Fallon Cannot Believe Alexandrova’s Oaks Performance
Aidan O’Brien saddled his third winner of the Vodafone Oaks when Alexandrova
proved six lengths superior to her rivals and the Ballydoyle handler admitted
that he had been hopeful going into today’s race.
“We weren’t that disappointed or worried when she finished second
in the Musidora at York first time out,” said O’Brien. “She
nearly got knocked down after 50 yards and was then labouring a bit. Kieren
was very happy with her after that race and said she’d improve a ton.
“She went to York as a trial, that was the main purpose, to get her
ready for today. Kieren was very confident about today after that.
“Any filly that wins the Oaks is very special and we’ll have to
sit down and talk but I’d imagine we’d go for something like the
Irish Oaks. But she has a lot of speed as well and doesn’t have to run
over a mile and a half.”
Kieren Fallon, winning his fourth Vodafone Oaks,
had predicted that he would be back in the winner’s enclosure after his
victory in the first.
He said: “I couldn’t believe her performance. They didn’t
go very quick and when that happens they can quicken from the front and leave
“She got there earlier than I wanted but I could not help it. She took
me there and galloped all the way to the line. She gave me a really, really
“I said after York that Aidan’s usually go forward and this filly
has. But I did not think she would improve that much.
“She did not travel for me at York after she got that bad bump. She
went down to the start sweetly today and made it easy for me in the race. Super.”
4.05pm VODAFONE OAKS (Group 1)
£441,400 guaranteed (Class 1), Group One, Epsom Downs, 1m 4f 10 yds.
Weights: 9st. Entries closed March 1, 2006 (84 entries), forfeit stage May
19, 2006 (26 remain - four officially withdrawn subsequently), £20,000
supplementary entry stage May 27, 2006 (four added), five-day confirmation
stage noon, May 27, 2006 (16 go forward), final declaration stage 10am May
31, 2006, Confirmed 16 pay £1200 Penalty value 1st: £250,626.92;
2nd: £94,989.28; 3rd: £47,538.78; 4th: £23,703.18; 5th: £11,873.66;
1 ALEXANDROVA (IRE)
(Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick
Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Kieren Fallon (5) 9/4f
2 RISING CROSS
(Heading For The Rocks Partnership) John Best 3-9-00 George
Baker (3) 33/1
3 SHORT SKIRT
(John Greetham) Sir Michael Stoute 3-9-00 Michael Kinane (10)
(Michael Sly,Dr Tom Davies & Pam Sly) Pam Sly 3-9-00 Micky Fenton
(The Hornets) Rae Guest 3-9-00 Alan Munro (6)
6 TIME ON
(Robert Barnett) John Dunlop 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori (9)
7 KASSIOPEIA (IRE)
(Jackie & George Smith) Mick Channon 3-9-00 Tony Culhane
(William Harrison-Allan) Mick Channon 3-9-00 Ted Durcan (11)
9 PROWESS (IRE)
(Mark Dixon) Barry Hills 3-9-00 Michael Hills (2)
10 RIYALMA (IRE)
(H H Aga Khan) Sir Michael Stoute 3-9-00 Christophe Soumillon
Non-runner: 2 Galatee (vet’s certificate)
Distances: 6, 1 1/4, 1/2, 2, 1 1/4, nk, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 5
Time: 2m 37.71s
Breeder: Quay Bloodstock
Breeding: b f Sadler’s Wells (USA) - Shouk
Tote: Win; £3.30 Places; £1.40; £6.70; £1.90 Exacta; £112.80
MAGNIER WELCOMES ANOTHER WELLS WINNER
John Magnier was a winner on more fronts than one as Alexandrova romped to
victory in today’s Vodafone Oaks.
Magnier is head of Coolmore Stud, which has bases around the world, including
at its headquarters in Ireland, home to its most famous stallion, the 14-time
champion Sadler’s Wells. It was no coincidence that Sadler’s Wells
sired Alexandrova, since many of Magnier’s best winners have been produced
by his star stallion.
Alexandrova carried the colours of Magnier’s wife Sue, plus Derrick
Smith and Michael Tabor. Magnier said: “We go round looking at horses
and this filly came from a very good farm near us in Cashel. She’s by
Sadler’s Wells out of a mare by Shirley Heights and Adrian Nicoll bought
her for us at the Newmarket Sales for 420,000gns - that’s a very good
“They [trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Kieren Fallon] said all
the way through last year that she could be an Oaks winner and Aidan raced
her sparingly. We could all see how good she was when she ran at Newmarket
last year [beaten a head by Nannina in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile].
That’s when it became clear.”
Sadler’s Wbells lost his sires’ title to the late Danehill (also
owned by Magnier) last year, and Magnier was asked how important it would be
if the old champion regained his title. Magnier said: “I don’t
think that really matters in his case, because everyone knows he’s the
best there’s ever been and we’re not going to see his like again.
