Irish Invasion (Cont.)

Continued from part 1


Imagine was backed as the 3-1 favorite in her attempt to become the first filly since Valoris in 1966 to complete the Irish One Thousand/Oaks double. She moved to the head of the market at the expense of the Queen's Flight of Fancy, who had been favored throughout the spring to give Her Majesty a first classic win since 1977. A field of 14 faced the starter with £211,700 ($294,644) going to the winner.

Unlike her stablemate, Imagine had trouble negotiating the downhill run to Tattenham Corner. After being held up at the rear of the field early, Kinane nursed the half-sister to Derby winner Generous around the bend. Eighth into the straight, Imagine collared the leader, Relish The Thought, in the last 150 yards and went away to win by 1 1/4 lengths from a rallying Flight of Fancy, who nipped Relish The Thought by a head for second.

"She's done it really well although we had to make it up as we went along in some respects," said Kinane on dismounting. "I was a shade worried when we were at the back early, but I let her come down the hill at her own speed. Once in the straight she picked up and I was always going to win then. It was just a question of biding one's time and not getting there too soon."

Flight of Fancy was a handy fifth into the straight and may have been unlucky. Fallon couldn't get a run on her three furlongs out and was pinched a furlong later. Once clear, the homebred flew home to claim second.

"She was very unlucky and I think she could have won," said the Queen's racing manager, Lord Carnarvon. "Kieren could never get a position on her."

Godolphin claimed the 12-furlong-plus Coronation Cup on the Oaks Day card with Mutafaweq, a head winner over Wellbeing, in whom George Strawbridge recently bought an interest, and 6-4 favorite Millenary, last year's St. Leger (Eng-I) winner owned by Neil Jones of the Pacific Northwest.

Many assumed Ekraar would make the pace for Mutafaweq but early on he was near the tail of the field as Mutafaweq cut out the running. When Frankie Dettori poached a couple of lengths at the top of the stretch, the 11-2 upset looked on the cards. Millenary gave up the fight 1 1/2 furlongs out but the winner and Wellbeing went at it hammer and tong throughout the final furlong for the £150,000 ($208,770) first prize.

"I had it my own way on the lead," Dettori said. "This horse has won at a mile and six (furlongs, 1999 St. Leger) and I figured I could stretch them from five (furlongs) out and hope that nobody came quick to me. If they did, I could give them a battle and that's the way it worked out."


Flight of Fancy had finished fourth to Time Away in York's Musidora Stakes (Eng-III) and the latter was a 9-2 chance for the Prix de Diane Hermes (Fr-I, Oaks equivalent) on June 10 at Chantilly. Aquarelliste got the $220,444 first prize, however, coming down as the 9-5 choice in the field of 12 after an extended 10 furlongs in 2:09.50. Nadia ran second, 1 1/2 lengths back, with Time Away third.

The unbeaten filly had been removed, along with 41 other horses, from trainer Andre Fabre's yard three weeks earlier by owner Daniel Wildenstein and provided new trainer, Elie Lellouche, with his first "Diane" win. Jockey Dominique Boeuf gave Wildenstein his fourth win after Allez France, Pawneese, and Madelia in the mid-'70s.

"She's the best filly I've ever trained and will be rested until the Prix Vermeille (Fr-I, Sept. 16) and then prepared for the (Prix de l') Arc de Triomphe," said Lellouche.