Ezeliya Leads Home Dubawi One Two In The Oaks

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Continuing a banner year for The Aga Khan, Ezeliya (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}–Eziyra {Ire}, by Teofilo {Ire}) led home a one-two for her sire in Friday's G1 Betfred Oaks and provided her owner-breeder with a first success in the Epsom Classic in the process. Booking her ticket with a win in the 10-furlong G3 Salsabil S. at Navan last month, the Dermot Weld-trained relative of the G1 Gold Cup-winning half-siblings Enzeli (Ire) (Kahyasi {Ire}) and Estimate (Ire) (Monsun {Ger}) was always travelling with menace held up by Chris Hayes.

Admirably straightforward tackling the undulations and twists and turns, the 13-2 second favourite rolled by Godolphin's Dance Sequence (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) with 1 1/2 furlongs remaining and stayed on powerfully to beat that rival by three lengths. The 50-1 shot War Chimes (Fr) (Summer Front) was 1 1/2 lengths behind in third, while the 11-8 favourite Ylang Ylang (GB) (Frankel {GB}) was sixth.

“She's a very professional, strong-travelling filly, gorgeous–she's a queen,” Hayes said after steering home his first British Classic winner. “It was copybook, it was like a bit of work, she relaxed beautifully, did everything well and made me look good.”

While The Aga Khan had won the Oaks in 1989 with Aliysa (GB) (Darshaan {GB}), that filly was later disqualified so this was a welcome breakthrough for the operation. Typically patiently-campaigned to date, Ezeliya had built on a debut fourth behind Ballydoyle's Content (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) over seven furlongs at Leopardstown last August with a defeat of the useful Wendla (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}) in a Cork maiden the following month. Her Salsabil re-entry gave her every entitlement to line up as one of the leading lights here, with Weld quietly confident beforehand.

“She's a stayer with speed–I was never worried about the distance, as she's from a great staying family of the Aga Khan's,” the trainer said after welcoming a 25th English and Irish Classic winner. “She's a beautiful filly to train. She's not a big filly, but has a lot of quality and Chris gave her a beautiful ride. That was the plan, to ride her the same as he rode her at Navan, where he dropped her out last. She loves to come from off the pace.”

“She had the race won a long way out. She was cantering and she got a lovely run down the hill,” Weld added. “It's a few years since I won the Oaks, but I haven't had many runners and generally it's been a lucky place for me–I won the Derby too with Harzand and I rode and trained an amateurs' Derby winner. Ezeliya is a very genuine, brave filly and her dam was a very good racemare I trained. She was a good group filly who went to the Breeders' Cup and Hong Kong, but this filly probably has a bit more speed and a bit more class.”

This was not a strongly-run Oaks, with a finishing percentage of 111 over the final three furlongs, so the winner is clearly a pacey individual who was able to decide the contest with splits between the three and the one of :11.59 and :11.68. Dance Sequence registered the race's fastest from three out to two out, but she ultimately paid for her :11.43 injection and tired late as her pedigree suggested she might. With the ground on the dead side and the emphasis on speed, it was no surprise to see Dubawi emerge as the dominant force.

“She settled really well going down to the start, she settled that well the other jockeys were commenting on her going down to the start,” Hayes explained. “She was the first horse loaded into the stalls and she was quiet, she jumped well, relaxed. I didn't want to light her up going up the hill and I was tracked out wider than ideal, but it was a fresh strip of ground and I was getting a lovely bit of cover from Hector [Crouch on You Got To Me].”

“She moved forward quicker than I thought she was going to, but I never had a moment's doubt,” he added. “Once she got to the furlong pole, I knew there was nothing going to come and catch her at the finish. It took me right to the end of the pull-up area to pull-up and that is probably because I was celebrating as well, but she had a good bit of petrol left.”

Weld is eyeing a possible Classic double now and also has a certain October race in mind. “We will look at the Irish Oaks or wait for an autumn campaign, which may involve the Arc,” he said. “She looks like an Irish Oaks filly, but we'll see how she is.”

