Taps stuns punters at ladies day
A Ladies Day crowd on the Knavesmire was left as surprised as connections of Taghrooda as the unbeaten record of a filly that had looked little short of exceptional was ended by Tapestry in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
After her heroics in the Investec Oaks and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, this latest Group One was expected to be little more than a warm-up for a probable challenge for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Halfway down the long home straight, everything appeared in hand with Paul Hanagan still to play his cards, but Taghrooda then found herself matched up against racing's most irresistible combination of Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien, with Tapestry (8-1) wearing down the 1-5 favourite and winning by half a length.
Overnight rain in the city had eased the conditions slightly to good from Wednesday's good to firm, but Taghrooda's first defeat in five starts had been handed out by a rival who is said by her trainer to demand quick conditions.
Tapestry had her own back story and, while her second-place to stablemate Bracelet in the Irish Oaks made good reading purely on paper, O'Brien knew it should really have been another first.
He said: "It didn't go right in the 1000 Guineas but there was a glimmer in the Coronation Stakes (sixth).
"She's come forward with every run and the last day in the (Irish) Oaks she stumbled coming out of the stalls and the saddle went out on her rump.
"It was hard to believe she went the whole race with the saddle where it was and still just got beaten."
O'Brien, fresh from Australia's Juddmonte International triumph, now has another star performer to pitch into the autumn championship races.
"It wouldn't matter where it was, colts or fillies, but ground would be vital," he said.
"If all fails you'd imagine you'd get fast ground at Santa Anita (Breeders' Cup) at the end of the year."
Asked if Tapestry could stay in training at four, he said: "The lads (Coolmore owners) will decide. It would be great but she's a Galileo and they are so valuable. There's always a risk you'll lose them."
Taghrooda can still head for Longchamp in October, and trainer John Gosden said: "No excuses, she's just been outstayed on the Knavesmire, which has happened to horses before.
"She was nice and relaxed through the race, he (Hanagan) gave her a lovely ride and it was a great race.
"The winner is just one of those fillies that has come to herself at this time of year.
"They've beaten the rest an awful long way, and she has just been outstayed.
"She's been in great form at home and barely had a race in the King George so there'll be no change to the plan, it will still be the Arc."