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Vodafone Epsom Oaks Result - 1st June 2007

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Light Shift Wins Henry's Eighth Vodafone Oaks
01/06/07

1st (8) Light Shift 13-2
2nd (12) Peeping Fawn 20-1
3rd (1) All My Loving 5-1
14 ran
Also: 9-4 Fav Passage of Time, 5-1 Four Sins 4th

Light Shift returned to a heroic reception after landing the Vodafone Oaks as an appreciative crowd celebrated the return to form of trainer Henry Cecil, winning the Classic for a record-equalling eighth time.

Ted Durcan always had the Niarchos family’s filly well positioned and kicked for home two furlongs out to hold off the runner-up Peeping Fawn by half a length.

“I’m very grateful and very embarrassed, thank you all so much,” said Cecil, as he stood on the winner’s podium with son Jake. “It’s lovely to be back and a funny feeling after a few years. I really appreciate the kindness and support I’ve had from the racing public, my staff and my owners, especially Maria (Niarchos-Gouaze) and Prince Khalid Abdulla.

“It has not been an easy warm-up - last week this filly twisted an ankle and was sore for a few days.

“But I came here relaxed because I was sure my two were in the best form they’ve ever been - I was confident as long as I didn’t put the wrong saddles on the horses, which did happen to me once in my drinking days! I was relaxed but was only worried when the crowd got behind me because I didn’t want to let them down.

“I’ve really enjoyed it today and it gives me the incentive to go on. A lot of owner-breeders who had horses with me had cut down or died and I’m not very good at my PR so if it hadn’t been for one or two of my top owners, like Prince Khalid and Maria, I wouldn’t be here now.

“I’ve been struggling for a few years and it’s good to be back. We’re short on three-year-olds but we’ve got some nice two-year-olds so hopefully we can keep building up again.

“When this filly came in as a yearling, Maria said she would win the Oaks and she was right - she always seems to be, I wish I had her crystal ball.

“I think Passage Of Time didn’t stay today. She flattened two out and may not have got the trip, I certainly hope that is the reason. I never favoured her, I thought they both had a great chance and thought they would both be in the first three - you can’t going thinking you’ll have first and second in the Oaks.

“I’m lucky to have such a good jockey in Ted, who is also a good friend. Richard Hughes is retained by Prince Khalid so rides those horses but Ted rides everything else. He’s very under-rated and if I was going to have a stable jockey I’d look no further than this man and I’m not just saying that because of this win. He did everything right today, I couldn’t have ridden it better myself!

“The filly was getting a bit lazy in the end but she went on again when the other one came to her but she stays well. We’ll let Light Shift tell us where she is going to run next.”

Asked if he would fly the flag that traditionally goes up at Warren Place after a Group 1 win, Cecil added: “I’ll try with Jake when we get home to get the flag flying. All eight of my Oaks winners have been very good friends so I wouldn’t want to compare them.”

Durcan added: “She’s not over big but she’s brave. Henry had her spot on and I spoke to him on Wednesday and all he said was not to make headway up the hill.

“I got squeezed out a bit between the mile and five marker, we were all in each other’s way, she’s not over big so I didn’t want to get her pushed around. I fancied Mr Oxx’s and Henry’s other runner and I tracked Mr Oxx’s all the way to the straight when I was left in front a bit early. I know how my filly can pick up, she’s electric. She idled a bit in the straight but when the second came to her she ran on again. But everything went right for me really and she’s a bit special. I was confident I was never going to get beaten.

“It’s an honour to ride for Henry and even more so to be on the Oaks roll of honour for him.”

Maria Niarchos-Gouaze, who was presented with an oak tree as part of her prize, had always hoped Light Shift was a Classic filly. “That was the plan and it actually worked,” she said.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family, added: “It’s easy to say so afterwards but I was more than hopeful today after the way she won at Chester. I thought she had a very good chance. This has been a wonderful family for us and she’s by Kingmambo, who was a family horse as well.”

 

THE 2007 VODAFONE OAKS
Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Light Shift
H R A Cecil
T E Durcan
9st 0lbs
13 - 2
Winner
2
Peeping Fawn
A P O'Brien
Martin Dwyer
9st 0lbs
20 - 1
1/2 length
3
All My Loving
A P O'Brien
C Soumillon
9st 0lbs
5 - 1
4 lengths
4
Four Sins
John M Oxx
M J Kinane
9st 0lbs
5 - 1
5 lengths
5
Cherry Hinton
A P O'Brien
J A Heffernan
9st 0lbs
66 - 1
1 1/2 length
6
Simply Perfect
J Noseda
J Murtagh
9st 0lbs
8 - 1
8 lengths
7
Dance of Light
Sir Michael Stoute
K McEvoy
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
2 lengths
8
Passage of Time
H R A Cecil
R Hughes
9st 0lbs
9 - 4
Neck
9
Kayah
R M Beckett
S Sanders
9st 0lbs
16 - 1
1/2 length
10
Darrfonah
C E Brittain
E Ahern
9st 0lbs
66 - 1
2 lengths
11
Dalvina
E A L Dunlop
O Peslier
9st 0lbs
11 - 1
Short Head
12
Nell Gwyn
A P O'Brien
N Callan
9st 0lbs
66 - 1
1 3/4 length
13
Measured Tempo
Saeed bin Suroor
L Dettori
9st 0lbs
9 - 1
Neck
14
Sues Surprise
B W Hills
M Hills
9st 0lbs
66 - 1
distance
       

