MY WORD, this year’s Epsom Oaks runners have plenty to live up to. The race will be run in honour of the late, great Sir Henry Cecil, who passed away last June. He won it eight times and I doubt whether we will witness anything as brilliant as Oh So Sharp (1985) and Diminuendo (1988), or experience the emotion of Light Shift’s victory in 2007, which sparked Sir Henry’s latter-day renaissance.
But in TAGHROODA there is a filly who could come close to some of Cecil’s Oaks heroines. She looks pretty bombproof, especially in the absence of convincing contenders from the other trials.
Taghrooda has been backed into 7/4 with BetVictor in recent weeks and the confidence in her is growing. John Gosden’s filly has been all the rage for the Oaks since easily winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on her seasonal return. However the form of that win took a knock when the second Jordan Princess and fourth Uchenna disappointed at Goodwood yesterday.
But although Gosden isn’t one for superlatives, even he is finding hard to keep a lid on his optimism.
“I couldn’t be happier with her, she’s in good form. Her coat is coming all the time, she’s a strong filly and hasn’t lost any weight at all, if anything she’s putting it on again.”
But what of the opposition among the 23 others left in the Oaks on June 6?
Taghrooda’s owner, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, has a powerful second string in the Dermot Weld-trained Tarfasha (13/2), who won the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas in facile style.
Madame Chiang won a dawdle of a Musidora and could prove reasonable each-way value at around the 14/1 mark if she gets the juice in the ground that she needs.
Two fillies who ran okay in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas are left in. Olly Stevens’ Lightning Thunder (12/1) is a possible for the Irish Guineas this weekend while Godolphin’s Ihtimal (7/1) is another to consider for Epsom.
Looking at bigger price alternatives, Rizeena and Tapestry are far from certain starters but if they are allowed to take their chance they do look overpriced.
Trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Julian Richmond-Watson took the 2008 Investec Oaks with Look Here and have another contender this time around in Regardez, who finished third in the Musidora.
The next acceptance stage for the 12-furlong Investec Oaks is the six-day confirmation on Saturday, May 31, when there is also a £30,000 supplementary entry stage.
For the latest betting on the Epsom Oaks visit BetVictor