

Amid the noise and excitement, a crowded train pulled into Clapham Junction; it was one of many that day leaving for Ascot races.  This was Festival of Britain year 1951, and racing’s contribution to the festivities was a new race – the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Festival of Britain Stakes. Everyone seemed to be talking about it and everyone wanted to be there.  On top of that, it was one of those days of characters and mysteries that were to sink sublimely into my youthful memory.  Clambering aboard, I squeezed into a train filled with cigarette smoke and swaying bodies.

 

“There’s room for a nipper over here,” a large lady beckoned – I squeezed in. Her bright blue turban and flowered print dress contrasted dramatically with the sombre utility suits of the four men facing me. Directly opposite was a pale-faced man, fortyish, with dark crinkled hair, who I later learned was Mori. Turning to his neighbour, who looked ex-RAF and sported a ginger moustache, he said, “I’ve got a jacket at home that will fit you perfectly.”

“Sounds good,” said the moustache. “How much do you want for it?”

Mori paused, “If it fits you, it’s yours, free, gratis,” adding, “when you’ve had a winner you can pay me for it.”

“You see John’s jacket,” he continued, turning to the battered trilby on his right, “that’s one of mine. How long have you had that John?”

John frowned and took a sharp intake of breath.

“Must be 25 years now.”

“You see – quality,” beamed Mori. “Your brother’s got a similar jacket hasn’t he John?”

“Yes, he has sometimes.”

“What do you mean sometimes,” retorted Mori, now fully in command of the quartet.

“Well, he has it when I let him borrow it,” said John.

“You and your brother are a mystery to me,” continued Mori.

“Tell me, how is it you’re 50 and your twin brother says he’s nearly 60?”

“Ah,” said John, “He lies about his age!”

 

 

At this point, Reggie, their fourth member – egg-stained tie, and pebble glasses – looked up from his window seat, where he had been engrossed in The Sporting Life.

“Er John, isn’t that the jacket that your Mum wanted to bury your Dad in?”

Richmond – Twickenham – Feltham, the train was now heaving and a further gaggle of passengers stood between the two rows of seats in our carriage, temporarily depriving me of this surreal banter. And it was not until two of them found room in the corridor, that I tuned in again to the moustache opposite.

“Flat on the floor I was, threatened with a shooter – then they blew the safe – I couldn’t stop shaking, but when they opened it there was only a monkey inside.”

The blue turban chuckled and her fag-ash went all over my lap.

“Sorry darlin’,” she exclaimed, “but you gotta laugh, ain’t yer?”  And she did, like a drain.

 

At Staines, two bottled beers got in, and after passing the Daily Herald to and fro, a Fairisle pullover enquired of Mori, “Er, mate, lend us a pen for a sec.”

“Sorry,” said Mori dismissively. Whereupon, the Fairisle bothered everyone in turn for something to write with.

Finally, the blue turban offered him a crayon, which she later told me she had used to draw stocking seams on the back of her legs. Meanwhile, it was obvious, even to me as a 15-year-old, that the two bottle beers were a con-act, supposedly marking in that day’s stable whispers.  And sure enough, as soon as we were pulling into Ascot station, I heard the Fairisle say to the ginger moustache, “Five bob and I’ll mark yer card.”

Hastily grabbing my brown paper bag from the luggage rack, I didn’t look back to see if the fish was landed, as by now, I was being swept along the platform by the crowds that spilled out from every door on the train.

 

Down the underground tunnel and out into the light, we were met by all manner of tipsters, vendors and entertainers along the footpath to the racecourse. And it was not until I had reached my vantage point in the middle of the course that I stopped to unpack my lunch: two loose bananas, The Sporting Life, a bottle of Stout and, a pair of pyjama bottoms – I had grabbed the wrong bag!   Always the opportunist, I managed to make use of the first three items, but I had to admit the fourth had me stumped.  More importantly, who had got my mother’s Opera glasses and the cheese and pickle sandwiches she had so lovingly packed? My mind went back to the carriage; which of them was likely to take pyjamas to the races?

