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  Friday, 8 June, 2001, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
O'Brien eyes Epsom double
Imagine wins the Oaks
Trainer O'Brien hopes to follow up Imagine's win
By BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh
at Epsom

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien heads into Derby day with a live chance of completing an Epsom Classic double.

He saddled 3/1 favourite Imagine, who came to win the Oaks on Friday with a late charge under an inspirational ride from Michael Kinane.

And now O'Brien runs well-fancied 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo in the Derby on Saturday.

Imagine held off the Queen's filly Flight of Fancy (100/30) by 1 1/4 lengths, with Relish the Thought (10/1) a head back in third.


Things have to go well all the way right to the finishing line
Aidan O'Brien

The victory broke a record for her sire Sadler's Wells, who provided the 1-2-3 in the Oaks and made history by providing the most winners, with 46, of Group One races worldwide.

It was also the stallion's fourth winner of the Oaks, although he has never produced a Derby winner.

O'Brien will hope that statistic changes as Galileo is by Sadler's Wells out of the champion racemare Urban Sea.

Kinane's delight

Asked to compare the colt Galileo with the filly Imagine, the quietly-spoken O'Brien said: "Both of their preparations went really well.

"But things have to go well all the way right to the finishing line."

Kinane was full of praise for his mount, who did not appear to take to the unique contours of Epsom's undulating course.

The Irish jockey was red-faced and sweating as he watched a re-run of the race, in which he brought the filly from way back in the field to claim glory with a devastating downhill burst.

"I was a shade worried when we were at the back, but let her come down in her own speed. She's a lovely filly and nothing fazes her," said Kinane.

Royal disappointment

Coolmore Stud supremo John Magnier, in whose wife's name Imagine runs, said of the trainer: "Aidan imagines a lot of these things will happen."

There was disappointment for the Queen, and another twist in the controversial career of jockey Kieren Fallon, who rode the runner-up Flight of Fancy.

Fallon, suspended for the Derby on Saturday, was criticised by the Queen's racing manager Lord Carnarvon for his ride when the filly finished fourth in a trial for the big race.

And he again found trouble in the Oaks, being checked by horses in front on more than one occasion.

Stoute unhappy

Lord Carnarvon was more diplomatic this time, saying: "She really was very unlucky and I think she could have won."

But trainer Sir Michael Stoute appeared unhappy with how the race unfolded.

"I don't know if she was unlucky, but she didn't win the race," he said.

"Everything was going fine until she went for a gap about two-and-a-half furlongs out and just got stopped.

"The one thing she did not want at that stage was to get stopped at that stage of the race, for she is just a strong, relentless galloping filly.

"She ran on well, but she just did not win."

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