Wand heads magic Investec Oaks quintet for O’Brien – owner-breeder Nicholas Jones excited ahead of Give And Take’s Classic bid

Wand heads magic Investec Oaks quintet for O’Brien – owner-breeder Nicholas Jones excited ahead of Give And Take’s Classic bid
 A field of nine has been declared to run in the £500,000 G1 Investec Oaks (4.30pm) at Epsom Downs, the highlight of the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, Investec Ladies’ Day, Friday, June 1.
The premier fillies’ Classic, run over the same mile and a half as Saturday’s Investec Derby, is one of two G1 prizes on Investec Ladies’ Day, following the £420,000 Investec Coronation Cup for older horses at 3.10pm.
Wild Illusion (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, drawn 1), 5/2 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, bids to provide owner Godolphin with a fourth victory in the Investec Oaks, following the successes of Kazzia (2002), Balanchine (1995) and Moonshell (1994).
The three-year-old daughter of Dubawi finished fourth in the first British fillies’ Classic, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas over the straight mile at Newmarket on May 6, having ended last year’s campaign with a front-running success in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly, France, in October.
Britain and Ireland’s champion Flat trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has five runners in the Investec Oaks. The master of Ballydoyle has won the fillies’ Classic on six occasions, the latest of which came courtesy of Minding in 2016.
O’Brien’s contenders this year are headed by the first two home in the Listed Cheshire Oaks at Chester on May 9 - Magic Wand (Ryan Moore, 9/2, 9) and Forever Together (Donnacha O’Brien, 9/2, 3).
Bye Bye Baby (Wayne Lordan, 6/1, 6), an impressive winner of the G3 Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh on May 12, QIPCO 1,000 Guineas 11th I Can Fly (Seamie Heffernan, 12/1, 4) and Lingfield Oaks Trial third Flattering (Padraig Beggy, 28/1, 5) complete O’Brien’s quintet. Flattering is Beggy’s first Epsom Downs ride since he won the 2017 Investec Derby on outsider Wings Of Eagles.
Lambourn trainer Clive Cox saddles the unbeaten Perfect Clarity (Adam Kirby, 8/1, 8) who exercised during Breakfast With The Stars at Epsom Downs on May 22.
The daughter of Nathaniel, sire of the 2017 Investec Oaks heroine Enable, was an authoritative winner of the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial at Lingfield Park on May 12, having previously annexed a Nottingham maiden on her debut in August.
Newmarket handler William Haggas captured the 2011 Investec Oaks with Dancing Rain and saddles the progressive Give And Take (James Doyle, 10/1, 7) in this year’s renewal.
The daughter of Cityscape registered a length success in the G3 Musidora Stakes at York on May 16 and bids to become the first filly since the Michael Bell-trained Sariska in 2009 to complete the Musidora-Oaks double.
Nicholas Jones, the owner and breeder of Give And Take, is the owner of Coln Valley Stud, a 75-acre operation situated in Coln St Dennis, close to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.
Jones reported today: “William seems very pleased with Give And Take and we are all looking forward to running her at Epsom Downs on Friday.
“Give And Take seems to have come out of her win at York very well and we’re hopeful of a good run.
“She won last year at Lingfield (September 16) in bad conditions, so I don’t think soft ground is necessarily a real worry for her.
“I think she prefers conditions on the easier side of good, so the rain they’ve had at Epsom won’t have damaged her chances.
“As for the trip, her dam is a full sister to Fame And Glory (second, 2009 Investec Derby) who won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot (2011), so there is lots of stamina on the dam side.
“Her sire Cityscape stayed a mile, but the stamina on the dam side makes us think she will improve again for the step up in trip.
“Give And Take is such a genuine filly. She’s been so consistent for us and it was a nice performance at York last time. On official ratings, she has to improve again, but we’re hopeful that she can.”
Reflecting on the thrill of owning and also breeding a horse in the fillies’ Classic, Jones continued: “When you’re a breeder, it’s incredibly exciting to have a horse like this in a Classic.
“We only have six broodmares and this filly is also her dam’s first foal, so it is very special to have a horse good enough to run in the Investec Oaks.”
