Magnificent Kinane steers Shahtoush to Oaks glory
CAPT KEEN AT EPSOM AIDAN O'BRIEN'S Epsom weekend got off to the perfect start when the trainer's Shahtoush stormed home the 12/1 winner of the English Oaks under Michael Kinane.
It was an extraordinary performance by horse and jockey with Tipperary man Kinane sitting oh so patiently at the back on what was remarkably O'Brien's first-ever Epsom runner.
Even in the straight, Kinane seemed super confident that the others would come back to his filly.
The classic took a predictable early pattern with Trophy Wife cutting out the pace for her Henry Cecil stable companion Midnight Line which had been backed into favouritism.
Midnight Line duly hit the front, but went out like a light.
It was the Tommy Stack trained Tarascon which appeared to be the likely winner inside the last two furlongs.
The Irish Guineas heroine could not quicken up and her teenage jockey Jamie Spence felt that she did not stay the one mile four furlongs.
Second in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket to Cape Verdi she runs in today's Derby but well in arrears in the Irish version, Shahtoush came through to duel with Frankie Dettori and Bahr.
Kinane smiled: ``I think Frankie thought he had it won. I'm sure I gave him a bit of a shock.''
Shahtoush won a little snugly at the finish and she and Bahr finished six lengths ahead of Midnight Line which also did not appear to get the trip.
The ground was riding genuinely good and the quiet-spoken O'Brien ventured: ``The ground for the Irish Guineas was just too firm and the pace did not suit either''.
The thoughts of the 28-year-old trainer who now leads the British Trainers Championship, owners Diane Nagle and Sue Magnier who bank almost £140,000 for this success and the jockey, then turned to last night's card at The Curragh. But they'll all be back here today!
The Coronation Cup promised to be a fascinating contest and certainly lived up to that billing.
Ultimately, the John Dunlop-trained Silver Patriarch gave Pat Eddery his first win in the Group One contest over the Derby distance.
In a frantic finish, the 7/2 chance swooped late to beat the favourite Swain and the gallant Irish filly Ebadiyla.
There are good grounds for suggesting that Ebadiyla, trained by John Oxx for the Aga Khan, would have finished second but for being sandwiched by the other two in the last 100 yards.
Curragh trainer Oxx commented: ``Although I'm not sure exactly what the stewards inquiry is about, she slightly suffered and because she is a little filly and a bit timid, it may have put her off.
``But it was a terrific run and I'm delighted with that. She's a lot fitter and has sharpened up a lot since her last run at The Curragh.
``She has trained on well and, if she gets off ground, it will make a big difference.
``She will run in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes next. It was a wet day last year and we hope it will be soft again although it is asking a lot for it to happen two years running.
``After Ascot, it will be the Irish St. Leger and then the Arc.''
Ultimately the stewards decided to leave the placings unaltered.
Jamie Spence later received a four-day ban for his use of the whip upon Tarascon. The 17-year-old, who had ridden Tommy Stack's filly to victory in the Airlie/Coolmore 1000 Guineas at the Curragh a week last Sunday, was adjudged to have used his whip above shoulder height on his mount, who finished a non-staying sixth. His suspension will run from June 15-18 inclusive.
Meanwhile, Pat Eddery rode the St Leger winner Silver Patriarch to win the Vodafone Coronation Cup.
Lord Howard de Walden, one of racing's most distinguished owners, secured his 600th victory over Flat and jumps when Dower House squeezed home in the Vodafone Racing Handicap.