Joseph O’Brien pondering Investec Oaks options as 22 go forward for £500,000 contest at Epsom Downs on Investec Ladies Day, May 31

 

Thursday, May 16, 2019 – Classic winner Hermosa plus impressive trial scorers Anapurna and Pink Dogwood feature among 22 fillies still engaged in the fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks, following today’s scratchings’ deadline.

 

The famous and historic G1 race takes place over one mile, four furlongs and six yards at Epsom Downs on Friday, May 31, Investec Ladies Day and day one of the Investec Derby Festival.

 

Anapurna, trained by John Gosden, could not have been more impressive when sauntering to a six-length victory over Tauteke (Roger Varian) in the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial on May 11. If successful at Epsom Downs, the Meon Valley Stud homebred daughter of Frankel would become the first winner of the Lingfield contest to go on success in the Investec Oaks since Ramruma in 1999. She is a 7/1 chance for the Investec Oaks with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, with Tauteke a 66/1 hope.

 

Newmarket-based Gosden, the reigning champion Flat trainer, is chasing a third Investec Oaks victory following the wins of Taghrooda (2014) and Enable (2017). In addition to Anapurna, Gosden has also left in Enable’s half-sister Entitle (16/1 with Unibet), who dead-heated for second behind Nausha (Roger Varian, 20/1) in yesterday’s G3 Musidora Stakes at York, and impressive Newbury maiden winner Star Catcher (25/1).

 

Gosden could also be represented by Mehdaayih, who was very impressive when winning the Listed Cheshire Oaks on May 8 by four and half lengths from Manuela De Vega (Ralph Beckett, 14/1). The Frankel filly, Unibet’s 5/2 favourite, is not currently entered in the Investec Oaks and would need supplementing at a cost of £30,000 at the six-day confirmation stage on Saturday, May 25.

 

Ireland’s 21-time champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is the most successful current handler in the Investec Oaks with seven wins – Forever Together was the most recent in 2018. There are five fillies from Ballydoyle going forward, headed by QIPCO 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa (8/1) and Pink Dogwood (4/1), who recorded a comfortable victory in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on April 28. Delphinia (40/1), last season’s G2 May Hill Stakes winner Fleeting (33/1) and Peach Tree (33/1) complete O’Brien’s quintet.

 

There are eight Irish-trained fillies going forward in total. O’Brien’s son Joseph is responsible for two; last season’s G1 Fillies Mile heroine Iridessa (16/1), who was eighth last time out in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and Altair (66/1), who was a staying-on fifth behind Pink Dogwood at Navan.

 

Both fillies are sired by Investec Derby winners, with Iridessa a daughter of 2013 hero Ruler Of The World and Altair by 2014 scorer Australia. The duo are owned by Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez, who saw her colours carried to success in the 2015 Investec Oaks by shock 50/1 winner Qualify.

 

Co Kilkenny-based O’Brien revealed today: “Iridessa has been doing fine since Newmarket and it is likely that she will run next in the Irish 1,000 Guineas (G1, 1m, the Curragh, May 26).

 

“There has been no decision made yet about whether or not she will run in the Investec Oaks.

 

“Altair ran well in an Oaks trial last time behind Pink Dogwood. I felt our filly was a bit unlucky, but she will have learnt plenty from that.

 

“We have left her in the Investec Oaks as we want to keep all options open.”

 

The other Irish-trained Investec Oaks contender is Tarnawa (Dermot Weld, 25/1). Owned and bred by the Aga Khan, she was third to Pink Dogwood at Navan before improving to land the G3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas on May 11.

 

Newmarket handler William Haggas won the 2011 Investec Oaks with Dancing Rain and has a strong team going forward in 2019, headed by Maqsad (10/1), who followed up a Newmarket maiden victory in April with an impressive five-length success in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at the same course on May 5. Haggas has also left in Frankellina (14/1), who dead-heated for second after being slow away in yesterday’s G3 Musidora Stakes at York.

 

The third possible Haggas representative is Sea Of Faith (14/1), a very promising fourth on her debut at Sandown Park on April 26. The daughter of Sea The Stars is set to start in Saturday’s Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury, which also features fellow Investec Oaks aspirants Lavender’s Blue (Amanda Perrett, 16/1), Queen Power (Sir Michael Stoute, 40/1), Sh Boom (Peter Chapple-Hyam, 40/1) and Star Catcher.

 

Lavender’s Blue, impressive when successful on her debut at Newmarket on April 16, races in the colours of Benny Andersson of ABBA and the Sea The Stars filly is out of Andersson’s Beatrice Aurore, a G3 winner who was sixth in the 2011 Investec Oaks.