 

But now there were more important riddles to solve, as 18 two-year-olds went to post for the first, over the straight six furlongs. Soon after, Gordon Richards came back to tremendous cheering on the favourite, Olympic.  Half-an-hour later, Scobie Breasley did favourite backers another good turn, when the filly, Verse, won in a photo finish.

 

Moving over to a spot opposite the paddock, I watched the best horses in Europe filter out on to the course, for what was to be the first ‘King George’. Its prize of £25,000 was the richest ever for a British race.

The favourite was the Derby winner Arctic Prince, while the opposition included Tantieme (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe), Scratch (St Leger), Supreme Court (King Edward VII), Belle of All (1,000 Guineas), Ki Ming (2,000 Guineas), Sir Winston Churchill’s grey, Colonist, and the temperamental  Zucchero with the 15 year-old Lester Piggott aboard.

Nineteen runners went to post before a crowd reported to be more than 100,000.

I had taken an array of bets from my school-mates on the race, including two doubles running-on from Olympic to the long-shots Belle of All and Ki Ming, but refusing to hedge-off, I stood my ground.

Without a public commentary, or my Mum’s opera glasses, it was hard to know what was going on, but a tall man standing on a hillock nearby shouted out that Wilwyn and Belle of All were leading, and even I could see the grey, Colonist, up with the leaders.  But along the home straight, two horses pulled away from the rest – the electric atmosphere and the tremendous roar from the crowd gave me the feeling of being in the middle of a great storm, although in reality it was a bright sunny day.

Finally, I could see Charlie Elliott in the colours of Supreme Court – scarlet with a white V – get the better of young Lester on Zucchero. Both horses broke the 30-year-old course record.

Having weathered the storm, I realised that no-one at school had backed Supreme Court, so, to celebrate I bought a jumbo ice-cream cone and washed it down with the bottle of stout. Nevertheless, still in the possession of an unwanted pair of pyjama bottoms and, without an immediate use for them, I decided to let them loose in the makeshift lavatories.  On my way out, I saw a huddle of men gathered at the exit.  Not the usual ‘Find the Lady’, but Banker!  Suddenly, I was joined by the Fairisle pullover.

“Had any winners”, I piped up.

“Oh, hello titch, weren’t you on our train?”

“Yes,” I said, then pressing, “How are your tips going?”

“Oh, those,” he grinned, “just out to make a bob or two, you know.”

“Were they really stable whispers?” I persisted.

“Nah – just a couple of favourites and some my old Mum picked out – double-barrelled names with the same letter, you know, Fast Fox, that sort of thing,” he said with surprising candour.

 

Spilling out into the light, I was confronted by a cockney balloon salesman.

“The more yer blow, the bigger they grow,” he proclaimed. And then, as a small gathering of children surrounded him, he proceeded to make a series of giraffes, poodles and dachshunds from blowing and twisting balloons.

“One shilling for a giraffe,” he announced, “start your own zoo today.”

 

A further two races passed – Fast Fox 7-2 and Lancashire Lassie 13-2.  The Fairisle’s Mum certainly knew a thing or two!

Drifting through the crowd and feeling a little thirsty, I went into the beer tent to try and get another bottle of stout, but after standing on tip-toe for five minutes in front of a bar, now five deep, I heard a voice behind me say: “You’ll be lucky, nipper.”  It was the blue turban, who surprisingly had linked arms with the ginger moustache from our carriage, introducing him as Ralph and herself as Betty.  Both seemed very jolly, as Ralph, having paid five-bob for the Fairisle’s tips, had backed three winners. Betty snuggled up to him and told me she was going to help him spend it.

Eventually, Ralph got to the front of the bar and ordered me a beer. Standing in a corner of the tent, Betty mused, “I brought a bottle of stout with me, but must have picked up the wrong bag – still the sandwiches came in handy.”

What could I say? I couldn’t ask her about my Mum’s opera glasses, or the subject of the pyjama bottoms would crop up. I didn’t feel equal to that discussion, so I kept quiet, but my mind ran riot with bizarre images of their employment.

