Aidan O'Brien landed a record-breaking 41st British Classic as Tuesday edged out favourite Emily Upjohn in a thrilling finish to the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom. Having placed in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Irish equivalent, the remarkably young daughter of Galileo – who was celebrating her third birthday – thrived for the step up in trip to give O'Brien his 10th victory in the race.
There was early drama as the Frankie Dettori-ridden Emily Upjohn slipped leaving the stalls and was left in the rear where the eventual winner was lurking nearby in the hands of Ryan Moore. As the pace began to quicken turning for home it was the first and second that caught the eye, as Moore went one way on Tuesday and Dettori and Emily Upjohn made eye-catching headway up the stands rail. The duo then hit the front simultaneously and were soon embroiled in a titanic battle to the line, with a photo finish required to separate the classy fillies. Tuesday officially prevailed by a short head to score as a 13-2 shot, with the Hollie Doyle-ridden Nashwa a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.
Dettori had to look down at Emily Upjohn following her start to check she had all four shoes, and was left to lament: "She should have won, it's as simple as that."It was very much contrasting emotions for O’Brien, however. "Ryan rode her very cold. He was very confident. We felt that a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half would suit her well, but you could never be sure," he said. "It wasn’t a mad pace. I thought the pace was lovely, but Ryan had her a good bit back. Looking at the race, she was a good bit back but the next thing she was challenging, so he gave her a brilliant ride. She is a baby. She was running in Classics before she was three and she was only three today. I thought this was a brilliant race. I look forward to the rematch. People will argue Emily Upjohn was unlucky that said Tuesday looks to have plenty in the locker now gone up in trip.
Memories of 1981 came flooding back as Desert Crown stormed to success in the Cazoo Derby, to provide Michael Stoute with his sixth victory in the premier Classic. It was that year that Stoute first struck gold at Epsom with the incomparable Shergar, but the 2022 model, a lightly-raced son of Nathaniel, did his best impression of the great horse as Richard Kingscote produced a textbook effort in the saddle for a first British Classic win on just his second Derby ride. Desert Crown was posted wide in mid-division in the early stages as Kingscote strived to settle the 5-2 favourite in the ideal position, but his class soon saw him tracking the Ballydoyle trio of Changingoftheguard, Star Of India and Stone Age, as well as the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained West Wind Blows, who had joined the O'Brien runners in front rank.
The race was put to bed shortly into the home straight, with Kingscote electing not to wait any longer with the smooth travelling colt approaching the two-furlong pole, allowing his mount to stride to the front and lap up the adulation of the sell-out crowd. He only needed to be ridden out to record a two-and-a-half-length victory from outsider Hoo Ya Mal (150-1). Ralph Beckett’s Westover (25-1) can perhaps count himself unlucky in third having been held behind the fading early pacesetters, but the day belonged to Stoute and Kingscote, with the Barbadian picking up his first Derby since Workforce’s victory in 2010.
I thought this was a brilliant performance. Desert Crown was worth more than the winning margin I think. It looks to my eyes that they had one eye on the rest of the campaign looking to preserve something for future targets. One final thing the fireworks before the Derby may actually be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. People have rightly pointed out the Derby horses what about the other horses in the stableyard who had yet to race? Absolute joke stuff.