 

Completing the 22 fillies going forward are Blue Gardenia (David O’Meara, 50/1), who was fifth in yesterday’s Musidora Stakes, and recent Beverley maiden scorer Mannaal (Simon Crisford, 50/1).

 

The Investec Oaks is part of the British Champions Series.

 

Latest Investec Oaks odds from Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival:

 

5/2 Mehdaayih

 

4/1 Pink Dogwood

 

7/1 Anapurna

 

8/1 Hermosa

 

10/1 Maqsad

 

14/1 Manuela De Vega, Frankellina, Sea of Faith

 

16/1 Iridessa, Entitle, Lavender’s Blue

 

20/1 Nausha

 

25/1 Star Catcher, Tarnawa

 

33/1 Fleeting, Peach Tree

 

40/1 Delphinia, Queen Power, Sh Boom

 

50/1 Blue Gardenia, Mannaal

 

66/1 Tauteke, Altair

 

Each-Way: 1/4 the odds 1,2,3

 

The scratchings’ deadline for the £1.5 million Investec Derby is a noon on Tuesday, May 21 and details of those going forward will be revealed later the same day.

 

The Investec Oaks

Group 1, £500,000 total prize fund. 1m 4f 6y, 4.30pm, Epsom Downs, Friday, May 31. For three-year-old fillies only. Horses will only be eligible to run provided they have attained a BHA rating of 80 or higher. Horses who do not qualify for a rating may also be eligible providing the BHA Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including the day before confirmation merit a provisional assessment of 80 or more. Horses who have not run will not be eligible. Entries closed April 9, entries revealed April 10 (60 entries), scratchings deadline May 16 (22 remain), six-day confirmations & £30,000 supplementary stage May 25, final declarations 10am May 29.

 

Horse Owner Trainer
ALTAIR (IRE) Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez Joseph O’Brien IRE
ANAPURNA Helena Springfield Ltd John Gosden
BLUE GARDENIA (IRE) Sir Robert Ogden David O’Meara
DELPHINIA (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
ENTITLE Khalid Abdullah John Gosden
FLEETING (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
FRANKELLINA Anthony Oppenheimer William Haggas
HERMOSA (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
IRIDESSA (IRE) Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez Joseph O’Brien IRE
LAVENDER’S BLUE (IRE) Benny Andersson Amanda Perrett
MANNAAL (IRE) Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Simon Crisford
MANUELA DE VEGA (IRE) Waverley Racing Ralph Beckett
MAQSAD (FR) Hamdan Al Maktoum William Haggas
NAUSHA Nurlan Bizakov Roger Varian
PEACH TREE (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
PINK DOGWOOD (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
QUEEN POWER (IRE) King Power Racing Co Ltd Sir Michael Stoute
SEA OF FAITH (IRE) Sunderland Holding Inc William Haggas
SH BOOM J G Davis & Star Pointe Ltd Peter Chapple-Hyam
STAR CATCHER A E Oppenheimer John Gosden
TARNAWA (IRE) HH Aga Khan Dermot Weld IRE
TAUTEKE Nurlan Bizakov Roger Varian

 

22 entries remain following May 16 scratchings’ deadline

8 Irish-trained

 

THE FOLLOWING 38 FILLIES HAVE BEEN TAKEN OUT:

ANTONIA DE VEGA (IRE), BABA GHANOUJ (IRE), CHABLIS (IRE), CORAL BEACH (IRE), CREDENZA (IRE), DAME MALLIOT, DANCING VEGA (IRE), DORAH, DUBAI BLUE (USA), EBBRAAM, FABULIST, FIRE FLY (IRE), FLOWERING PEACH (IRE), FOUR LEAF CLOVER (IRE), GODDESS (USA), GRACE AND DANGER (IRE), HAPPEN (USA), I REMEMBER YOU (IRE), JUST WONDERFUL (USA), KING POWER, KVETUSCHKA, LADY ADELAIDE (IRE), LADY COSETTE (FR), LASTOCHKA, MAGIC FOUNTAIN (USA), MALIKA I JAHAN (FR), MONA LISA’S SMILE (USA), PACIFICADORA (USA), PRINCESS SALAMAH (IRE), SECRET THOUGHTS (USA), SHAMBOLIC (IRE), SPARKLE ROLL (FR), STAR TERMS, TAMNIAH (FR), VILLA D’AMORE (IRE), VIVID DIAMOND (IRE), WONDERMENT (IRE), ZAGITOVA (IRE)

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