Irish trainer Weld rolls back the years in Epsom Oaks

The first day of the Epsom Festival produced a first English Oaks win for Dermot Weld in 43 years (BENJAMIN CREMEL)
The first day of the Epsom Festival produced a first English Oaks win for Dermot Weld in 43 years (BENJAMIN CREMEL)

Ezeliya delivered Irish trainer Dermot Weld his second Epsom Oaks 43 years since Blue Wind triumphed and six years before Friday's winning jockey Chris Hayes was born.

Ezeliya provided owner the Aga Khan with a first win in the race as he suffered the crushing disappointment in 1989 when Aliysa won but was subsequently disqualified.

Weld's only Epsom Derby winner, Harzand in 2016 was also owned by the Aga Khan.

Hayes looked in total control halfway down the finishing straight on the challenging camber track, in stark contrast to Irish favourite Ylang Ylang, the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly was struggling throughout the 1 1/2 mile (2400 metres) race.

Weld, 75 and whose globetrotting exploits are legendary having won two Melbourne Cups and a Belmont Stakes, welcomed back the winner with his sons Mark and Chris.

"A very special day, the competition these days is very keen," said Weld.

"She is a beautiful filly to train, I was never worried about the distance.

"This is my 25th classic winner in Ireland England.

"Classic races are the pinnacle, it is what you do it for, what trainers are remembered for.

"I am very fortunate as for one that stands out, no they are all special, any classic race you win is very special."

For Hayes the winner is a 'queen' though he cast himself as a rather more lowly personality plucked from a British comedy 'Only Fools and Horses'.

"I am like Del Boy Trotter, ducking and diving and looking to get my way through life," he said.

Ylang Ylang's disappointing run leaves O'Brien without a classic winner this season, though, he has the favourite City of Troy in Saturday's 'blue riband' of flat racing, the Epsom Derby.

Ylang Ylang's rider Ryan Moore reported: "We didn't go mad and I didn't think she handled the track particularly well.

"She was following the winner in second and she just didn't take me into the straight the way I was expecting her to.

"She had a hard race in the Guineas and maybe it's come a bit too soon. She'll be better than today."

The 54-year-old O'Brien  -- who will be seeking a 10th triumph in the Derby -- thought he had turned a corner this season earlier on Friday.

O'Brien landed the Group One Coronation Cup for the ninth time as Moore guided home Luxembourg in a terrific front-running display.

For O'Brien it was his first Group One success of the campaign -- his relief palpable as he grinned and gave a thumbs up sign -- which has been an unusually slow start for him.

Luxembourg has proved the most durable of campaigners, the Coronation meaning he has won Group One contests at two, three, four and now five-years-old.

"It was an incredible ride by Ryan, he controlled everything," said O'Brien.

"At halfway he had everyone where he wanted them. Unbelievable."

Moore said Luxembourg, who is likely to be aimed at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July, said the winner's extraordinary longevity at the top set him apart from others.

"He is a great horse, a very consistent horse, winning Group One's from two to five, not many can do that," said Moore.