Imagine Wins Epsom Oaks; Mutafaweq Takes Coronation Cup
Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 2:14 PM
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2001 11:10 AM
Imagine completed a classic double when she won the Epsom Oaks Friday in England. On May 27, the Sadler's Wells filly won the Irish One Thousand Guineas at the Curragh.
She also gives trainer Aidan O'Brien a chance for a classic daily double over the weekend. He sends out Galileo in Saturday's Epsom Derby.
Under Michael Kinane, Imagine came from near the back of the group in the Oaks, a sweeping move carrying her to a 1 1/4 length victory over Flight of Fancy and Relish the Thought.
Imagine, out of the Master Derby mare Doff the Derby, drew most of the late money, going postward as the 3-1 favorite. She races for Sue Magnier.
"I thought they might not go a good pace, but they went plenty," Kinane told The Sporting Life after the race. "I found myself round a few back markers I really didn't want to be, and she didn't come home down the hill as well as you'd want. But I just let her do it in her own time, and once we straightened up I was always going to win."
Mutafaweq led all the way, and held on in a stirring stretch drive to just win the Coronation Cup (gr. I) at Epsom on Friday. The 5-year-old horse, by Silver Hawk--The Caretaker, by Caerleon, gallantly stuck out his neck under Frankie Dettori to defeat Wellbeing by a short head.
Owned by Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin and trained by Saaed bin Suroor, Mutafaweq made all the early running in the 1 1/2 mile race, looking like he might just gallop home easily. But, Wellbeing and favored Millenary took up the chase and made a thrilling race out of it. Wellbeing ran strongly to the finish while Millenary was one-paced and finished third.
In just a six-horse field, Ekraar ran fourth, the filly Petrushka finished a disappointing fifth, and Chimes at Midnight was sixth.
"It didn't look like there was going to be much pace and this horse loves firm ground, so I thought we might nick a couple of lengths on the home turn," Dettori told the Sporting Life. "In the straight, he was giving me everything, and although Richard Quinn (aboard Wellbeing) gave me a real battle, I knew it would take a good one to get by."
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