Talent trounces rivals in English Oaks

Darley’s Victorian-based shuttler New Approach is on the cusp of a classic double after his filly Talent won the G1 English Oaks (2400m) at Epsom Downs on Friday.

Talent (3f New Approach – Prowess by Peintre Celebre) settled well back under Richard Hughes and was still among the tailenders coming out of Tattenham Corner.  When switched into clear running in the straight, she accelerated to the front at the furlong and won going away by next to four lengths.

Her more favoured stablemate Secret Gesture (Galileo) finished second ahead of The Lark (Pivotal).

Trainer Ralph Beckett, who prepared Look Here (Hernando) to win the 2008 English Oaks, could hardly suppress his elation in the enclosure.  “It doesn’t happen does it,” he said.  “To finish first and second is an extraordinary result.

“She’s tough but I wasn’t watching her until she loomed up on the outside.  Richard put her in the race and she tanked them.”

New Approach can complete a classic double in the G1 English Derby on Saturday.  He will be represented by Champion 2YO colt Dawn Approach and last-start G2 Dante Stakes winner Libertarian.

Remarkably, Talent is the fourth consecutive member of her family to run in the English Oaks.  Her dam Prowess was a Cheshire Oaks placegetter.  Second-dam Yawl (Rainbow Quest) won the G3 Rockfel Stakes and third-dam Bireme (Grundy) won the 1980 English Oaks.

Talent won second-up at Kempton last September and returned this term to land the LR Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on May 5.

Raced by breeder James Rowsell in partnership with Mark Dixon, she was still travelling strongly at the end of 2400 metres at Epsom Downs and that bodes well for New Approach who does have stamina limitations on the dam side of his pedigree.

Only two stallions have claimed the English Oaks – Derby double in the same year since World War II – Blushing Groom and Sadler’s Wells.

New Approach will stand at Darley’s Northwood Park operation at a fee of $55,000 (inc gst) this year.