Marche Lorraine carries Oisin Murphy to first Breeders' Cup win

Oisin Murphy registered his first Breeders’ Cup winner as Japanese mare Marche Lorraine prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Distaff at Del Mar.

Having created history just a few hours earlier with Loves Only You in the Filly & Mare Turf, trainer Yoshito Yahagi doubled his and Japan’s tally at the meeting as Britain’s three-times champion jockey just got up by the tightest of margins.

With the local favourites all chasing a red-hot early tempo and fading even before the home turn, it was Dunbar Road and Marche Lorraine who fought out the finish.

As the pair crossed the line, a dead heat looked a real possibility but Murphy was overjoyed to learn his mount had edged it at the line.

“I wasn’t sure (if I’d won), it was very hard to tell in the shadows at this time of day,” said Murphy.

“This is a dream come true for me personally to win at the Breeders’ Cup, on dirt, on a Japanese horse. It’s the biggest stage in the world.

“Honestly did I think I could win? No, I didn’t, but Mr Yahagi has now had two winners today, Loves Only You and this one. That’s an unbelievable training performance.

“I try hard to get on the best horses I can around the world, I’m only 26 and these are the opportunities I crave.”

He added: “I didn’t know a whole lot about this filly. I rode a lot for Mr Yahagi in Japan, Dubai and Hong Kong and I tried to give her every chance.

“I sat out the back and was a hostage to fortune. I had enough speed to get a pitch. Maybe I moved a bit too early, but she was tough up the straight.”

Life Is Good posted an impressive all-the-way success in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

An early favourite for the Kentucky Derby before injury struck, he seized the initiative under Irad Ortiz, who was already on a high having won the Turf Sprint on Golden Pal, and the result was never in doubt.