PEEPING FAWN RUNNER-UP

While a Henry Cecil-trained Vodafone Oaks winner brought back memories of the glory days at Warren Place, Aidan O’Brien still pulled off a huge training achievement by saddling Peeping Fawn and All My Loving to finish second and third.

O’Brien said: “They both ran great.”

Martin Dwyer, rider of Peeping Fawn, said: “She ran great but I just wish that I had got a clear run. It was a very rough race and I managed to get a good position behind the favourite.

“She was a good filly on the day and I am pleased for Ted [Durcan, winning rider] and Henry.”

Christophe Soumillon, rider of All My Loving, said: “She’s run a great race but she stumbled coming out of the stalls and had to come around everybody.”

Richard Henry, owner of All My Loving, added: “She ran a blinder and Christophe said that she stumbled coming out of the stalls, but she is Classic placed now.

“The Chester form has worked out brilliantly and the winner is smart - it’s great and I am delighted.

“Aidan will decide where she runs next but she’ll probably go for the Irish Oaks.”

John Oxx, trainer of Vodafone Oaks fourth Four Sins, is eyeing the Irish Oaks at the Curragh for the Aga Khan-owned filly.

The Irish handler said: "She ran very well and while the ground didn't beat her, it made it a bigger test of stamina. She just wasn't quite good enough.

"I would think that she'll go for the Irish Oaks now."

The filly, a daughter of Oxx's 2000 Vodafone Derby winner Sinndar, finished nine and a half lengths fourth to Light Shift in the mile and a half classic.

Oxx commented: "She'll improve for better ground so hopefully she'll get that in the Irish Oaks, and if she does, then she might finish a bit closer to them there."

Mick Kinane reported: "She ran alright on ground that was slower than ideal.

"She's not the biggest but she can be better on a better track."

Olivier Peslier, rider of the Ed Dunlop-trained Dalvina said of the 11th placed finisher: "She started well and travelled easily for six furlongs but then she struggled. Her legs could not work on the ground and she did not handle the track."

Richard Hughes, rider of favourite Passage Of Time who finished eighth, said: “She travelled strongly enough and I wouldn’t have swapped her for anything coming around Tattenham Corner, but she stopped quickly.”

Neil Callan, rider of Nell Gwyn, another O’Brien representative who finished 12th, said: “It rode like a rough race. She ran a bit flat and it might have come just a bit quick for her after her last race in the Guineas trial.”

 

LIGHT SHIFT (USA) - THE WINNER

b f Kingmambo (USA) - Lingerie (Shirley Heights)

Form: 231-111 Owner: Niarchos Family
Trainer: Henry Cecil Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Ltd
Jockey: Ted Durcan

Light Shift
Bred by the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Holdings, Light Shift ran with great promise to finish placed on her first two starts at Newmarket’s July Course over six and seven furlongs, before getting off the mark on her third outing over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in September, defeating Sunlight by half a length. Stepping up to 10 furlongs and taking on the colts in a conditions event at Newbury on her reappearance on April 20, Light Shift finished with a flourish down the outside to record a comfortable length and a quarter success over Kid Mambo, who runs in tomorrow’s Vodafone Derby. Another impressive triumph followed at Chester on May 9 in the Listed Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks over an extended 11 furlongs, as Light Shift came from off the pace to show a fine turn of foot and take the prize by three-quarters of a length from All My Loving. She won the Vodafone Oaks in good style.

