05/31/2013 2:19PM

English Oaks taken by 20-1 shot Talent


Champion British jockey Richard Hughes won the second classic race of the year, and second of the month, aboard 20-1 shot Talent  in Friday’s $600,000 English Oaks at Epsom Downs.

Hughes, the leading rider in England last year, won the English 1000 Guineas on May 5 aboard Sky Lantern.

He rode Talent for trainer Ralph Beckett, who also finished second with Secret Gesture, the 3-1 second choice in the field of 11.

Talent, an English-bred by New Approach, was at the back of the field for the first mile and was still ninth with a half-mile to go. She overcame trouble a quarter-mile from the finish to take the lead in the final furlong of the race over 1 1/2 miles on a left-handed course.

“I thought I would win five furlongs out, she was going that well,” Hughes said.

Secret Gesture, fourth early after breaking from the rail, fought for the lead in the stretch, but could not keep pace with the winner. Secret Gesture finished three-quarters of a length in front of The Lark, a 16-1 shot. Moth, the 5-2 favorite who was third in the English 1000 Guineas, could only finish fourth, unable to keep pace in the final furlong.

Talent has won 3 of 4 starts, including her last three races for breeder and co-owner James Rowsell and co-owner Mark Dixon. She won the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on May 5 in her 2013 debut.

Remarkably, Talent is the fourth consecutive member of her family to run in the English Oaks. Talent is out of Prowess, who was ninth in the 2009 English Oaks. Prowess’s dam, Yawl, was 12th in the 1993 English Oaks, while Yawl’s dam, Bireme, won the 1980 running.

Beckett, 41, has won the English Oaks twice. He won the 2008 running with the 33-1 outsider Look Here.

Hughes, 39, won his first riding title in Britain last year.