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 – whose third birthday it was – 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 eyecatching 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.”
It was very much contrasting emotions for O’Brien, however.
“Ryan rode her very cold. He was very confident. We felt that a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half would suit her well, but you could never be sure,” he said.
“It wasn’t a mad pace. I thought the pace was lovely, but Ryan had her a good bit back. Looking at the race, she was a good bit back but the next thing she was challenging, so he gave her a brilliant ride. She is a baby. She was running in Classics before she was three and she was only three today.
“It just shows to show what ability she has and what kind of filly she is. She is maturing all the time and she is a total baby and Ryan said he rode kind of babyish as well. That is a great thing to hear when they win a race like that and Ryan still said that.
“She has run in all types of ground, but safe ground is perfect. She bends her knee a little bit, so obviously she handles ease. Her sister (Minding) handled ease, but she will handle fast ground as well.
“With this type of filly, we obviously look at something like an Irish Oaks or something like that. We have plenty of time. Whether it is a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half it would not bother her, and even at a mile she is very competitive.”
Moore said: “She was awkward at the start. I was following Nashwa, which I was happy about, but I was not quite happy with what Nashwa was following in front, so I wasn’t in the spot I would like to have been.
“But Frankie was with me and the pace was even enough. My filly, it was only her birthday today, and she is out of an unbelievable dam (Lillie Langtry). She put herself in with every chance very quickly and when she got to the front was still a little bit babyish.
“She was in the middle of the track and wasn’t quite getting down galloping still, you know? I always thought I was holding on, but at the line it was a bit closer than it should have been.
“I felt I had another gear and she has taken a big jump forward in 12 days from the Irish Guineas and stepping up in trip suited her. I think she will be effective back at 10 (furlongs) and there is no reason, after the races she has had, there is no reason why she can’t continue to thrive.”