Josephine Gordon: I know the horse well and it’s a good time to be getting back on board
At first glance, he looks to have it all to do here, as he is 4lb out of the handicap and he finished down the field at Sandown last week. But I think he still has an each-way chance at what I imagine will be decent odds. I have ridden him once before, when third here over 7f here last season, and he would have finished closer with a better run through that day. That wasn’t his only good run here and his record shows you that the step up to this extended 1m will suit him as well, as will the drying ground. If he comes on for that recent run at Sandown, and that was his first start since January, then I give him an outside chance, for all being 4lb wrong at the weights is clearly a big negative in a race of this competitive nature.
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.
MY OAKS 1,2,3: Rhododendron, Natavia, Enable.
I know the horse well, having ridden him a few times and won on him at Newcastle over Christmas, and it’s a good time to be getting back on board again as he comes here after winning at Chester last time. He has gone up only 2lb for that win – well, he won by only a neck – and has also won on his only start here, too. That was over 6f, over which he has done most of his racing, but he has run two decent races over 7f so I don’t think the extra furlong will be a problem. He has a fair bit to recommend him in an open race.
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