O'Brien proud of Pink Dogwood in defeat

‘She ran a great race’, says Ballydoyle trainer

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Aidan O’Brien made no excuses for Pink Dogwood following her narrow defeat in the Investec Oaks at Epsom.

Having made a successful start to her campaign in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan in late April, the daughter of Camelot was strongly fancied to provide her trainer with an eighth victory in the fillies’ Classic.

Supporters of the Ballydoyle first string must have been smiling after Pink Dogwood sprinted from the rear to grab the lead racing inside the final two furlongs under Ryan Moore.

However, she was ultimately unable to resist the persistent challenge of the John Gosden-trained Anapurna and it was Frankie Dettori’s mount who won the day by a neck.

O’Brien, who was also responsible for third-placed Fleeting, said: “I was delighted everything went well and both fillies settled lovely.

“She (Pink Dogwood) ran a great race. It was her first run over a mile and a half, but she ran a lovely race.

“I don’t know if she was outstayed. She just got collared late and when they do you can always say things like that, but you are never sure.

“We will see how she is and will decide what to do next time.”

Fleeting was ridden by Wayne Lordan, who said: “It was grand. I gave her a chance and she came home well. I am very happy.”

Ralph Beckett, trainer of fourth home Manuela De Vega, said: “She’s run a great race – on a different day, we’d take them all on again. We’ll think about going on to the Curragh.”

Her rider Harry Bentley said: “Manuela De Vega ran a great race. I was bit concerned from stall one, but we got a nice position, travelled well and did nothing wrong at all.”

James Doyle was sixth on the William Haggas-trained Frankellina. He said: “She ran good, I am really pleased with her.

“We decided to go to the back with her lack of experience, and she just pulled a bit too hard all the way. She will definitely have learnt plenty there.”

Robert Havlin was seventh on 11-4 favourite Mehdaayih, who got little luck in running.

Havlin said: “It was a bit of a rough race for me. At one and a half furlongs to go she got skittled around and I couldn’t do anything afterwards.”

Jim Crowley, partner of eighth-placed Maqsad, said: “I had a good trip round. I was cantering at the two pole, but she didn’t quite get home.”

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