June 2023



Owner-breeder Lady Bamford celebrated a second homebred success in the Group 1 Betfred Oaks at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Friday afternoon, as her recent Group 3 Musidora Stakes winner SOUL SISTER cruised to a cosy one-and-a-quarter length victory over her rivals.

It was fourteen years ago, in 2009, that SARISKA (GB) carried the crimson Bamford silks to victory around the idiosyncratic Epsom Downs track. Reflecting on that occasion in the parade ring ahead of the 2023 renewal of the Oaks, Lady Bamford told ITV Racing:

“It was the best day of my life. I’m wearing the Sariska hat, fourteen years on. Fingers crossed, it’s a dream to be here again.”

The dream was duly realised, as Soul Sister, a daughter of Juddmonte Farms’ linchpin sire, FRANKEL (GB), travelled powerfully into the race under legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who is enjoying a sparkling swansong season.

Having rounded Tattenham Corner on the wide outside, Soul Sister sauntered up on the outside of eventual third, CAERNARFON (GB), and on her inside, odds-on favourite and runner-up at the line, SAVETHELASTDANCE.

Soul Sister is the sixth foal out of DANSILI (GB) mare DREAM PEACE, who was Group 1 placed on multiple occasions and won the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette in 2011. She was purchased for 2.7million guineas at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2013 and has subsequently produced not only Friday’s Classic winner, but also Group 3 winner DREAMFLIGHT (GB) and Stakes-placed geldings QUESTIONAIRE (GB) and HERMAN HESSE (GB).

“To win the Oaks twice, as owner-breeder, is just unbelievable. It’s a dream,” Lady Bamford said in the winner’s enclosure.

“There was extra pressure with Frankie riding, of course there was. But what a thrill. I’ve known Frankie for a long time, he’s going to have the season of his life. He’s just the best.”

The result represented a fourth win in the race in ten years for world-class trainer John Gosden, and a first for son Thady since he joined the Clarehaven Stables licence in 2021.

The Oaks was a tale of two halves for the father-son combination, as while celebrations were in order after Soul Sister’s emphatic performance, the pair were left lamenting their other representative, RUNNING LION (GB), being withdrawn from the race after breaking from the stalls just before the off.

Earlier in the afternoon at Epsom, it was the same trainer-jockey combination that was responsible for the Group 1 Dahlbury Coronation Cup winner, EMILY UPJOHN (GB).

The Lordship Stud and Sunderland Holding Inc-bred filly, owned by Lloyd Webbers, Tactful Finance and Stuart Roden, successfully avenged her narrow defeat in the Oaks twelve months ago, when she fluffed her lines at the start and gave away a shade too much ground to the winner, TUESDAY.

Friday’s Coronation Cup represented a second top-flight success for Emily Upjohn, after she scored an impressive victory in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day last October.

The Gosdens and Dettori will return to Epsom Downs full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 Betfred Derby, in which they team up with Juddmonte Farms’ Group 3 Chester Vase winner, ARREST.

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