Investec Derby Festival 2016: Minding favourite for Arc after tenacious Oaks victory


Aidan O’Brien receives his trophy after Minding’s victory in the Investec Oaks.

By Simon Jackson at Epsom Downs.

Minding has been slashed to 5-1 favourite (from 12-1) for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Paddy Power after a tenacious victory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

The beautifully-bred daughter of Galileo and Lillie Langtry was forced to overcome significant trouble in running down the home straight, before chasing down leader Architecture to score by a one and three quarter lengths. The pair finished eight lengths clear of third-placed Harlequeen.

Minding, the winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, was the first to complete the Guineas and Oaks double since Kazzia in 2002 and Moore believes that her high class enabled her to overcome the rocky passage.

“The pace was slow to start and we had a smooth race for the first seven furlongs,” Moore said. “But they weren’t going to make it easy for me and unfortunately the two horses at the front were sort of coming back, and as the others were getting going we got pinned down on the rail. She had ground to make up which I hoped I wasn’t going to have to and she did well to get herself out of trouble, and then she’s won the race well.”

“We always thought a lot of her and she’s a four-time Group 1 winner from seven furlongs to a mile and a half now. She’s never run a bad race. She’s very tough, very honest and very straightforward. She showed real class to get herself out of trouble; she had to have pace, and she’s out fought and out stayed them.

“Not many fillies win the Guineas and the Oaks, so it shows how tough it is to do it. If the ground wasn’t so bad at the Curragh, she’d have won two Guineas.”

The victory was the jockey’s second in the Oaks after his success on Snow Fairy in 2010, and the sixth for winning trainer Aidan O’Brien who praised Moore’s ride.

“The last five furlongs were tough on her and I thought Ryan did very well,” O’Brien said. “He didn’t panic and then when he got her out, he didn’t go chasing after them.

“The second filly was gone but Ryan let her gather herself and slowly come to them, and I think she got down past the two [furlong marker] to a furlong and a half and then I’d say she went into empty a little bit because of what had happened to her two weeks ago and then the race today, so he had to call on courage with her then. She really responded, so she was very courageous, I thought, today.

“This filly is very good. She’s special. She’s a Galileo filly who won her maiden over six furlongs very impressively, and then six, seven, a mile and now up to a mile and a half.

“She’s very well-named because one of the big parts of her is her mind; she’s got a very strong mind, she was relaxed today and took it all in her stride.

“I said to Ryan, ‘What is her trip, a mile and a quarter?’ He said ‘It probably is, but don’t rule an Arc if you want her.’ I suppose it will depend on what the lads [owners] are thinking towards the end of the season and what they have for races like that.”

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.