John Gosden’s Anapurna denies Aidan O’Brien an eighth Investec Oaks

Aidan O’Brien was denied an eighth Investec Oaks success at Epsom on Friday when John Gosden’s Anapurna (8/1) became the first filly by Frankel to win the 1m 4 furlong Classic.

Mehdaayih (11/4), who had been supplemented earlier in the week, started as race favourite, with Pink Dogwood (3/1), winner of the Salsabil Stakes at Navan, second favourite and the more fancied of the Ballydoyle quartet in the 14-runner field.

Peach Tree (33/1), under Donnacha O’Brien, was prominent from the stalls, with the Jim Crowley-ridden Maqsad (4/1), Pink Dogwood, eventual winner Anapurna and the Dermot Weld-trained Tarnawa (20/1), recent victor of the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, all sitting mid-division as they rounded Tattenham Corner.

Ryan Moore brought Pink Dogwood down the outside as the field came down the home straight, with Dettori maintaining his position on the rail on Anapurna, one of three daughters of Frankel in the Group 1 event. Two brave fillies fought tooth and nail to the line with the Gosden-trained runner having a neck advantage at the winning post. Another O’Brien inmate, Fleeting, with Wayne Lordan in the saddle, ran a cracking race at 25/1 to claim third spot a further length-and-a-quarter behind her stablemate.

Manuela De Vega (16/1) was fourth, having a length-and-a-half advantage over another Ballydoyle runner, Delphinia (66/1), at the end. Pacesetter Peach Tree finished in 10th place, a short-head in front of Weld’s Tarnawa.

In the other Group 1 contest of the afternoon on Epsom Downs, the Roger Varian-trained Defoe was a surprise 11/1 winner, as he outstayed Aidan O’Brien’s Kew Gardens (100/30) by half-a-length.

When the Ryan Moore-ridden Ballydoyle runner came down the outside inside the two-furlong pole, it looked as though he would go on for victory. Andrea Atzeni, on the middle winner of an afternoon treble, stoked up his mount on the rail, however, and the five-year-old son of Dalakhani, kept his more fancied adversary at bay, holding off the son of Galileo. Last year’s runner-up, Salouen (10/1), under Oisín Murphy, had to settle for third place this year, five-lengths behind Kew Gardens.

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