Matt Chapman | Epsom Oaks, Friday 4pm
One thing’s for sure, while there is an established star in Saturday’s Investec Derby there is absolutely no confirmed heroine prior to Friday’s Investec Oaks. That doesn’t mean the race won’t produce one though.
I tipped up Liber Nauticus for the Musidora, and pointed out that she HAD to win that trial to have any chance at Epsom. She did score, but now she’s far too short in the betting for the Oaks on the back of a far from impressive effort. Her price of 7/2 reflects her trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s repuation.
Hughie Morrison has been surprised by the performances of Banoffee, and she’s been supplemented for the Oaks. She’s clearly progressive, but I wasn’t that taken by her win in the Cheshire Oaks and she will need to do much more.
Confident of win
Moth is the main hope of Aidan O’Brien. She won her maiden and did really well to finish third behind Sky Lantern in the 1,000 Guineas. This form was given a massive boost by the success of runner-up and my nap Just the Judge in the Irish equivalent. Moth is by Galileo and is bred to stay – she is a worthy contender and a huge danger to all.
O’Brien also saddles Say, who simply bolted up in a maiden last time. That, though, was a weak four-runner event at Cork and Say was merely doing what a 1-6 shot should have done. She needs to improve an enormous amount to trouble the best of these.
The closer we get to the Investec Oaks, the more and more confident I am that Ralph Beckett will win the event again (after Look Here 2008) with the oh-so-promising Secret Gesture.
She’s bred in the purple, being a daughter of Galileo out of a Danehill mare, and has proven stamina, landing the Lingfield Oaks Trial by 10 lengths.
Now that was far from a great race in terrible ground, but it was the style of victory that was so impressive. Remember how impressive Secret Gesture had looked in a Newbury maiden back in October when beating 13 rivals.
To date, Secret Gesture has only run on ground described as good, (it was softer than that), heavy and good to soft, but Beckett is adamant the filly will be even better on a quicker surface. Recently bought in to by Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar group, Secret Gesture will not just win, but win well.
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