After another round of drinks, courtesy of Ralph’s success, we dashed out to back the favourite in the last. Wanting to look big, I had a £1 on it, while Betty was urging Ralph to double his stakes. Inside the final furlong, the favourite Pares, and Red Linnet (the danger), were up-front going hammer and tongs. I confess I had to look away, but I could hear Betty screaming and then noisily kissing Ralph.

 

It had been a great day for all of us. We collected the cash and walked back to the Railway Station, where we met up again with Mori. He seemed a little quiet however, and declined the offer to accompany us to White City dogs. Ten minutes later, having talked about our varying degrees of success, we boarded the London train together.

Mori looked tired, and sank back into the corner seat. After a few minutes of staring blankly out of the window, he sighed and said,

“Life’s like a game of poker you know; most people are dealt a hand for life – I think mine was a pair of Jacks.  Not great, but when the opposition is weak or they hesitate, you can pick up a few quid. Some good times, some bad and, if you like what you’re doing, even the bad times are good.”

We all nodded respectfully at his obscure soliloquy. I guessed that Mori was coming to terms with a very bad day.

 

 

Godolphin Strike Back

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Godolphin Strike Back

Masar, the first Investec Derby winner in Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin blue, has reopened the battle between racings two superpowers. And with the Sheikh now investing in Coolmore stallions, we look forward to a healthy competition for the Classics in England and Ireland.

 

This year’s Derby was run under blue skies and before a bumper crowd. The betting centred on one horse – Saxon Warrior – winner of the 2000 Guineas and best of five Aiden O’Brien entries, starting at 4-5 favourite; Roaring Lion, winner of the Dante Stakes, was next best at 6-1, while Young Rascal (Chester Vase) and Hazapour (Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial), were popular alternatives. The Godolphin hope, Masar, third to Saxon Warrior when favourite for the Guineas, attracted each-way support at 16-1.

The 12 runners on their way, Kew Gardens, Dee Ex Bee and Knight To Behold, led the field for the first half-mile. On to the highest point of the course, Knight To Behold headed Kew Gardens with The Pentagon and Hazapour two lengths away. There was little change in the order until entering the straight, when after Kew Gardens and Knight To Behold gave way, Hazapour took up the running from Dee Ex Bee, with Masar mounting a challenge and Roaring Lion closing fast. Suddenly, Masar forged ahead, leaving Dee Ex Bee and Roaring Lion to scrap for the places, while Saxon Warrior, the disappointment of the race, finished fourth.

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Run on Saturday, 2 June, 2018 as the Investec Derby Stakes over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-olds; entire colts 9st 0lb, fillies 8st 11lb. 455 entries. Value to winner £850,650.

 

1st MASAR                                  William Buick                   16-1

2nd DEE EX BEE                        Silvestre de Sousa             20-1           1½ lengths

3rd ROARING LION                  Oisin Murphy                    6-1             ½  length

 

Also ran: 4th Saxon Warrior (Ryan Moore) 4-5 Fav; Hazapour (Frankie Dettori) 12-1; Delano Roosevelt (Seamie Heffeman) 16-1; Young Rascal (James Doyle) 17-2: The Pentagon (Wayne Lordan) 33-1; Kew Gardens (Donnacha O’Brien) 16-1; Sevenna Star (Robert Havlin); Knight To Behold (Richard Kingscote) 14-1; Zabriskie (P B Beggy) 66-1 (tailed off, last).

                                                                                                                                                                                             12 ran. Time: 2 min. 34.93 sec.  

BRED by Godolphin.

OWNED by  Godolphin.

TRAINED by Charlie Appleby at Newmarket, Suffolk.

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The winner, MASAR, has won 4 races (from 8 starts), incl. BetBright Solario Stakes, Sandown, Bet365 Craven Stakes, Newmarket, Investec Derby Stakes. Third in Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes.

