Ezeliya ends Dermot Weld’s 43-year wait for a second Epsom Oaks triumph after an emphatic performance

  • Ezeliya produced an impressive display to be crowned winner at Epsom Oaks 
  • She had three lengths to spare over Dance Sequence before crossing the line 
  • It was trainer Dermot Weld’s, 75, victory first in the classic since 1981 

There was an irony to it all. While Princess Zahra Aga Khan found her plane grounded in France, her father’s fabulous filly Ezeliya took flight in Epsom to make history.

A table was waiting for Princess Zahra in the Royal Box, where King Charles and Queen Camilla were present for the Betfred Oaks. It is rare for the family’s green-and-red silks, synonymous with Derby winners Shergar, Shahrastani, Sinndar and Harzand, to be seen on British racecourses these days but this was a special occasion.

Due to technical issues, however, she was unable to travel and what a shame that was because she missed a quite spectacular performance from the Dermot Weld-trained Ezeliya in the middle-distance Classic for fillies.

Ezeliya, who went off 13-2, had three lengths to spare over second-placed Dance Sequence but the proximity flattered the runner-up. As soon as jockey Chris Hayes crossed the line, punching the air, ante-post odds for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe began to arrive and none of it felt premature.

Weld is one of the finest target trainers in the business. He is 75 but his sense of what assignment is right for his horses is still as sharp as ever and this was the 25th Classic he has landed in Britain and Ireland but his first Epsom Oaks since 1981.

Ezeliya produced an impressive display to be crowned winner at Epsom Oaks on Friday

It was trainer Dermot Weld's (right), 75, victory first in the classic since 1981

It was trainer Dermot Weld’s (right), 75, victory first in the classic since 1981

‘Chris gave her a beautiful ride,’ Weld said. ‘That was the plan, to drop her out last. She loves to come from off the pace and she had the race won a long way out. She got a lovely run down the hill. Chris got her balanced and into a rhythm before he let her go.’

Hayes added: ‘It’s unbelievable to be getting to ride for these connections, and the faith they put in me, not only here but every day — it feels like I am finally getting on proper horses, and I hope I am able to do them justice.’

War Chimes, at 50-1, finished third for trainer David Menuisier, while 11-8 favourite Ylang Ylang never got competitive and finished sixth for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

Still, it was not a bad day for the pair as Luxembourg was given a quite brilliant ride from Moore to win the Coronation Cup.

‘It’s a massive advantage to have him,’ said O’Brien. ‘We’ll train Luxembourg for the King George.’

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