Taghrooda produced a fantastic display under jockey Paul Hanagan to romp to an easy victory in the Oaks at Epsom, keeping her unbeaten record intact. Tarfasha crossed the line in second, while early front-runner Volume had to settle for third place.
Winning by 3 3/4 lengths in the field of 17, Hanagan’s triumph is the first Classic success of the jockey’s career and it gave owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum a one-two, with Tarfasha also under his ownership.
Here’s a look at the full Oaks standings on a thrilling day in Surrey:
|1||Taghrooda||P Hanagan||J Gosden|
|2||Tarfasha||P Smullen||D Weld|
|3||Volume||R Hughes||L Cumani|
|4||Inchila||J Spencer||P Chapple-Hyam|
|5||Ihtimal||K Fallon||Saeed bin Suroor|
|6||Marvellous||J O'Brien||A O'Brien|
|7||Palace||R Moore||A O'Brien|
|8||Momentus||H Bentley||D Simock|
|9||Lily Rules||B McHugh||T Coyle|
|10||Madame Chiang||W Buick||D Simcock|
|12||Island Remede||J Doyle||E Dunlop|
|12||Regardez||R Kingscote||R Beckett|
|13||Marsh Daisy||J Fortune||H Morrison|
|14||Dazzling||J Heffernanan||A O'Brien|
|15||Anipa||A Atzeni||R Varian|
|16||Honor Bound||J Crowley||R Beckett|
|17||Amazing Maria||F Dettori||E Dunlop|
Taghrooda was among the favourites heading into Friday’s race given her recent form, and she certainly lived up to her billing with a convincing victory.
Having won the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket last month, Taghrooda was at 5-1 pre-race and got off to a strong start in the Oaks.
Taghrooda bids to maintain her unbeaten record in the Oaks https://t.co/jezMoYYlfy— Tom Thurgood (@tdthurgood) June 6, 2014
Though Volume lead the way in the early exchanges, Hanagan placed Taghrooda behind her and waited for the chance to charge.
That came on the hill, as Volume came off the bridle and Hanagan was able to capitalise to steer Taghrooda into the lead.
With the 3-year-old horse going strongly at the front, Volume and Tarfasha played out their own mini battle for second place, which the latter deservedly won.
Elsewhere, pre-race favourite Marvellous fell out of contention after struggling on Tattenham Corner, and Frankie Dettori took the wooden spoon upon Amazing Maria.
Here’s how the top three paid out at Epsom:
The Epsom moment rightly belonged to Hanagan, who was taking part for the first time, and he expressed his joy at sealing victory in his post-race interview, per The Telegraph:
It feels great, it's what I've worked hard for. I'm delighted for the team really, Sheikh Hamdan, Angus Gold, Richard (Hills), it's a big team effort and John Gosden's yard have done a fabulous job. We had really bad news recently with the death of John Hills, who was a big part of the team, and I'd just like to say this one is for him.
Although not directly involved in the training of Taghrooda, Hills was among the trainers used by Al Maktoum and his passing sparked emotional scenes at the race’s climax for Hanagan.
Taghrooda, though, is trained by John Gosden, who Epsom’s Twitter account revealed to be imparting his pearls of wisdom upon Hanagan before the start:
John Gosden and Paul Hanagan pre-race. Wonder what was said! pic.twitter.com/e5uRb8JhV8— EpsomDownsRacecourse (@EpsomRacecourse) June 6, 2014
Whatever he said, it clearly worked wonders as the trainer enjoyed his second Classic victory of the year after Kingman’s triumph in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
With Taghrooda in such imperious form, she’s likely to be a force in horse racing on the flat courses for many years to come.
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is edging ever closer for Taghrooda, where her odds will be considerably cut after a stunning ride in Epsom.