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2019 Epsom Derby Festival recap - Five beaten horses to follow through the season

Jonathan Vine 4 Jun 2019
Japan (left, purple) finishes like a train behind Anthony Van Dyck (right) in the Derby.

We take a look back at all the 2019 Epsom Derby Festival and highlight five beaten horses to follow throughout the summer.

The weather gods smiled brightly on Epsom last weekend, as attendees were treated to thrilling renewals of both the Oaks and the Derby. First, it was Frankie Dettori who made the headlines, pushing the tenacious Anapurna to a superb victory over Pink Dogwood in the Oaks. Not one to be upstaged, Aidan O’Brien bounced back to the fore in the Derby, as Anthony Van Dyck clinched a sixth Derby triumph for O’Brien, ten years to the day after his legendary father, Vincent passed away.

Defoe caused an upset when winning the Coronation Cup for Roger Varian on Friday afternoon. There were also high-profile victories for Anna Nerium and Zaaki in Saturday’s Group Three contests, before Ornate sprung a surprise and won the Dash carrying odds of 33/1.

While it’s easy to focus on the winners after a major meeting, it often pays to look further back through the field to find horses who could take a big step forwards following their runs. Here are five beaten horses you should keep a close eye on next time out.

Oh Purple Reign

Pinatubo landed the spoils in the opening race of the meeting, taking advantage of the tiring Misty Grey to claim an expected victory in the Woodcote Stakes. 

That race fell apart a bit, as the leader crumbled after setting a blistering pace through the first four furlongs. Pinatubo has to be commended for sticking to his guns and getting the job done, but I was very impressed with the way OH PURPLE REIGN finished his race and Andrew Balding’s colt is certainly worthy of a spot in your tracker.

Sean Levey was the first to try and track down Misty Grey, but his young colt got a little lost at the top of Tattenham Corner and looked beaten entering the home straight. Once Oh Purple Reign regathered his stride, however, Balding’s youngster found his second wind and was doing his best work as he crossed the line a-length-and-a-half behind Pinatubo.

It's clear there are plenty more wins on the horizon for this son of Sir Prancealot. Seven furlongs could be within his reach in time, but Oh Purple Reign will still be very dangerous over six, especially on a less challenging track.


I was expecting Pink Dogwood to assert her class over her British rivals in the Oaks, but Anapurna proved to be a more-than-worthy adversary. Behind the leaders, Fleeting must be applauded for her flying finish to claim third and I thought Frankellina ran well on just her third start on the track. The one I really want to take from the Oaks though is MAQSAD, who simply failed to get home and will be extremely dangerous when dropped back to ten furlongs.

Despite looking like she didn’t enjoy the undulations of the Downs, Jim Crowley was still sitting pretty on the bridle as plenty of his rivals began to get to work. Three furlongs from home, Maqsad was asked to win the Oaks, but William Haggas’ filly began to tred water as the stayers came to the fore and Crowley began to ease his beaten mount down well before the line.

Those who doubted the stamina in Maqsad’s pedigree were proven right, in the end, but for the majority of the Oaks, Haggas’ filly ran extremely well. Dropping back to a mile-and-a-quarter will surely be the way to go, making the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood an obvious objective.

Maqsad (third left, blue and white hat) backpedals as Anapurna and Pink Dogwood (right) fight out the finish in the Oaks. 

Bella Regazza

Anna Nerium made up for last year’s near miss by scoring a narrow victory over Awesometank and Veracious in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. BELLA REGAZZA was seemingly well-beaten back in fourth, but Hughie Morrison won’t be too discouraged by her performance and she could still earn black type before the year is out.

Making just her second start in Grouped company, Bella Regazza was hampered when trying to make an impression from the rear. Oisin Murphy didn’t push too hard to try and make up the lost ground in the final furlong, settling for a decent finish back in fourth. Despite the result, there were still plenty of positives to take from that display and this dazzling grey has what it takes to succeed at this sort of level.


There are usually plenty of hard-luck stories come the end of the frenetic Epsom Dash and HAROME was certainly one of the unlucky losers. Nicola Currie’s mount was badly hampered upon leaving the stalls and had plenty of ground to make up on the leaders entering the final couple of furlongs. Try as he might, Harome attempted to bridge the gap, climbing up into sixth as the leaders crossed the line.

Following a four-length triumph at York last season, Roger Fell’s sprinter was bumped up to a career-high mark of 93. The handicapper has taken another, fairly harsh, swipe at Harome after that defeat in the Dash, meaning Fell’s five-year-old has now dropped ten pounds down the ratings. Royal Ascot may be a little too ambitious, but there’s no doubting a return to winning ways could be just around the corner for Harome, now running off 83.


The time on the clock and the fact that all the quality horses came to the fore will tell you that this year’s renewal of the Derby was very high in quality. Seamie Heffernan gave Anthony Van Dyck a peach of a ride, switching to the rail at the perfect moment before staying on powerfully to claim Classic glory.

My selection, Madhmoon gave an excellent account of himself, especially when you re-watch the race and see Chris Hayes was almost tossed to the ground as his mount stumbled at the top of the hill. Sir Dragonet and Broome also ran extremely well, but with a sweeping run reminiscent of Wings Of Eagles two years previous, JAPAN almost came from the clouds to snatch Derby glory and O’Brien’s colt could be the one to side with looking ahead to the St Leger.

Wayne Lordan tracked Broome’s move around the outside of the pack entering the home straight. The further Japan went, the better he got and if the finishing line was half-a-furlong furlong down the Epsom Downs, Japan would have crossed the line first. 

O’Brien’s colt took such a big step forward from that underwhelming showing in the Dante and stepping up an extra couple of furlongs could bring about even more improvement. I would be amazed if he wasn’t Ballydoyle’s number one contender in the final Classic of the campaign.

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2019 Epsom Derby Festival recap - Five beaten horses to follow through the season

We take a look back at all the 2019 Epsom Derby Festival on Saturday 1st June and highlight five beaten horses to follow throughout the summer.

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