Frankie Dettori has steered Anapurna to a thrilling victory in the Oaks at Epsom, 25 years after his first win in the Classic.
Trainer John Gosden fielded two runners in a bid to win the fillies’ Classic for the third time, with impressive Cheshire Oaks winner Mehdaayih the 11-4 favourite under Robert Havlin and Anapurna an 8-1 shot after landing the Lingfield Oaks Trial.
While Mehdaayih pulled early on and met significant traffic problems, Dettori always had Anapurna in prime position and although she was under pressure early in the straight, Anapurna responded to give her sire Frankel a first European Classic success.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Pink Dogwood displayed an electric turn of foot to grab the lead racing inside the final two furlongs (400m), but Anapurna dug deep and got up to score by a neck.
In doing so, she gave Dettori his fifth Oaks success following the previous triumphs of Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995), Kazzia (2002) and Enable (2017).
“A brave performance by the filly and brave from the jockey. He found a gap on the inside,” Gosden said.
“Unfortunately our other filly got nothing but smashed and bumped around everywhere.
“I thought coming past the furlong pole (Ryan) Moore (Pink Dogwood) had got it, but somehow this filly found the courage of reserves and energy to get her head back in front.
“The last 50 yards are uphill and she basically outstayed the other filly.
“Full marks to both riders and both fillies – two magnificent fillies.”
The trainer said Anapurna would not be rushed into future assignments.
“I’d love to give her some time to develop, as she has a good frame on her,” he said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we are going to charge off to the Ribblesdale or Ireland. I think a mile and a half (2400m) is spot on for her. At the end of the year you could also run her in the Prix de Royallieu.
“She stays, but she won’t run in the St Leger.”
Dettori chose Anapurna over Mehdaayih, saying he thought she would be the better stayer.
“I thought the other one had a better turn of foot, but I knew mine would stay really well,” Dettori said.
“The only thing I was afraid of was inexperience, but I had a great run round. For a minute I couldn’t get out and it took a furlong to get going and Ryan had three lengths on me, but I knew she would come home good.
“I absolutely love it. My first one (Oaks) was 25 years ago and I’m still here.”