Racing: Dream for Balanchine: Dettori claims his first English Classic triumph as filly answers the doubts over stamina
Sunday 05 June 1994
There was little warmth for her at Epsom yesterday, where driving rain turned the going to soft. The race proved to be a slog up the straight, where Balanchine, a big, handsome daughter of Storm Bird, laid doubts about her stamina to rest in gutsy style.
Lanfranco Dettori, for whom she was a first English Classic winner, always had her handy as Fragrant Belle took the 10 runners along, and let her slip into the lead half-way down the hill. In the straight, all the fillies came over in search of better ground on the stands side, and Walter Swinburn, on Hawajiss, started the drive for home.
But Balanchine was not to be denied, and stuck with her. In the last two furlongs Hawajiss had no more to give, and the threat to Balanchine came from Wind In Her Hair, who had made steady progress on the outside.
She ran on bravely, but could never quite reach the leader, and in the last half-
furlong Balanchine stayed on, and had two-and-a-half lengths to spare at the line. Spot Prize rallied well to claim fourth place in front of the never-dangerous Bonash. The favourite Bulaxie trailed in seventh.
Balanchine was the eighth winner of the Oaks owned by the Maktoum brothers in the past 10 years. She runs for Maktoum Al Maktoum and Godolphin Racing, the Dubai arm of Sheikh Mohammed's racing operation, and was part of a pounds 2 million package bought by the Sheikh from Robert Sangster last autumn.
She gloriously justified the Sheikh's pioneering policy of wintering his best equine athletes in the sun. She is trained there, at Alquoz Stables, by Hilal Ibrahim, and since arriving in Britain four days before the 1,000 Guineas, in which she was a close second, has been under the care of Jeremy Noseda in Newmarket.
Sheikh Mohammed, closely involved in Balanchine's preparation, said that yesterday's win had given him more pleasure than any of his previous Oaks winners, adding: 'This experiment has obviously worked. We will now have to think about campaigning horses from Dubai all over the world.'
The extrovert Dettori, beaten a short-head on Balanchine in the 1,000 Guineas and the same distance on Grand Lodge in the 2,000, waved in delight as he crossed the line. He said: 'This makes up for those two races. I decided to come up the stands side because I won the previous race from there, and she kept on giving me more and more. I wondered about her staying, but her lad Ray Carter had no doubts.
'This win was for my parents, who had to endure the agony of those narrow Newmarket defeats, and the wave I gave after the winning post was for them. And wherever they decide to run Balanchine next - perhaps in the Irish Derby against the colts - I'll be there. She's a smasher,' Dettori added.
The time of the race, two minutes 40.37 seconds, was some six seconds slower than Wednesday's fast-ground Derby. The result, with the winner at 6-1 and the two best-backed fillies, Bulaxie and Bonash, out of the frame, was a good one for the bookmakers after the favoured Erhaab's Derby victory.
Willie Carson, who had ridden Erhaab, had no excuses for Bulaxie. He said: 'She pulled hard, as she always does. She just refused to settle, and the writing was on the wall a long way from home.'
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...