Charlie Appleby said of the runner-up, “Dance Sequence has run a great race. They have gone a nice gallop and William said he had to make his move when he did, as the race was coming back to him. William felt he got there to win his race and then got outstayed. I think coming back to a mile and a quarter will be the right trip for her, but it is great to get her back on track after the Guineas. We have no immediate targets in mind, although one thing to note from today is that she has appreciated cut in the ground again. You can quite confidently say that her best performances have been with ease, so she will have an autumn campaign pencilled in.”

David Menuisier has a talented crop of 3-year-olds in his stable and following the fourth of Tamfana (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) in the 1,000 Guineas, has another classy filly to go to war with in War Chimes. “She will be better right-handed,” he said. “If we hadn't had the rain, I would have waited for the Irish Oaks so she could go that way round, but when the rain fell I just thought it would give her a chance to handle Tattenham Corner. She did kind of handle it, but she did lose a fair few lengths by not handling it as well as some of the others really. But I'm thrilled.”

“We've been placed in the Guineas, the Oaks, won the German Guineas and now we look forward to the French Oaks [with Tamfana],” he said. “I have a fantastic team of three-year-olds this year, I might have to retire at the end of the season as I don't think I'll get one like it again!”

Ryan Moore said of Ylang Ylang, “I don't think she handled the track particularly well. We were following the winner and the second and she just didn't ping into the straight in the way I would have expected her to. Maybe she had a hard race in the Guineas and maybe it's come a bit too soon. She'll be better than today. She didn't finish off today, but I struggled before that.”

Pedigree Notes

As mentioned by Weld, the dam Eziyra was third in the G1 Irish Oaks, G1 Yorkshire Oaks and G1 Hong Kong Vase as well as winning the G2 Blandford S. and four other group races including the G3 C L & M F Weld Park S. Ezeliya is her second foal, with her next being an unraced 2-year-old colt by Siyouni (Fr). A half-sister to three other black-type performers including the dam of the G2 Al Rashidiya runner-up Erzindjan (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), she is a granddaughter of the top producer and huge stamina influence Ebaziya (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}).

Ebaziya's best performers were the aforementioned marathon stars Enzeli and Estimate and also the G1 Irish Oaks and G1 Prix Royal-Oak heroine Ebadiyla (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), who was third in the G1 Coronation Cup here, as well as the G1 Moyglare Stud S. heroine Edabiya (Ire) (Rainbow Quest). Another notable in the family is the G2 Prix de Royallieu winner Ebiyza (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), whose daughters Ebaiyra (Distorted Humor) and Edisa (Kitten's Joy) also made waves with the former capturing the G2 Prix Corrida and G2 Prix de Pomone and the latter finishing runner-up in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational, G2 Prix de Malleret and G2 Prix du Conseil de Paris.

 

Friday, Epsom, Britain
BETFRED OAKS-G1, £550,000, Epsom, 5-31, 3yo, f, 12f 6yT, 2:42.06, g/s.
1–EZELIYA (FR), 128, f, 3, by Dubawi (Ire)
1st Dam: Eziyra (Ire) (MGSW & G1SP-Ire, G1SP-Eng & HK, $754,699), by Teofilo (Ire)
2nd Dam: Eytarna (Ire), by Dubai Destination
3rd Dam: Ebaziya (Ire), by Darshaan (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-H H The Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan's Studs SC (FR); T-Dermot Weld; J-Chris Hayes. £311,905. Lifetime Record: GSW-Ire, 4-3-0-0, $448,843. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Dance Sequence (GB), 128, f, 3, Dubawi (Ire)–Tearless (GB), by Street Cry (Ire). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O/B-Godolphin (GB); T-Charlie Appleby. £118,250.
3–War Chimes (Fr), 128, f, 3, Summer Front–Chipolata (Fr), by Muhtathir (GB). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. (€62,000 Ylg '22 ARQDOY). O-Tars Farm Equestrian Stud; B-Hubert Honore, Nicolas Clement & Christophe Clement Racing (FR); T-David Menuisier. £59,180.
Margins: 3, 1HF, 3 3/4. Odds: 6.50, 7.00, 50.00.
Also Ran: You Got To Me (GB), Caught U Looking (Ire), Ylang Ylang (GB), Forest Fairy (Ire), Making Dreams (Ire), Rubies Are Red (Ire), Secret Satire (GB), Treasure (GB), Seaward (Ire).

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