 

The sire, NEW APPROACH, ch.c. 2005 by GALILEO ex PARK EXPRESS, won 8 races (from 11 starts) incl. Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Vodafone Derby Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown,  Champion Stakes (in Course record time 2 m. 0.13 sec.), Newmarket. Second in Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, Newmarket & Irish 2000 Guineas, The Curragh. Sire of DAWN APPROACH ch.c. 2010 ex HYMN OF THE DAWN by PHONE TRICK, won Coventry Stakes, Ascot, Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Ascot; LIBERTARIAN b.c.2010 ex INTRUM MORSHAAN by DARSHAAN, won Dante Stakes, York, second in Investec Derby Stakes; TALENT ch.f. 2010 ex PROWESS by PEINTRE CELEBRE, won Pretty Polly Stakes, Newmarket, Investec Oaks Stakes.

 

The dam, KHAWLAH, b.f. 2008 by CAPE CROSS ex VILLARRICA, won 3 races (from 10 starts) incl. UAE Oaks and UAE Derby, Meydan. MASAR was her second foal.

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Forever Together wins the Investec Oaks

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Forever Together wins the Investec Oaks

The first maiden to win the race since Sun Princess in 1983, Forever Together, stormed home by four and a half lengths to give Aidan O’Brien his seventh winner in the race.

Seven days before the race, however, the Oaks betting was thrown into chaos when the John Gosden-trained ante-post favourite, Lah Ti Dar, returned an unsatisfactory blood test and was withdrawn. Wild Illusion, fourth in the 1000 Guineas, was then made 5-2 favourite, with Magic Wand, winner of the Cheshire Oaks at 4-1 and the runner-up, Forever Together, on 7-1.

On ground described as Soft (Good to soft in places), Flattering, Bye Bye Baby and Wild Illusion, took them up to the mile post, where Bye Bye Baby went on, going four lengths clear at the top of the hill, extending to seven lengths at Tattenham Corner. From coming up the middle of the straight, Bye Bye Baby moved towards the stands’ rail to do battle with Wild Illusion and Forever Together.

Two furlongs out, Forever Together (rails) and Wild Illusion forged ahead, with Donnacha O’Brien on Forever Together, drawing away at the distance to win by four and a half lengths. Bye Bye Baby, keeping up the gallop, finished third, a further three and a half lengths away.

In a blanket attack on the race, Aidan O’Brien trained five of the nine runners, four of which were by Galileo.

Purists may like to know an extra 12 yards had been added to the distance to protect the ground on the inner rail for Derby day.         

             

 

 

 

RUN on Friday, 1 June, 2018, as the Investec Oaks, over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-old fillies, 9st 0lb. Value to winner £283,550.

 

1st   FOREVER TOGETHER      Donnacha O’Brien     7-1

2nd  WILD ILLUSION              William Buick              5-2 Fav        4½ lengths

3rd  BYE BYE BABY                 Wayne Lordan             8-1              3½ lengths

 

Also ran: 4th Magic Wand (Ryan Moore) 4-1; Flattering (P.B. Beggy) 11-1; Give And Take (James Doyle) 16-1; Perfect Clarity (Adam Kirby) 5-1; I Can Fly (Seamie Heffernan) 9-1 (tailed off); Ejtyah (Jamie Spencer) 25-1(last, 98½ lengths behind the winner).   9 ran. Time: 2 min. 40.39 sec.

                                                              

BRED by Vimal and Gillian Khosia.

OWNED by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier.

TRAINED by A P O’Brien at Cashel, Co.Tipperary.

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The winner, FOREVER TOGETHER, a late May foal, has won 1 race (from 4 starts): Investec Oaks Stakes.   

 

The sire, GALILEO b.c. 1998 by SADLER’S WELLS ex URBAN SEA, won 6 races (from 8 starts) incl. Vodafone Derby Stakes, Budweiser Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland 2008 & 2010-2017. Sire of 3 Epsom Derby winners: NEW APPROACH ch.c. 2005; RULER OF THE WORLD ch.c. 2010; AUSTRALIA ch.c. 2011, and of 2 other Epsom Oaks winners: WAS b.f. 2009; MINDING b.f. 2013. Also sire of FRANKEL b.c. 2008, won 14 races,  incl. Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, (unbeaten).

