• Horse Racing

Was stays on for glory in the Oaks

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012
Was did just enough to repel the threat of Shirocco Star © PA Photos

Aidan O'Brien claimed a fourth triumph in the Investec Oaks after Was hung on to triumph by a neck from Shirocco Star at Epsom.

O'Brien, who is bidding for a third success in the Investec Derby with red-hot favourite Camelot, added to his 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas triumphs as Was, beaten into third in last month's Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, showed formidable strength to stay on and deny Shirocco Star at the post.

Seamie Heffernan stuck to the rail throughout and, after front-running Nayarra fell away in the straight, Was came to the fore on the inside and had enough in the tank to hold off a surging Shirocco Star to prevail in the mile-and-a-half contest.

Favourite The Fugue, who won the Musidora two weeks ago, came from a long way back to take third place.

O'Brien, who had five runners in the race, said: "They are all well-bred fillies so anything is possible. She came out of her first run wonderfully and we're delighted."

Jockey Heffernan, who enjoyed the first major British win of his career, added: "I had plenty of horse and had enough horse to take two lengths. When you have plenty of petrol you can go where you like.

"I've been very lucky in these colours and have to thank the owner for having the trust in me and leaving me on the horse."

In the opening race of Epsom Derby's meeting, Clinical claimed the biggest victory of her career by winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes by three-quarters-of-a-length from Joviality.

Barefoot Lady, who finished third for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan, set the early pace but Clinical found a good rhythm under Luke Morris and took command with a couple of furlongs to run.

Joviality came back strong in the closing stages but Clinical, a three-time winner at Listed level last season, held on to go two places better than in 2011.

Morris said: "We wanted to be nice and handy as there wasn't much pace on paper and we were. She's really stuck her head out and ground it out well really."

Trainer Sir Mark Prescott added: "She was third in this last year, which was a good run, and she won three Listed races in the autumn. You can only justify staying in training another year if she wins a Group race, so thank goodness she's done it. She's from a very straightforward family and they make training easy - you don't need to be that skilful."

Earlier, Andrew Balding and Jimmy Fortune were given a timely boost as Side Glance secured the Investec Diomed Stakes.

Trainer and jockey could be forgiven for being preoccupied with Bonfire ahead of Saturday's Investec Derby, but Fortune pulled out a major coup by leading the five-year-old gelding to a three-quarter-length success. Worthadd, who looked strong for much of the race, faded and relinquished second to Dance And Dance.

Fortune said: "He ran a bit keen early on as the horse on my inner was just setting me alight. I wanted to hang on and not get to the front too early as he'd used up a fair bit of energy beforehand. He had a little bit in reserve in the finish and pulled it out when he needed to."

Highland Knight took the Investec Mile Handicap, while favourite Gatewood won the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap.

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