The Investec Oaks is one of two Group 1 contests from Epsom this afternoon as nine fillies go to post for the third classic of the British flat season.
The ground was described as soft by Clerk Of The Course Andrew Cooper on Wednesday and there is no doubt that 1000 Guineas fourth Wild Illusion deserves her place at the head of the market (5/2 with BetVictor). Her pedigree suggests she has every chance of staying today’s mile-and-a-half trip and she was a Group 1 winner over a mile as a juvenile.
The Charlie Appleby filly is the one to beat but I was impressed with the way Perfect Clarity (4.30) travelled at Lingfield last time when landing their Oaks trial. We know this unbeaten three-year-old stays the trip, showed a decent turn of foot and, as a daughter of Nathaniel, the soft ground would not be a concern. Trained by Clive Cox the filly is 8/1 at BetVictor and I will be disappointed if she doesn’t run a big race.
It is hard to get away from the chances of Cracksman (3.10) in the Coronation Cup for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. The colt finished third – beaten a length – in the Derby 12 months ago but has only lost one of his subsequent five starts and that was in the Irish Derby back in July.
The son of Frankel won his last three races as a three-year-old by an aggregate of over 16 lengths and started his four-year-old campaign with a fluent 4L win at Longchamp in the Gp 1 Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp last month. The colt is 1/3 at BetVictor and 11/4 market leader for a return success back in Paris in the Arc in October.
It could be a very big day for Godolphin and their True Belief (2.00) is taken to land the Woodcote Stakes for Charlie Appleby having shaped with considerable promise at York in a good maiden at the Dante meeting. The colt only finished fourth on the Knavesmire but the weight of money suggested he was considered a potentially smart juvenile and he receives weight from several of his rivals. He can reward each way support at 5/1 with BetVictor.
Ajman King (3.45) looked well on top at the finish despite only winning a length over C&D last month and Roger Varian’s progressive 4-year-old has now won his last three starts. In the circumstances, a 5lbs rise looks fair and this son of Lope De Vega has winning form on both fast and soft ground.
The listed Surrey Stakes looks at the mercy of Kings Shield on the back of his sixth in the French Guineas last time but I’m not convinced the form is as strong as first appears and am keen to take him on.
Aurum (5.15) may have found the ground a shade too quick at Newmarket last time when third in a listed contest. He had previously made a winning debut on good to soft ground back at HQ and this half-brother to Amadeus Wolf is open to further improvement having had just the two career starts.
At the time of writing the ground is good to firm at Doncaster for this evening’s card although there is the potential for thunderstorms in South Yorkshire. I think this track will suit Come On Come On (8.10) more than Windsor last time when he hung right yet only went down by a neck. The selection is only 1lb higher tonight and the form of his Windsor run has been franked by the subsequent Lingfield success of the third horse home Hollywood Road.
At Goodwood, I feel Dolcissimo (8.50) might have bumped into one when runner-up to the promising Arabian Coast at Leicester last time and the Gosden filly can make it third time lucky in the concluding fillies maiden over a mile. The recent Nottingham winner Ganayem looks a big threat but the selection receives 4lbs from the Owen Burrows-trained filly and that might prove decisive.
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