The David Simcock-trained Ejtyah (Jamie Spencer, 22/1, 2), third on her latest start to Give And Take in the Musidora at York, completes the nine runners for the £500,000 G1 Investec Oaks.
Investec Oaks – Unibet prices:
5/2 Wild Illusion; 9/2 Forever Together, Magic Wand; 6/1 Bye Bye Baby; 8/1 Perfect Clarity; 10/1 Give And Take; 12/1 I Can Fly; 22/1 Ejtyah; 28/1 Flattering. Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3
Europe’s highest-rated horse Cracksman (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori, drawn 6), who ended 2017 as the best three-year-old in the world with a rating of 130, faces five rivals in the £420,000 G1 Investec Coronation Cup (3.10pm), also over a mile and a half.
The seven-length winner of last season’s G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes and 2017 Investec Derby third made a sizzling return to action in the G1 Prix Ganay over an extended 10 furlongs at Longchamp, France, on April 29, and is the red-hot 1/3 favourite with Unibet to gain a third consecutive G1 success.
Godolphin’s Hawkbill (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, 6/1, 3), third in last year’s Investec Coronation Cup, has also returned in 2018 in great style, with two victories at Meydan, UAE, in March including a decisive win in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic on March 31.
Idaho (Ryan Moore, 6/1, 2) bids to emulate his full-brother Highland Reel, successful in this race 12 months ago. Idaho’s trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has won the Investec Coronation Cup a record eight times, also runs G1 runner-up Yucatan (Donnacha O’Brien, 25/1, 5).
Germany is represented by two-time G1 scorer Windstoss (Markus Klug GER/Adrie de Vries, 25/1, 1), the first of two runners at this year’s Investec Derby Festival for trainer Markus Klug and owner/breeder Gestut Rottgen.
Windstoss proved himself well at home over 12 furlongs on testing ground last season, winning both the G1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg and G1 Preis Von Europa at Cologne on going officially described as soft.
The four-year-old finished a close third on his reappearance in the G2 Gerling-Preis at Cologne on May 6.
Stable companion Diaphora steps up in class for the G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Investec) over an extended mile on Investec Derby Day, Saturday, June 2.
The four-year-old is lightly-raced, having had just three starts, and comes into the race on the back of a Listed success at Hannover on May 1.
Klug, who has yet to have a runner at Epsom Downs, said today: “Windstoss has been good since his first start of the year.
“In Cologne, he was not 100 per cent and he was carrying more weight than the two horses that beat him. He was only a length behind the winner and it was OK for his first run.
“The Investec Coronation Cup will be a very difficult race. If Windstoss can be placed, we will be very happy.
“Soft ground is good for our horse. He won the German Derby and Preis Von Europa last season on soft ground. I think he is a better horse on soft ground.
“Diaphora goes for the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. She won a Listed race very well at Hannover earlier this month.
“She had a problems as a two-year-old, which is why she didn’t run, and she only had two starts last year. But this year, she is very sound. Like Windstoss, it will be difficult for her, but she has a chance to be placed.”
G1 runner-up Salouen (Sylvester Kirk/Silvestre de Sousa, 50/1, 4) completes the runners for the Investec Coronation Cup.
Investec Coronation Cup – Unibet prices:
1/3 Cracksman; 6/1 Hawkbill, Idaho; 25/1 Yucatan, Windstoss; 50/1 Salouen
Each-way 1/4 odds, 1-2
Racing on Investec Ladies’ Day starts at 2.00pm and ends at 5.50pm.
The Investec Derby Festival continues on Saturday, June 2, when the highlight is Britain’s richest race and premier Classic, the £1.5-million G1 Investec Derby.
Latest Going
The going at Epsom Downs is currently: Soft
GoingStick readings at 7.00am today: 5.5 overall (Home Straight – Stands; Side 5.3; Far Side 5.0).
There 21 millimetres of rain yesterday, Tuesday, May 29. It has been mainly dry since midnight.
Today is forecast to be predominantly dry. Further showers are possible tomorrow, Thursday, while Friday is predicted to be mainly dry.
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