Taghrooda too good in Oaks romp
Taghrooda maintained her unbeaten status with a magical performance to take this season’s Investec Oaks under Paul Hanagan for trainer John Gosden and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum. In what was a memorable day for connections, it was a first Oaks win for Gosden, a first Classic win for Hanagan and a special day for Al Maktoum who recorded a one,two with Tarfasha filling the runner up spot.
Five years ago Sea The Stars recorded his Derby success and his daughter Taghrooda, unbeaten in two starts before today, is well on the way to following in her old man’s footsteps, showing true class to run out a facile winner of today’s Epsom showpiece. A maiden winner at Newmarket on her sole 2yo appearance, Taghrooda first showed her undoubted talent with a bloodless 6 length victory in Listed company on her reappearance at the same track.
That race obviously put her in perfect shape for a crack at today’s Classic and the weather gods were obviously shining down on Gosden’s charge as well, with the ground drying out to give the eventual winner ideal underfoot conditions.
Richard Hughes was quick to let his charge Volume sprint to the front from the off and they would remain there throughout as they controlled the pace at the head of the large field. Hanagan, on the other hand was happy to find plenty of cover for his charge and only had one worrying moment as his charge began to race keenly on the approach to Tattenham corner but eventually got her settled again as the field turned for home.
Richard Hughes and Volume kicked for home early and caught some of their rivals on their toes but Taghrooda continued to travel smoothly and having hit the front at the 2 pole, Hanagan merely had to say go and the pair shot clear to score by 3 3/4 lengths. Tarfasha came out on top in a head bobbing finish for second, with the front running Volume staying on gamely to finish just a nose back in third.
Hanagan said: “It feels great, it’s what I’ve worked hard for. I’m delighted for the team really, Sheikh Hamdan, Angus Gold, Richard (Hills), it’s a big team effort and John Gosden’s yard have done a fabulous job.
“We had really bad news recently with the death of John Hills, who was a big part of the team, and I’d just like to say this one is for him.”
Richard Hills, who rode Eswarah to Oaks victory for Sheikh Hamdan in 2005 and is now part of the backroom staff, said: “This is what we work for with the boss. The filly had been working so well and had done everything right, for the Hills family it is a big lift for us.
“It’s great for Paul and Sheikh Hamdan, this is what we do it for, why we get up at 5am to sit on these horses – this is what we come here for.”
He added of his brother John, who sadly passed away on Sunday: “John will be watching, he said to me last week, ‘Rich, good luck’ and there’s no doubt he was there with us.”
Gosden said: “Two years ago we should have won it with The Fugue, but she got almost knocked over, so it has always been a race owing to the stable – to that extent it was a great relief.
“He rode her quite beautifully, it was a very smooth ride and he was always in a great position as Richard Hughes was in front playing with the pace a bit. He was able to go and assert and show her class and stamina.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Signup to our RSS feed