With the Oaks to look forward to on Friday (from Epsom at 4.30), here’s our trio of top jockeys Josephine Gordon, Luke Morris, and Jamie Spencer with their verdict on the race. For the latest betting, visit 32Red.com/sport.
It is hard to look beyond Rhododendron. She has the best form, her second to Winter in the 1,000 Guineas was given a big boost last weekend, and the Galileo filly looks sure to be suited by the step up to 1m4f. I was also very impressed by Natavia’s recent win in the soft at Newbury and I think she will handle the extra 2f and the likely better ground.
Khalid Abdullah could be the main beneficiary if the favourite disappoints as his Cheshire Oaks winner Enable is a guaranteed stayer, who progressed a lot from her Newbury third when putting Alluringly in her place in style at Chester. Actually, if I could have a dead-heat for third I would have her stablemate Coronet!; she also looks as if she was crying out for 1m4f when third to Sobetsu in France last time.
The others are all playing catch-up with Rhododendron, and she looks nigh on unbeatable to me. Her Guineas second to Winter is clearly the best piece of form going into this race and, being a Galileo out of a Nassau winner, you’d have to think the 1m4f will suit her even better than a mile. The only one I really like against her is Natavia. Okay, this is only 13 days after her Newbury Listed win and she may have raced on the best part of the track, but I was impressed with her there.
The rest all look much of a muchness to me. Enable beat Alluringly well at Chester but everything went right for her there, and she got the run of the race to a fair extent. However, she could still finish third here. Sobetsu was very impressive when winning her maiden last season before disappointing in the Fillies’ Mile, and she was right back to form when winning the Alary last time, where Coronet stayed on from the back to take third. But, again, she has a lot to find on form with the favourite and I think she is more of a 1m2f filly myself.
Of the others, Horseplay would welcome any more rain. She was very impressive in soft ground at Nottingham last season and I thought she beat Isabel de Urbina in the Pretty Polly in spite of the quick ground at Newmarket.
Rhododendron is the class horse in the race, and her short price reflects her excellent chance. She didn’t get the rub of the green in the 1,000 Guineas and her run-style and pedigree suggests she will be even better at this trip. I thought Enable was fairly impressive when beating Alluringly at Chester; she looks an adaptable, well-balanced filly and it is interesting that they are running her instead of Shutter Speed. She could chase the favourite home.
I thought Sobetsu was a nice filly last year without being an Oaks prospect but you have to respect her after her convincing win in the Alary last time. She has a solid place chance but it wouldn’t surprise me if the third horse there, Coronet, improved past her at this trip. She wasn’t ideally positioned in France, and she is worth marking up as a result. Fair play to connections of Daddys Lil Darling for coming over from America. They say there was nothing for her at home til August, and there is some turf form in her pedigree, but this is a massive ask for her, even if she is a very smart filly on dirt.
I thought the Pretty Polly was one of the weaker trials, so Horseplay and Isabel de Urbina have to improve a lot here – though, of course they can – and Natavia would interest me more. It is interesting that Roger Charlton has thrown her straight in the deep end after her impressive Newbury win – I thought they may wait for something like the Ribblesdale – but perhaps this is too much, too soon for her. I am sure she will be a very smart filly down the line though, however she fares here.
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