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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Wings and things: the best and worst of the weekend racing

Bookmakers would have been pleased to see outsider Wings Of Eagles led into the winner's enclosure
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Performances of the weekend

The Oaks and Derby winners, Enable and Wings Of Eagles, have to be handed the gongs after contrasting, yet equally taking, wins.

On Friday, Enable went to the line like a runaway train as her stamina refused to crack, unlike odds-on favourite Rhododendron, who found the final furlong a bridge too far. 

John Gosden suggested Enable is in the class of his 2014 Oaks heroine Taghrooda, which is high praise indeed, and she is one to savour this summer.

The Derby was no less dramatic, as Wings Of Eagles came from the clouds to snatch victory under Padraig Beggy.

The 40-1 screamer was perhaps a fitting winner of a Derby that had been labelled as wide open in the build-up. However, he beat the right horses in Cliffs Of Moher and Cracksman, and, but for a clearer passage, may well have won with more in hand. 

Disappointment of the weekend

When the thunder was rumbling and the lightning flashing moments before the Oaks, Kenny McPeek's dream of Epsom glory came to a cruel end.

Daddys Lil Darling spooked at the thunder and jockey Olivier Peslier had to take evasive action as the filly bolted to the start. American trainer McPeek had been warm and engaging all week and it was heartbreaking to see his dream dashed in such a manner.

It was testament to McPeek that he maintained his composure and class post-race and he deserves better luck if returning.

Picture of the week

Flying dismount: Frankie Dettori pleases the crowd around the winner's enclosure following Enable's Oaks success

The Epsom crowd was treated to a trademark flying dismount from Frankie Dettori after Enable's Oaks win.

Tweet of the week

A tweet from Aaron Gryder's account showing the journey in front of him

Jockeys in Britain rack up the miles, but American rider Aaron Gryder took things to another level this week with a marathon 2,908-mile journey from New York to California for four rides at Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco on Friday.

Quotes of the week

"We're big boys and there are worse things in the world – what happened in Manchester, and other things going on – and this is just horseracing. I still love it." Kenny McPeek was all class despite Daddys Lil Darling being withdrawn from the Oaks.

"It's a lot of money and I'm a Yorkshirewoman. I did look after Sandown and I thought, 'bloody hell'." Ruth Carr is considering whether the evergreen Sovereign Debt needs supplementing for a crack at some Group 1 glory.

When I saw Ryan not moving, I thought, 'Oh God, I'm in trouble!'" Frankie Dettori believed Ryan Moore had his number in the Oaks, but it proved to be Enable who stayed best.

"It's been a rollercoaster week, everything that's been going on in the papers, all the good publicity and all the bad publicity we've been given and now this has happened – I don't know what to say." Diore Lia's participation in the Derby generated a lot of interest, but an 11th-hour injury meant owner-breeder Richard Aylward was unable to live his dream.

The 40-1 screamer was perhaps a fitting winner of a Derby that had been labelled as wide open in the build-up
E.W. Terms
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