Aidan O’Brien landed a record-breaking 41st British Classic as Tuesday edged out favourite Emily Upjohn in a thrilling finish to the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom.
Having placed in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Irish equivalent, the daughter of Galileo thrived for the step up in trip to give O’Brien his 10th victory in the race.
There was early drama as the Frankie Dettori-ridden Emily Upjohn slipped leaving the stalls and was left in rear where the eventual winner was lurking nearby in the hands of Ryan Moore.
As the pace began to quicken turning for home, it was the first and second that caught the eye, as Moore went one way on Tuesday and Dettori and Emily Upjohn made eye-catching headway up the stands rail.
The duo then hit the front simultaneously and were soon embroiled in a titanic battle to the line, with a photo finish required to separate the classy fillies.
Tuesday officially prevailed by a short head, with the Hollie Doyle-ridden Nashwa a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.
Dettori had to look down at Emily Upjohn following her start to check she had all four shoes, and was left to lament: “She should have won, it’s as simple as that.”
O’Brien said: “We were absolutely delighted, she’s never run over more than a mile. Today was her birthday, she wasn’t three until today. We always thought that a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half was going to suit her well.
“Ryan rode her very competently, she quickened well – it was unbelievable really. We were delighted for everyone at Ballydoyle and everyone at Coolmore.”
Of his new status as the Classic trainer with most wins, O’Brien added: “It feels unbelievable for us to be part of the whole thing, we’re a small part of the team and we feel very privileged to be that part.
“I’m so delighted because everybody puts in so much work, day in and day out, it’s literally day and night, so it’s unbelievable when everyone gets the return.
“We’re so grateful to everyone, that’s what makes it happen.”
Moore: I always felt she was going to win
Moore said to ITV Racing: “I always felt I was going to win, she’s just still a bit babyish and came out of the stalls awkwardly. She put herself into the race, she was just a bit idle and changed her leads late on, I just had to get her balanced.
“She’s got an awful lot of class, it’s amazing how the family keep producing. I always thought she was going to be a Classic filly this year, it hadn’t quite happened but it’s great that she’s gone and done it today.”
When asked about O’Brien’s record-breaking 41st Classic success, he said: “He’s incredible, we always use these terms like ‘genius’ but he goes into so much detail. What he’s done, we’ve never seen the like of and probably won’t again.”
A downcast Dettori said of Emily Upjohn: “She fell over (leaving the stalls), she slipped, lost her footing and fell over. I found myself last and going past all the field. I wish I had the pleasure to have the rail but I didn’t, Ryan (Moore) had that pleasure and I had to make a challenge on the outside.
“She made up a lot of ground and she was an unlucky loser.
“I wanted to see if she had all her shoes, generally when they do that they leave a shoe on the ground. It’s one of those things. She should have won, it’s as simple as that.”