 

The dam, GREEN ROOM b. or br. f. 2002 by THEATRICAL ex CHAIN FERN, was unraced. She has bred 7 winners from 8 foals (FOREVER TOGETHER was her 7th), incl. TOGETHER FOREVER b.f. 2012 by GALILEO, won 3 races incl. Dubai Fillies’ Mile, Newmarket.

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Masar makes it 7 Derby Trio’s

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Masar makes it 7 Derby Trio’s

 

When Masar won the 2018 Investec Derby he became the seventh Derby winner whose sire and grandsire had also won the Derby – so forming the threefold prepotent sire line of Masar (won 2018) – New Approach (2008) – Galileo (2001).

 

 

Whilst we await the further exploits of Masar (seen above), his Derby-winning sire, New Approach, notably, won the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in a Course record time, while his sire, the great Galileo, has been Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland, nine times.

 

The previous trio of grandsire, sire and foal was, Mill Reef (won 1971) – Shirley Heights (1978) – Slip Anchor (1985).

Mill Reef also won the Eclipse Stakes, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe and the Coronation Cup.

Notably, after fracturing his near-foreleg, he was the first horse in England to benefit from the insertion of a steel plate into his leg, in an operation that took six hours.  His son, Shirley Heights, also won the Irish Derby and sired the ‘trap to line’ Derby winner Slip Anchor.

 

The first trio of grandsire, sire and foal, successful in Epsom’s great race was Waxy (won 1793) – Whalebone (1810) – Lap-dog (1826) and Spaniel (1831).

Waxy and Whalebone were both Champion Sires, while in contrast, Whalebone’s sons, Lap-dog and Spaniel, both won the Derby as 50-1 outsiders.

The next set also started with two great racehorses, Bay Middleton (won 1836) and The Flying Dutchman (1849), however, the latter’s foal, Ellington (1856), owned by Admiral Harcourt, produced no notable progeny.

Doncaster (won 1873), Bend Or (1880) and Ormonde (1886), proved a very strong trio. Doncaster also won the Goodwood and Ascot Gold Cups; BendOr , interestingly, added the City & Suburban and Epsom Gold Cup, and his foal, Ormonde, not only won the Triple Crown, but became the outstanding Derby winner of the 19th century.

 

 

 

 

Next come the popular trio – Spearmint (won 1906), Spion Kop (1920) and Felstead (1928). Spearmint was by the great American horse Carbine; Spion Kop was ex Hammerkop, a Cesarewitch winner who was 17-y-o when foaling her only winner; while Felstead went on to sire the 1938 One Thousand Guineas and Oaks winner Rockfel.

Our final trio here is of Gainsborough (won1918), Hyperion (1933) and Owen Tudor (1941).

Gainsborough won the wartime Triple Crown, with all legs run at Newmarket; his son, Hyperion, was probably, the best loved horse in England between the wars and was Champion Sire six times. His colt, Owen Tudor, added the wartime St Leger and Gold Cup, before siring the celebrated miler, Tudor Minstrel (rated 142 in 1947) and Abernant, twice winner of the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes, (rated 139 in 1950).

 

I hope you agree, an all together interesting collection, and pillars within the history of the Derby Stakes.

 

Where did the first Derby start from?

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Where did the first Derby start from?

 

The 1780 Racing Calendar states that the first Derby, was run at Epsom on Thursday, 4th of May, over “the last mile of the Course”,

 

But which Course?

 

Strangely, previous historians could not agree – Roger Mortimer, author of two large volumes of Derby history, including a map of the previous Derby Courses, which I in turn endorsed, believed it was run on the original 17th century four-mile course on Banstead Downs, the last mile turning into the Epsom home straight from a spur behind the stands (see A on the map).

 

In contrast, both David Hunn (author of Epsom Racecourse) and Michael Seth-Smith (in Epsom’s Official History, Derby 200), believed the original Derby Course to be a straight mile that extended beyond the current five furlong start (see B on the map).

