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Heavens open for Camelot

WHEN John Gosden said after yesterday's Darley Irish Oaks that "someone has to take on Camelot," he said so with a reference to the English St Leger, and although it was probably tongue-in-cheek, Gosden isn't afraid of tackling big obstacles.

Indeed, Gosden's filly Great Heavens had obstacles of her own yesterday, as she had to overcome some congestion to justify favouritism and provide her trainer with his third Irish Classic winner.

It looked as if Johnny Murtagh had snatched the race aboard Epsom Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star, but after getting out from behind a wall of horses, William Buick switched the eventual winner wide to go on and record a three-length win.

Gosden explained: "She got boxed in. Our draw was on the inside but it was never our intention to stay there as Aidan had a pacemaker and we thought we would get around that and go when we wanted to.

"I had nearly given up two furlongs down and I was heading for the unsaddling enclosures on the other end of the racecourse -- I didn't think she'd get out -- but it makes up for yesterday (Nathaniel's defeat) and the photo finish."

The trainer admitted that the filly has options like the Yorkshire Oaks, but the St Leger will certainly be given plenty of thought, a race for which she has been cut from 8/1 into 6/1 with Ladbrokes and Boylesports.

"There is no reason why a filly of her class couldn't do something like that (St Leger). Someone has to take on (Aidan O'Brien-trained) Camelot!"


William Buick celebrated his 24th birthday with his biggest success on Irish soil and a second Group One over here to follow on from the Pretty Polly Stakes he won on Izzi Top earlier this season.

The rider said afterwards: "I wanted to make use of her, but early on I was behind a Coolmore horse and on the inside of a Coolmore horse and I knew what was going to happen. But, luckily enough, they started racing early enough for me to be able to get out and get time to run at them."

Buick added: "It didn't go my way, but in hindsight it did go my way as they started racing so early.

"She is a very good filly and once I got out I always felt I would get there."

Aidan O'Brien's Was couldn't repeat her Epsom triumph and had to settle for fourth.

Meanwhile, John Gosden reported Nathaniel to be in good form after his near miss in the King George at Ascot on Saturday.

Gosden joked; "The good thing is he doesn't think he was beat, Nathaniel thinks it was a deadheat."

Of future plans he said: "The Champion Stakes at Leopardstown is certainly an option for him."