Aidan O’Brien maintained his 100 per cent record in British Classics this season when Was won a rather untidy renewal of the Oaks at Epsom to give the trainer his 200th Group One winner.
The 20-1 chance was ridden positively by Seamie Heffernan in the early stages of the mile-and-a-half (2400m) contest, just tracking the early pace set by Nayarra, with stablemate Twirl also well to the fore.
Leading fancy Vow ranged up to make a race of it at the top of the home straight but Was quickened against the far rail to take top honours by a neck.
Hughie Morrison’s Shirocco Star ran a stormer to finish second, with 11-4 favourite The Fugue, trained by John Gosden, coming from a long way back to claim third and Vow fourth.
The master of Ballydoyle has now won three out of three Classics in Britain this season after Camelot and Homecoming Queen struck in the 2000 and 1000 Guineas respectively.
“Seamus gave her a lovely ride. She came on lovely from her first run so we were delighted,” O’Brien said.
“She’s a very good looking filly with a great pedigree. He’s a great fellow, Seamus, a world-class jockey.
“He knows all these horses inside out and and nobody deserves it more.”
Even with Kissed having been withdrawn earlier in the day, Was featured among five O’Brien-trained fillies in the race with 1000 Guineas third Maybe the most fancied.
Was won her only juvenile appearance at the Curragh last August, but was beaten into third in last month’s Blue Wind Stakes at Naas.
In a race where it proved sensible to be prominent off a slow gallop, the three-year-old showed plenty of dash.
Shirocco Star’s run was particularly meritorious given she was fractious in the preliminaries.
The Fugue and William Buick were short of room in the early stages and ended up further back than ideal but she finished off her race well and arguably goes down as an unlucky loser.
Vow travelled like the winner for a long way and ran a creditable race in fourth.
Maybe was also a long way back for much of the journey in the hands of the trainer’s son, Joseph, before staying on for fifth. O’Brien jnr was handed a four-day ban (June 15-18) by the stewards for careless riding.
Was now has the Irish Oaks at the Curragh in July as a possible aim while Maybe could revert to a mile for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot later in the month.
“She was coming there and coming there but a mile and a quarter might be as far as she wants to go,” O’Brien said.
“She might even go back (in trip) to the Coronation. She has a miler’s pace.”