Oaks hope Somehow gets home for Moore
Somehow caused only minor ripples in the Epsom Oaks betting pond after scraping home under a determined Ryan Moore steer in the Cheshire Oaks yesterday.
A well-bred Fastnet Rock daughter of Alexandrova, which won the Oaks and its Irish and Yorkshire equivalents 10 years ago for Aidan O'Brien, Somehow had got off the mark at the second time of asking on her seasonal bow at Leopardstown.
Despite that modest CV, she was sent off at prohibitive odds of 8/15 to enhance her Classic prospects. For much of the near 12-furlong Group Three around Chester's notoriously tight, turning track, Somehow looked unlikely to justify those odds.
Niggled along by Moore, she trailed most of her seven rivals on the inner, and was still stuck in a pocket in behind as they made the final swing into the short straight. However, Moore, in typically composed fashion, didn't panic. When the split eventually came, Somehow had the gears to quicken, and she had a half-a-length and the same to spare over Moorside and Diamonds Pour Moi at the line.
She was trimmed from a top price of 25/1 to 16/1 for the Oaks, but the inconclusive nature of the win is illustrated by some firms going as low as 12/1 and others happy to leave her at 20/1.
"Ryan gave her a marvellous ride and taught her plenty," said O'Brien, whose brilliant 1,000 Guineas heroine Minding is odds-on in places to complete the Classic double. Of Somehow, he added: "She's still half asleep. I bring them here to try and sharpen their minds."
The Ballydoyle genius saddles the Derby favourite US Ranger at Chester today, and joked that Somehow's struggle didn't fill him with confidence ahead of that encounter. "I'm a bit worried about the colt now," he quipped in relation to US Army Ranger, "as she has done more than he has! Chester is good for the lazy ones, it just wakes them up."
Moore was typically reserved, but seemed happy with the filly. "I always felt she was going to do enough - I'm very, very pleased," he stated. "She was just green; she's inexperienced and she'd won a Leopardstown maiden. Better ground, and round here, it's a different kettle of fish."
The £74,000 winning purse for the day's featured Chester Cup was plundered by the Jamie Spencer-ridden No Heretic at odds of 11/1.
Having been off the track since September 2013, Jim and Fitri Hay's Galileo eight-year-old returned over flights to make its debut for Nicky Henderson at Newbury last month.
Third on that occasion, he clearly came on for the run, as he swooped late under Spencer to prevail by a short-head despite racing keenly early on.
Later on, Spencer's fellow former champion Kieren Fallon continued his recent mini-resurgence in this part of the world by guiding Ian Williams' Sir Maximilian (5/2 jt-fav) to a decisive victory in the five-furlong conditions race.