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It had been a long time between drinks for Dermot Weld in the Oaks, his last winner of the Epsom classic was way back in 1981. But in Ezeliya, he had a filly he thought could end the drought, and so it proved.

A daughter of Dubawi out of a mare, Eziyra, who had herself won at Group 2 level for Weld, Ezeliya’s pedigree is littered with winners, and winners who possessed plenty of stamina. Ezeliya showed she had inherited not only the class and speed but also plenty of that stamina as she drew away from her rivals up that long Epsom straight on her way to victory.

She’d had a light campaign at two, running twice and winning a maiden at Cork on her second start. Ezeliya started relatively unfancied at 9/1 on her first outing this season in a Group 3 at Navan but belied the odds to record an impressive success. She came to Epsom as the second favourite for the Oaks, behind Aidan O’Brien’s Ylang Ylang for whom there was strong support in the market leading up to the race.

In the event, Ylang Ylang didn’t fire. She raced at the back and although she came with a run, she never looked like getting on terms before fading.

Ezeliya raced a few lengths ahead of Ylang Ylang towards the rear of midfield for most of the race. But jockey Chris Hayes always looked confident as he brought her wide in the straight to make her effort. Two furlongs out, Godolphin’s Dance Sequence hit the front but Ezeliya went with her and gradually got the upper hand as they approached the final furlong pole. With Dance Sequence looking to become unbalanced on Epsom’s camber, the initiative was firmly handed to Weld’s filly and she stayed on strongly to win by three lengths.

Weld was reluctant to make comparisons between Ezeliya and his previous Oaks winner, Blue Wind, saying, “I never compare different generations,” but he was keen to emphasize the stamina in the pedigree and highlighted the filly’s racing style as a significant plus factor. “She races low to the ground, they usually stay well,” he said in the aftermath. On winning another classic, he was keen to stress how important these big race wins are, “It’s the pinnacle of what we do, it’s what you’re remembered by.”

Plans for the filly will depend on how she comes out of the race. The Irish Oaks is a possibility, but the former Melbourne Cup-winning trainer mentioned several times that a lay-off with an Autumn campaign to follow was also an option they’ll be considering.

The day’s other Group One race, the Coronation Cup, was won by Aidan O’Brien who will be relieved to get a Group One in the bag after an unusually slow start to the year for the Ballydoyle stable. His Luxembourg, a five-year-old Camelot horse, ran out a good winner with the favorite Emily Upjohn, who had won the race in 2023, disappointing back in fourth of the five runners.

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