Having won each of the previous nine editions between them, Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden resumed their annual rivalry in the 2023 edition of the race. Going for team Ballydoyle was the Galileo filly Savethelastdance, who had surged to the head of the market for this with a hugely impressive 22-length rout of the opposition in the Cheshire Oaks. John Gosden – now in partnership with son Thady – fielded the main threat to the favourite in Soul Sister, who had displayed a hitherto unseen devastating turn of foot to land the Musidora Stakes at York in her previous outing.
Next in line came the second Gosden filly in the race, Running Lion, who had done little wrong in winning each of her four previous outings but had been passed over in favour of Soul Sister by Frankie Dettori. Eternal Hope carried the hopes of Godolphin, having posted a solid prep of her own to claim the Lingfield Oaks Trial. Many of the others in the field looked to have plenty to find on the formbook, but Jack Channon’s Caernarfon had hinted that this test may suit, when running on late to finish fourth in the 1000 Guineas.
- 1st – Soul Sister 11/4, Jockey: Frankie Dettori, Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
- 2nd – Savethelastdance 5/6F, Jockey: Ryan Moore, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
- 3rd – Caernarfon 40/1, Jockey: Connor Beasley, Trainer: Jack Channon
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £311,025.99
- 2nd – £117,916.74
- 3rd – £59,013.22
- 4th – £29,396.92
- 5th – £14,753.31
- 6th – £7,404.08
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £3.34
- Tote Places – 1st – £1.10, 2nd – £1.10, 3rd – £5.70
- Exacta – £4
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £4
- Trifecta – £58.80
- Tricast – £31.72
How much consideration Frankie Dettori gave to riding Running Lion is unknown but he would immediately have been pleased he wasn’t aboard the daughter of Roaring Lion, who became upset in the stalls and was withdrawn just before the off.
Once underway, it was one of the rank outsiders, Sea Of Roses, who burst to the front, swiftly pursued by Aidan O’Brien’s second string, Red Riding Hood, who had taken up the running by the time they reached the first bend – likely with the intention of making this a stern test to the benefit of Savethelastdance, who sat just off the pace. Frankie Dettori, meanwhile, appeared to be in no hurry, settling Soul Sister in mid-division.
Moving into the back straight, Heartache Tonight had joined the leaders. No move yet from Savethelastdance, whilst Soul Sister had dropped to last under the ever-patient Dettori.
Moving into the straight, Caenfaron and Savethelastdance kicked past the leaders, but both were already under a stern drive. That was a stark contrast to Soul Sister, who loomed up ominously on the outside, seemingly waiting for Dettori to push the button. Asked to quicken at the 1/2f pole, the response wasn’t spectacular but still more than good enough to account for Savethelastdance, who won a head-bobbing battle for second with Caernfaron.
A fourth win in the race for John Gosden, and first under the joint licence with Thady. A fairytale Oaks ending for Dettori, who was winning the race for a seventh time.
- 1. Be Happy – Non-runner
- 2. Bright Diamond – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Karl Burke, Jockey: Clifford Lee
- 3. Caernarfon – SP: 40/1, Trainer: Jack Channon, Jockey: Connor Beasley
- 4. Eternal Hope – SP: 12/1, Trainer: Charlie Appleby, Jockey: William Buick
- 5. Heartache Tonight – SP: 28/1, Trainer: David Menusier, Jockey: Cristian Demuro
- 6. Maman Joan – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Richard Hannon, Jockey: Kevin Stott
- 7. Red Riding Hood – SP: 40/1, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Wayne Lordan
- 8. Running Lion – Non-runner
- 9. Savethelastdance – SP: 5/6F, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Ryan Moore
- 10. Sea Of Roses – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Andrew Balding, Jockey: Rob Hornby
- 11. Soul Sister – SP: 11/4, Trainer: John & Thady Gosden, Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Be Happy (vet’s certificate), Running Lion (withdrawn, upset in stalls)