Race Record: Runs: 6; Wins: 4; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £261,040

Niarchos Family
The famous racing colours of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, who died aged 87 on April 15, 1996, are continued by his children with daughter Maria Niarchos-Gouaze, a director of Breeders’ Cup Ltd, effectively running the racing operation. Stavros Niarchos, who was married five times, developed one of the world’s largest fleets of tankers and bulk carriers and became a famous art collector. He first became involved in racing in the 1950s but lost interest before returning with a vengeance in the 1970s, campaigning a host of top-class performers, including Nureyev, 1000 Guineas winner Miesque, Machiavellian, Hector Protector, Hernando and Kingmambo. Although he never won the Derby, Niarchos owned the 1985 runner-up Law Society. The Niarchos family, who bred the 2003 Vodafone Derby hero Kris Kin, have continued the tradition of excellence, through the likes of Breeders’ Cup winners Spinning World, Domedriver and Six Perfections, European Classic scorers Dream Well, Sulamani and Divine Proportions as well as Bago, who landed the 2004 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Alan Cooper, whose father Tom bought four Derby winners as yearlings, is the Niarchos racing manager while Tim Richardson, whose brother Chris manages Cheveley Park Stud, is in charge of their breeding operation, based at Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard in Normandy and at Oak Tree Farm in Kentucky. The Niarchos family have around 50 horses in training spread between France, Britain and America with a 60-strong broodmare band.

Vodafone Oaks Wins- 2007 LIGHT SHIFT

Henry Cecil
Born in Aberdeen on January 11, 1943, Henry Cecil has achieved just about everything he could have dreamed of in a training career spanning almost 40 years. If Classic success is a measure of achievement on the Flat, the 10-time champion trainer is second to none among current trainers having won every domestic Classic at least twice and amassed a total of 23 in all. The Lord Howard de Walden-owned Slip Anchor, partnered by Steve Cauthen, brought Cecil the first of his four Vodafone Derby triumphs in 1985 with an emphatic victory. Reference Point, also ridden by Cauthen, won the 1987 Derby holding off the challenge of Most Welcome while Commander In Chief, Cecil’s supposedly second string behind Tenby in the 1993 Vodafone Derby, and Oath in 1999 - partnered by Cecil’s then stable jockey Kieren Fallon - provided his third and fourth successes. Cecil has also landed the Vodafone Oaks seven times, the 2000 Guineas twice, the 1000 Guineas six times and the St Leger on four occasions. Having sent out 100 winners during the 1998 season, Cecil’s yearly tally dropped every year until 2006, when his 25 victories included Passage Of Times’ Group One success in the Criterium de Saint Cloud - the stable’s first Group One success since Beat Hollow in the 2000 Grand Prix de Paris. His passion for the turf was nurtured by his stepfather, Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, with whom a young Cecil served as assistant trainer between 1964 and 1968, before taking out his own licence to train in 1969. It was not long before he staked his claim among the ranks of the leading trainers with a victory by Wolver Hollow in the Eclipse Stakes of that year. On the retirement of Sir Noel Murless, father of his first wife Julie, in 1976, Cecil took over Warren Place Stables in Newmarket where he has remained. He has a string of 78 horses in training for 2007 and won the Vodafone Oaks for the eighth time. Vodafone Oaks Wins: 1985 OH SO SHARP, 1988 DIMINUENDO, 1989 SNOW BRIDE, 1996 LADY CARLA, 1997 REAMS OF VERSE, 1999 RAMRUMA, 2000 LOVE DIVINE, 2007 LIGHT SHIFT

Ted Durcan
Born in Co Mayo, Ireland, on February 25, 1973, Ted Durcan hailed from a family of lawyers and went to a boarding school in Naas before becoming apprenticed to Jim Bolger for six years, spending two years as a work rider and sharing a house with Tony McCoy and leading Irish trainer David Wachman. He served the final year of his apprenticeship in Britain with Jack Berry at Cockerham in Lancashire and he has gone on to enjoy considerable success in Dubai where he has been champion jockey six times. He rode for the first time in Dubai in the 1997-98 season, as number two rider behind Paul Eddery at Paddy Rudkin’s stable, and impressed Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who offered him a retainer for the 1999/2000 season when he became champion rider for the first time with 58 successes, with wins including the Godolphin Mile on Conflict and Dubai Duty Free on Rhythm Band. Durcan, whose wife Sue works for Godolphin, enjoyed his best season in Britain in 2006 with 71 wins. A freelance, he rides for the likes of Godolphin and Mick Channon, who provided him with his first two Royal Ascot wins in 2005 with Flashy Wings and Championship Point, as well as the Group One Prix Morny victor Silca’s Sister. This year he has ridden a significant number of horses trained by Henry Cecil, including Vodafone Oaks contender Light Shift, winner of the Cheshire Oaks. He also won the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock twice for trainer Tim Easterby - on Pipalong in 2000 and Somnus in 2003. Interviewed in The Independent recently about his two big-race mounts, Dwyer said: “Epsom is something everyone wants to be part of, and to have a pair of rides like these makes the hard work through the rest of the year seem worthwhile. There are 100 other lads that could ride them equally well and I feel very privileged.” He had his biggest win on Light Shift. Vodafone Oaks Wins- 2007 LIGHT SHIFT

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