H&H racing columnist Ralph Beckett enjoyed a one-two at Epsom this afternoon (Friday 31 May) — with the chestnut filly Talent taking the Investec Oaks ahead of her stablemate, the better-fancied Secret Gesture.
Talent was sent off at 20-1, with Secret Gesture 3-1 for the 1m4f contest.
The early pace of the race was set by Miss You Too. Secret Gesture took the lead a couple of furlongs out, but Talent put in a late surge to the front under a patient ride by Richard Hughes to win by almost four lengths.
“It’s hard to say how good she is,” said Beckett. “She’s tough. When he [Hughes] put her in the race she got keen, she started tanking. What a day.”
It was Talent’s third win from four starts. The three-year-old is by New Approach, also the sire of tomorrow’s (Saturday 1 June) Derby favourite Dawn Approach.
And it was the second Classic in a month for jockey Richard Hughes, who celebrated winning the first British Classic of his career in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Sky Lantern (5 May).
“It’s just like buses,” he said. “I went to ride her work in the week and wasn’t that impressed, she was skinnier than me. But she was very quick up the hill. I said to Tom Queally [who was riding Madame Defarge] ‘can you believe how well I’m going?’
“On better ground she’ll be even better.”
Michael Bell’s The Lark finished third while the Aidan-O’Brien-trained favourite Moth was fourth.
Listen to the race commentary
For full report from Epsom don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday 6 June.