“At this stage of his career the mares he’s covering are not so
good and his fertility is dropping etc so he doesn’t have the same chances
as some of the younger horses. But he’s still the best for me. He just
finds it harder to get up in the morning.”
BRED TO WIN THE VODAFONE OAKS
John Magnier, husband of one of the co-owners of Alexandrova, said:” Kieren
said he tried to hold up her up but just had to let her go. She was good
today I have to say.
“Today was Alexandrova’s day. Pam Sly had her day in Newmarket
- that’s racing.”
Speaking from the winner’s enclosure, he added: “This is the
bit of ground where we all want to be. There is a fantastic buzz about Epsom
- when we drive up at the top of the hill - that’s it.
“Alexandrova has done what she was bred to do. She was bred to win
the Oaks and she has won it so we will be careful with her.
“The five of them (in tomorrow’s Vodafone Derby) have qualified
to be there - they might as well take their chance because anything can happen.
It is only fair on the breeders, the mothers and the stallions to run them.
“We would be biased because of the last crop of Danehill but we would
be happy with anything. Horatio Nelson had an interrupted preparation between
the Guineas and here.
“Kieren wasn’t going to ride him (in the Vodafone Derby) and
then he rode the colt in a piece of work the other morning and is now coming.
“Whether it will be this run tomorrow or the next run that is the
Kieren Fallon hopes to make it a Classic double at Epsom tomorrow when he
partners Horatio Nelson in the Vodafone Derby.
He said: "When you win the Vodafone Oaks your confidence is flowing
and hopefully it can flow through to Horatio Nelson tomorrow. It's all about
confidence from a rider's point of view. Anything can happen and if it doesn't
you make it happen."
George Baker, who rode the second Rising Cross, commented: “She did
well to hang on for second. I thought for a split second that it could be
a dream come true.
“She stumbled quite badly and lost her footing for a stride or two
- it did not feel great as she definitely lost quite a bit of momentum but
she is tough little thing and stayed on again.
“Early on I got shuffled back a bit further than I wanted to but,
rather than panic, I kept her nice and balanced and took my time.”
CROSS AND SPECIOSA PLEASE CONNECTIONS
Trainer John Best and part-owner Dave Nevison were understandably over the
moon with the effort of 33/1 shot Rising Cross, the six-length runner-up
to Alexandrova in the Vodafone Oaks. The Cape Cross filly was a supplementary
entry, having been added to the field at a cost of £20,000 last Saturday.
Best said: “That was simply a great run from her, she stumbled approaching
the final furlong but has still run on well - she’s just so tough.
“I don’t know where she will run now - the next place for her
is likely to be the sales ring!
“Seriously, she has always been for sale from day one - it’s
just that her price just keeps going up every time she runs a good race.
“She will certainly make some broodmare now.”
Part owner Dave Nevison, the professional gambler and journalist, added: “I
thought she was going to lose several positions when she stumbled.
“Every single time she’s run, she’s run better - she’s
“I had a little bit each-way on her and also did some speculating
on finishing positions on the spreads.”
Another pleased trainer was Pam Sly, who saddled Stan James 1000 Guineas
winner Speciosa, another supplementary entry, to finish fourth.
The Fenland handler said: “That was fabulous and I’m thrilled.
“I thought she would be in the first four. She stayed a mile and a
quarter OK, and it is the last two furlongs that have caught her out.
“I’m glad we came here rather than going for the Irish 1000
Guineas - the ground was bottomless there and wouldn’t have suited
her. We have certainly justified the decision to supplement her.
“I don’t know where we will go with now. She is still in the
Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and I will also consider the Falmouth Stakes
at Newmarket for her - we will just take her home and she how she is.”
“I’m not disappointed with her at all today - we’ve lost
nothing in coming here.
“She will be back.”
2006 VODAFONE OAKS WINNER- ALEXANDROVA (IRE) FACTFILE
3 b f Sadler’s Wells (USA) - Shouk (Shirley Height)
Owner: Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Breeder: Quay Bloodstock
Form: 6312-21 Trainer: Aidan O’Brien IRE Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Alexandrova cost connections 420,00 guineas as yearling at Tattersalls in
October, 2004, her price reflecting the fact she is a half-sister to the
2004 Group One Cheveley Park Stakes Magical Romance. She was pitched in
at the deep end when making her racecourse debut in the Listed Balanchine
Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh in June, when she finished a
staying -on sixth.. Next time she headed to Glorious Goodwood in July and
was slightly disappointing when third in a seven-furlong maiden. She soon
made amends however, when scoring by a facile 10 lengths in a mile maiden
at Tralee in August. The 2005 campaign ended with a fine second in Group
One company, when Alexandrova was the short-head runner-up to Nannina in
the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in September. Prominent in the ante-post
lists over the winter for the Vodafone Oaks, she made her seasonal reappearance
in the Group Three Musidora Stakes at York last month, when she was second,
beaten a length and a quarter by Short Skirt. Today she won the Vodafone
Oaks easily. Race Record: Starts: 6 1st: 2; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 1 Win & Place
Prize Money: £310,550