Just the one ride for me at Epsom on Friday, as I have to be at Bath for the boss later! Chevallier ran a couple of his lesser races on his most recent starts, but he probably just needed a break after a very busy time of it at the start of the year. He will have been freshened up after his last of 8 at Chelmsford in March, and he was previously a model of consistency for me, when winning a couple of 1m handicaps on the all-weather at Lingfield and a series of good, placed efforts. And he is not just an all-weather horse, as his last turf run – and he has five wins on turf – saw him finish a good third at Newmarket last September. 1m on decent ground are his ideal conditions, and I suppose it is just a matter of whether the handicapper has him in his grip now after his good start to the year. This is his first run round here, but he has won at Brighton, so hopefully that won’t be an issue.
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.
MY OAKS 1,2,3: Rhododendron, Enable, Coronet
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