Cazoo Oaks press conference quotes and going update at the end of Ladies Day

June 3, 2022

Tuesday was the winner of the 2022 Group One Cazoo Oaks at Epsom Downs, handing trainer Aidan O’Brien a record 41st Classic victory.

Quotes from the subsequent press conference can be found below.

Aidan O’Brien (winning trainer)

“As we watched the race we knew Ryan was a good way back and we thought the pace was nice but wasn’t too fast so we just felt watching the race that it was going to be hard coming from the back, but next thing we looked again and Ryan was there challenging. He timed it to perfection on her, which is a hard thing to do as she’s never run further than a mile. It’s a hard thing to be able to judge what she’s going to be able to do and when her capacity is going to run out so she’s obviously a very special filly. She’s run in two Classics already and she’s only three today so we were trying to keep her at a mile as we knew she was too young and we just tried to give her as easy a time as we could really.

“Frankie rode her at Newmarket and he was delighted that day and said she was made for the Curragh and then she obviously went there and ran another great race. We always thought that a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half was her trip but obviously you can think that and you can never be sure. I think what she did today was impressive and she’s very classy.

“We feel so privileged to have such stock to work with, we’ve got incredible mares and stallions at Ballydoyle and a fantastic bunch of people too. We give them every chance and we were hoping that one of them could do that but you’re never sure until you see it happen. It’ll test every bit of them so we were obviously hopeful coming into this but you can never be sure in these races.

“It’s incredible really (to break the record). I’m so delighted for John and Sue (Magnier), Michael and Doreen (Tabor), Derrick and Gaye (Smith) and now George and Emily (von Opel), they’re the ones that put in everything day in and day out and give us all the confidence. If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t happen and when you have those pedigrees it’s such an advantage, three of our fillies were sisters to Oaks winners or out of Oaks winners and it’s a privilege to be dealing with them on a daily basis.

“It’s really unbelievable what she’s doing as she’s not three until today and she’s already run in two Classic races beforehand, so we were very conscious of that all the time and we were training her for Newmarket and we let that bring her on a bit for the Curragh. We thought if everything went well at the Curragh we wouldn’t have to train her too hard to come here so it’s very hard to quantify it but it’s very possible that there’s a lot more to come from her and I suppose what she showed today – to be able to use that turn of foot over a mile and a half – is exciting and that’s what makes very good horses.

“You could think that she could go back to a Pretty Polly distance and go from there onto an Irish Oaks or she could miss that and go straight to the Irish Oaks but she could be anything really.

“I suppose at the very start (of my career) I met Annemarie and she was training, she had this set up with her dad and they were training loads of winners.

“Annemarie was training all of the horses and then when she got pregnant with Joseph she said to me that maybe the license should be put in my name and that’s how it all happened – we weren’t sure what would happen but we’ve always done our best and tried to get the best out of the horses. We knew that you had to have the best bred horses to compete and obviously when I was approached to see whether I’d be interested in having some horses at Ballydoyle it was a no-brainer because Dr (Vincent) O’Brien had all of that success there.

“Our first season there John asked if we’d commit to training for him and Michael and that’s how it all happened and every year the lads gave us better horses and they bred better horses. It is 25 years of a breeding regime and now the families are there. Three of our fillies today were sisters to Oaks winners or out of Oaks winners, so it’s incredible really.

“Every day me and Ryan talk, the first thing we speak about is Josh and that’s always the first thing and then everything else leads on from there. We hope and pray every day that Josh makes another little improvement and just keeps making those little baby steps and then everything else goes from there. Everyone is very conscious and aware of what the most important things are and then it’s onto work. Ryan is an incredibly professional person and he’s deep and very sensitive and cares a lot. He’s professional though and when he has to do his job he goes into a zone and he knows that he has a job he has to do and we’re very grateful to him for that.

“This weekend is incredible for us and it is how the whole thoroughbred breed is measured. It’s a very difficult track and it’s not for softies or wimps, it will expose you. If you’re not a very high standard coming here you’ll suffer after and it’s what the whole breed is based on. You have to have speed and you have to stay and to be tough and you have to go through all these things and I think that’s how the bar has been set. To win an Oaks or a Derby you have to have a mile or mile and a quarter pace and class and that’s why I think it’s such an important place. It’s not an easy place but I do think it’s a pair of races upon which the breed is measured on. We train the best horses for it every year and then from year to year the lads will see what they’re doing with the mating to see if they can add something or take out something from a pedigree to try and get the right result – so it’s really important.”

MV Magnier (representing his parents and co-owners, John and Sue Magnier)

“First of all I just want to say a thank you to Cazoo for sponsoring the race, the effort they’re putting into this sport and this industry is great and it’s really appreciated.

“Ryan gave her a terrific ride and in fairness after the Guineas at Newmarket he said she’d run a very good race in the Oaks. It’s just a great day and I’m very happy for Ryan and Aidan. I believe Aidan has broken a record today and it’s just a fantastic achievement.

“Today is her birthday and the biggest thing you can take from that is that we’re going to keep covering mares for longer. She was always a very nice filly but it just goes to show you that she’s only three today and she’s gone and won an Oaks – I think people pay too much attention to things like that and it just goes to show that you can keep covering your mares.

“Aidan always thought that she was very good and her pedigree was exceptional. I would imagine that Aidan would want to go to the Curragh now (for the Irish Oaks) and then maybe York (for the Yorkshire Oaks) and then the Arc.

“I was hoping that Aidan wasn’t going to hear me say this! He’s an incredible man, what he’s achieved to date really is incredible. He works harder than anybody I’ve ever met in my life and he deserves everything he’s got.

“Galileo has just been immense and I can’t really put it into words how much this horse meant to us. He’s changed a lot of lives, it’s not just us and he’s affected a lot of people. Those Galileo mares are just incredible and we have a lot to be grateful for.

Michael Tabor (co-owner)

“It’s very difficult to put into words (praise for Aidan), he just has a work ethic that is nonstop. I guess it’s like baking a cake and you need every ingredient to make it a cake that you really want and if you’re lacking any ingredient, it’s going to be ok but you’re not going to reach the pinnacle. That’s the way I look at it and I do feel that every ingredient from what John Magnier has built over the years and made Ballydoyle the place it is so it has every facility to get the best out of the pedigrees.

“I’m not just boosting John up but don’t forget that he selected Aidan way back when he was basically just another trainer – he could see from nothing what he was achieving. He made the appointment and it’s been a success story ever since.

“You need every ingredient and yes the pedigrees are so important and back in the day when I first when with John he said to me that we have to get the right mares for the foundation and I was quite a learner. He had more experience than me and I obviously agreed with him and now we’re reaping the benefits.”


The going at Epsom Downs will remain unchanged overnight. While the overnight forecast is unsettled, it is expected to clear up well before racing starts for tomorrow’s Derby Day.

Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper said: “I’m leaving the going as Good, Good to Soft in places on the Derby Course, and Good on the Sprint Course for the Dash.

“We will take a lot of rail down this evening and that will give us around four yards of fresh ground from the mile start to the winning post.”

“It’s an unsettled and uncertain forecast, but the Met Office and most forecasters are suggesting we are at risk of rain or showers from about midnight through to around 10 in the morning. It’s also likely to be cooler than today.

“It’s quite possible we won’t see any rain until around five in the morning, and we are not guaranteed to see anything, but the Met Office felt it was unlikely to miss us altogether. It could be a low single figure amount, which would hold the going where we are.”

Cazoo Oaks Press Release

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