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Ladies Day at Epsom, where pageantry and racing share the stage. Colourful characters everywhere. A spectacular, gleeful, celebratory day where people come together to join in racing’s most spectacular carnival. It’s children cheering, champagne popping and track pulsating as thoroughbreds go full pelt in their prime.
BOBSLEIGH GOES ALL THE WAY
Bobsleigh flew to an impressive success in the British EBF 40th Anniversary Woodcote Skates to get the 2023 Derby Festival underway.
Eve Johnson Houghton two-year-old came into the race at 5-1 amongst a field of 12 runners. Though he didn’t feature prominently in the early stages of the race, he was ridden patiently by an ice-cool Charlie Bishop until the final bend, when he was manoeuvred around the field to challenge.
Having taken a wide line he battled past each of his rivals, including the 9-4 favourite Haatem, who missed the break completely and did extremely well to finish third, an dlng-time leader and eventual runner-up Balon d’Or.
FRANKIE’S DERBY FAREWELL OFF TO A FLYER
Frankie Dettori’s name is up in lights once again as he and Emily Upjohn ran out ready winners of the day’s first Grade One race.
Agonisingly beaten a short head in The Oaks on her last visit to Epsom 12 months ago - when her cause was compromised by a stumble on leaving the stalls - the filly this time was peerless as she left a quality field behind her.
An 11-4 chance for John and Thady Gosden, the daughter of Sea The Stars was biding her time in the early stages and only threw down a challenge in the home straight.
She then displayed a fantastic turn of foot to sweep past her rivals, and while Westover closed towards home Emily Upjohn had a comfortable length and three-quarters in hand at the line.
Gosden senior said: “She ended up in front because of the way she quickened, she’s a hugely talented filly.
“The Oaks went wrong last year, but that’s history. She showed that speed early last year and then again in the autumn on soft ground, this is quickening all the time, it’s genuine good to firm and she’s shown a lot of talent over a mile and a half.”
FABULOUS FRIDAY FOR FRANKIE
Frankie Dettori’s farewell tour continued in victorious style with a win on Soul Sister in The Betfred Oaks, making up for last year when his strongly fancied mount slipped at the start before finishing a close second.
There was drama before the off with Running Lion getting upset in the stalls and appearing to unseat her jockey, Oisin Murphy, leaving the field to go without her.
Dettori, who is in his last season in the saddle and had already bagged a Classic on Chaldean in the 2,000 Guineas last month, is in his pomp and the result never looked in serious doubt when he brought Soul Sister travelling well into the lead on the turn into the straight.
The Italian rider said this after his second win of the day: “This means a lot to me [my seventh Oaks]. Two great fillies…Emily and this one. I want to soak it in,” said Dettori.
“It was a bit messy to begin with and I didn’t want to go too wide but I kept her balanced and he did the rest. I’m not going to sleep tonight!”