 

However, our focused research eventually proved that all had been mistaken.

 

 

On New Year’s Day, 2018, I received an email from Kevin McCarthy, a local researcher and Derby enthusiast, who on a mission to locate the exact starting place of the first Derby, suggested we could solve the mystery together.  We did, but not before we spent months studying ancient maps and searching through every book and newspaper relating to the history of Epsom Downs Racecourse.

 

To put our research into context, the early running’s of the Oaks and Derby were regarded as ground breaking events, for at this time almost all races were run in either two or four-mile heats, a horse having to win two heats to secure the prize. Many racecourses, including Epsom had a two-mile course, with the four-mile heats run over two circuits. However, in the 18th century, Epsom had both a two-mile orbicular course, situated on the site of the present racecourse and, a four-mile cross-country course which started on Banstead Downs, close to Lord Derby’s house The Oaks.

 

Previous researchers had then assumed the early Classics were run from the latter, and until both races were run over “the New Derby Course” in 1784, the Racing Calendar’s vague descriptions of “the last mile of the Course”, for the first Derby and the “last mile and a ½”, for the Oaks, gave historians no reason to believe otherwise.

 

William Kemp’s detailed 1824 map, A Plan and Survey of Epsom Race Course clearly shows that the Orbicular Course, recorded by John Toland in his 1711 publication, A Description of Epsom and its Amusement, incorporated its own internal two/four-mile course, distinct from the older one. Nevertheless, the Racing Calendar’s course descriptions could still refer to either racecourse.

 

Finally, a breakthrough came when finding conclusive evidence in H.E. Malden’s essay, An Eighteenth-Century Journey Through Surrey And Sussex:

“The old straight racecourse on Banstead Downs was disused about 1740, according to Salmon’s History and Antiquities of Surrey, and the “orbicular course” at Epsom, which had existed when Toland wrote thirty years earlier, had quite superseded it.”

“The old Epsom course started at Langley Bottom, out of sight of the place where the Grand Stand is now, and came round the Warren into the present course on top of the hill, and went right round from the present winning-post to Langley Bottom again. It was adapted for running four-mile heats.”.  [Pp 35-36 Surrey Archaeological Collections (Bosworth & Co., Guildford, 1916)]

 

So at last, we had the answer. The original start of the 1780 Derby was in fact, situated at the mile post on the old Orbicular or Cup Course (see C on the map), to be found just a few yards from today’s far running rail, near the busy sand gallop – quite forgotten – until now. And therefore, for future generations history has been re-written.

 

The authors of this project were Kevin McCarthy and Michael Church (Official Derby Historian).

 

For the full academic paper click here – Full 17 page Academic Essay

The Epsom Oaks Pedigree Chart

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THE OAKS CHART 1779-2017

Following Michael’s successful history of the Oaks Stakes,

he has now published a pedigree chart showing the Male Lineage of every winner

from Lord Derby’s Bridget in 1779 to Khalid Abdullah’s Enable in 2017.

 

Although the above chart has been greatly reduced, it measures 66 cm x 59.4 cm or 26″ x 23 1/2″ and is printed on 250 GSM ‘Natural’ ParchMarque Plus . From a limited edition of 90, copies are available directly from Michael at £60 including postage & a sturdy postal tube.

 

All winners and the date won, are shown in in Green capitals and in the ancestry, Champion Sires are shown with an asterisk * either side of their name.

 

The information boxes state that 97% of all racing thoroughbreds descend from ECLIPSE and that 20 of the last 28 Oaks winners are descended from NORTHERN DANCER – see below:

 

 

A further oblong box, shows the fastest times, longest and shortest winning distances, records of largest and smallest fields and prizemoney. There are also photographs of the Founding Fathers – DARLEY ARABIAN, BYERLEY TURK, GODOLPHIN ARABIAN and ECLIPSE.

 

I hope you will get great pleasure from the chart and enjoy owning a piece of Turf history.

 

This months Special Offer – The Oaks chart and the Oaks book for £90 – see Books For Sale