‘Like a knife through butter’: Frankie Dettori collects 21st Classic in the Oaks at Epsom

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  • Frankie Dettori and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Snowfall, owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor, destroyed her rivals to win the Cazoo Oaks by an incredible 16 lengths on the first day of the Epsom Derby meeting (4 June).

    “I’ve never ridden a Classic winner as easy as this one,” said 50-year-old Frankie. “They went far too quickly and I had everything beat on the home straight. I was afraid of [favourite] Santa Barbara, but as soon as I saw daylight in front of me, I thought ‘I’m going now’ and she took off — she went like a knife through butter.”

    Epsom Oaks winner 2021 Snowfall ridden by Frankie Dettori

    This victory sees Frankie equal the legendary Fred Archer’s record 21-strong tally of Classic wins. It was a 40th British Classic victory for Aidan O’Brien, plus a ninth Oaks win for the trainer.

    “We thought Snowfall was very good last year and we kept running her in Group Ones, but she kept disappointing — maybe she got stronger and better over the winter,” said Aidan. “David, Jamie and Wayne, who look after her and ride Snowfall, were all very happy with her coming into this race and the way she’s won is unbelievable really. Frankie gave her a very good ride and she looks like a very special filly.”

    The winning margin was a record for the Oaks, beating the previous best of 12 lengths by Sun Princess in 1983. The biggest winning margin in any British Classic is 20 lengths, recorded in the 1,000 Guineas in 1859.

    Mystery Angel, a 50/1 outsider owned by Nick Bradley Racing 27 & Partner, finished second under Ben Curtis for young trainer George Boughey, while another Aidan O’Brien runner, Divinely, was third under Seamie Heffernan.

    The favourite, Santa Barbara, finished in eventual fifth under Ryan Moore — she was held up in the rear of the field and never made an impression.

    Frankie Dettori looks delighted as Snowfall wins the 2021 Cazoo Oaks at Epsom. Photo by John Walton - Pool/Getty Images)

    2021 Epsom Oaks winner’s breeding

    Snowball is bred in the purple; by Deep Impact, out of a Galileo mare called Best In The World, who is a sister of Found. Found clocked over £5m in prize money for the same connections as Snowball, including winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2016, plus the 2015 Breeders’ Cup.

    Read the full report from the Derby meeting in the 10 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine.

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