Natalee's Oaks as sceptics proved wrong
Forest Natalee's performance in winning the Irish Oaks at Shelbourne on Saturday night will go down as one of the great training performances of our time.
The flying bitch came in season three weeks ago but trainer Martin Lanney kept her in tune to produce one sizzling performance after another and she ended up by winning the €25,000 prize for owner Kevin Hutton.
The daughter of Ballymac Vic and Droopys Danneel had only been pipped by Heisman in the final of the Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk but the Oaks was her main target and her astonishing early pace made her a darling with the punters.
The 'secret' of her season spread like wildfire and the sceptics said that she had no chance of winning an Oaks when broken for three weeks. But Lanney upped her workload each week and the bitch responded.
On Saturday, she turned on the turbo after about five yards and burned off her rivals by the second bend. She was tiring on the heavy ground on the run-in but held on by a length from Tibet in 28.37 with Cabra Angel a length third.
Lanney and Hutton confirmed afterwards that the bitch has now been retired and she will rest up until she next comes in season and will then begin the role for which she was bought.
The other big race of the weekend was the Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby final which was run a day earlier and this produced a 10/1 winner in the Michael O'Donovan-trained Skywalker Rafa.
He flew from trap four and defied catching as he won by a length from Droopys Noah with Man Twenty One third.