(Photos : Team Talk/HKLM)
The 231st renewal of the Gr1 Investec Oaks to be run over a mile and a half on Investec Ladies Day Friday at Epsom Downs Racecourse , sees 10 fillies going to post with no surprises among yesterday’s scratchings.
The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that with so few in the contest, the outside draw for owner George Strawbridge’s Rainbow View (Dynaformer) should not count as a disadvantage. The last two winners were drawn in double-figure stalls, and last year’s Gr1 Fillies’ Mile heroine is poised for the big day after a visit to the Downs for last week’s “Breakfast with the Stars” morning. Of more concern is her ability to rebound from a fifth in the Gr1 1000 Guineas on May 3, and see out the extra half mile.
“I’m very clear in my mind that she will stay a mile and a quarter, but I don’t know about a mile and a half - you can only find out when you race them,” trainer John Gosden commented. “In terms of the Guineas, it was down to the ground being like a road, and she hated it and looked after herself. Her work before the Guineas was very good, so it was not about not having trained on. I really like the two fillies Sariska (Pivotal) and Midday (Oasis Dream), who won their trials and set a very high standard along with Rainbow View so it is a good Oaks as the front ones are pretty smart.”
Jockey Jimmy Fortune is hoping Rainbow View’s Newmarket effort can become a distant memory by Friday evening and added, “I knew after going two or three furlongs there, I wasn’t going to win as she changed her legs before she hit the “dip”, so I wasn’t too hard on her because it was the start of the year. She came back from the race in good form and she got a strongly-run mile at two at Ascot, so you’d have to say she’ll definitely get a mile and a quarter and is bred to get a mile and a half.”
Clive Brittain is no stranger to success at Epsom and bids to roll back the years with Saeed Manana’s Wadaat (Diktat). While the May 24 Gr2 Oaks d’Italia runner-up boasts none of the credentials of the stable’s 1992 heroine User Friendly (Slip Anchor), connections are hopeful she can bridge the gap. “My filly is nice and I know on the ratings she has a bit to find, but she is in with a shout,” jockey Neil Callan said. “She saw the trip out well in Italy and, like all of Clive’s fillies, she’s fit and tough and will be going there on merit.”
Of the outsiders, Julie Wood’s The Miniver Rose (High Chaparral) needs to improve on her second to Apple Charlotte (Royal Applause) in the 15 May Listed Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury, which was the race used as a springboard to success for the 2005 Oaks heroine Eswarah (Unfuwain).
Her trainer Richard Hannon said, “The Oaks has been the plan for some time now, and The Miniver Rose deserves to take her chance. She is a quirky filly, but very talented, and since we moved her across from Everleigh to our Herridge yard she has behaved much better. She isn’t blessed with tons of speed, so the step up to a mile and a half should suit her. ”The going remains good, and Director of Racing Andrew Cooper said, “The ground is currently spot on and I am glad we took the decision to water when we did. I would have no hesitation in calling it good in the main. It is a little bit quicker in places, mainly on the climb up the back straight.”