Tapestry proves too good for in-form Taghrooda at York

Taghrooda’s unbeaten record was ripped to shreds on the Knavesmire as Aidan O’Brien’s Tapestry got the better of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s filly in a thrilling set-to on Thursday.

Ryan Moore riding Tapestry, left, win The Darley Yorkshire Oaks to end Taghrooda's unbeaten streak. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
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York, England // Taghrooda's unbeaten record was ripped to shreds on the Knavesmire as Aidan O'Brien's Tapestry got the better of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's filly in a thrilling set-to on Thursday.

Ryan Moore and Paul Hanagan were riding for all they were worth in the final 200 metres of York racecourse’s long straight and it was Moore and Tapestry who were half a length clear of Hanagan and Taghrooda at the line.

It was the second day in succession that O’Brien’s Ballydoyle operation had orchestrated the downfall of one of Sheikh Hamdan’s pride and joys, and trainer John Gosden was phlegmatic and generous in the face of defeat.

“Tapestry outstayed her and you could see at the furlong pole that it was going to happen,” Gosden said. “Taghrooda was nice and relaxed afterwards and she blew normally. I have absolutely no excuses at all.”

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan, was another who felt Taghrooda was beaten fair and square.

“She looked like she was coming to win her race and we got beaten on the day. I don’t think there are any excuses. You can’t blame the ground, or the pace of the race. It happens and that’s horse racing,” Hills said.

Taghrooda is not the first to suffer defeat in the north of England after winning the English Oaks. Having become the first filly to win the King George the VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot for 38 years in the intervening period, some may suspect a tough campaign is catching up with her.

Alexandrova in 2006 and Ramruma in 1999 are the only two English Oaks winners to back up successfully at York of the past 11 to have attempted it, but Gosden did not take the easy option.

“She did not have a hard race in the King George and came to those older colts there with a hand ride,” the Newmarket trainer said.

“There is no change of plans and there was a long way back to Tasaday in third. I have no reason at all to think the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is not on the agenda.”

Taghrooda is unlikely to have to face Tapestry again as the daughter of dual Derby winner Galileo prefers fast ground and Longchamp in the autumn is unlikely to suit.

O’Brien mentioned that the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita might be an option, although Moore might have a difficult choice to make if Dank, who he also has a close association with, is dispatched to defend her crown for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

The Yorkshire Oaks carries win-and-you-are-in status for America’s self-styled world championships in November and the O’Brien team will receive $40,000 in fees should they elect to travel in a bid to win the 2,400-metre event for the first time.

Tapestry would certainly have the blend of speed and stamina required and it was there for all to see yesterday as Moore anchored his mount at the back of the seven-runner field alongside Godolphin’s Tasaday.

Richard Hughes led aboard Luca Cumani’s Volume and Venus De Milo was tucked in just behind, beside Talent, last year’s English Oaks ­winner.

Taghrooda was placed in midfield by Hanagan on the outside of Lustrous but as Volume led into the straight Moore latched onto the rear of Taghrooda to keep the overwhelming favourite in his sights.

Approaching the final 400 metres Hanagan galvanised Taghrooda and she ate up ground to sail past last year’s runner-up Venus De Milo. At the same time Tasaday also swept to the front on the other side under Silvestre De Sousa.

Tasaday kept on at Taghrooda and when she began to falter under pressure it was the signal for Moore to go for the jugular.

Meydan favourites Sole Power and Shea Shea top the billing tonight as the two renew their long-standing rivalry in the Nunthorpe Stakes, the five-furlong feature.

Neither horse has seen racecourse action since Sole Power defended his title in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Shea Shea, now seven, ran a disappointing 11th that day after which Mike de Kock was at a loss to explain the run. Assistant trainer ­Steve Jell has since revealed that Shea Shea bled that day.

“He has done it before but never to that extent. He is in good form and is still hitting his times at home, but something like that can affect them psychologically,” Jell said. “We’ll see how he runs and if he is fighting at the finish we will make a plan, but if he doesn’t we may think about retirement.”





Jamie Spencer said he will retire from riding at the end of the season to take up a new role with Qatar Racing Ltd.

The 34-year-old jockey, who struck with Toast Of New York and Certerach on Dubai World Cup night, was appointed as the retained rider for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani last year. He will work closely with the Qatari Sheikh as the operation goes through a restructure.


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