Aidan O’Brien currently holds the key to the 2016 Investec Oaks and Richard has expert tips for Friday's highlight.
In Minding, he trains the hot favourite (current best price of evens). The 1000 Guineas winner was so impressive at Newmarket that she was being touted as a surprise Derby runner, so it is no surprise to see that she is a short price against her own sex here. Since that devastating win she has met with a narrow defeat at the hands of soft ground specialist Jet Setting in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, which has tempered some of the hype which surrounded her.
Her price was largely unaffected despite the defeat, and there doesn’t look to be too much value in it, given that she is unproven beyond a mile, and she had quite a hard race that day on testing ground in the Curragh. Those types of defeats can leave a mark on a filly, and I would be willing to oppose her on that basis.
Minding finishes second in the Irish 1000 Guineas
The problems begin when trying to separate the wheat from the chaff amongst the remainder of the field. Basically all of the field have some negative which can be levelled against them. Second favourite Even Song had a promising run when third in a listed race at Newmarket, but she was beaten quite a long way, and neither of the two fillies in front of her were thought worthy of an entry here, so she has plenty to find on bare form.
Turret Rocks hails from the Jim Bolger yard, and he rarely sends runners over for a day out when it comes to Epsom. That said, she weakened dramatically in the closing stages of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, and has over six lengths to find with Minding on that form. Bolger admitted in the aftermath that the filly was short of work, and big improvement can be expected. She is another that has stamina to prove however, and her racing style would lead me to have some doubts on that score.
Charlie Appleby has supplemented Skiffle for the race at a cost of £30,000, so connections are clearly happy with her progression this season. She won snugly at Goodwood last time, but beating a previous Nottingham handicap winner (off 74) in a listed race by a length requires plenty of improvement to win an Oaks.
Seventh Heaven (another O’Brien runner) narrowly defeated Architecture in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, but that was a steadily run race, and the form may not work out as expected.
The one I like at the prices is SOMEHOW
). Trained by Aidan O’ Brien (again!), she overcame greenness to win readily at Chester in May, and I thought she showed a willing attitude and a decent turn of foot to win from the position she found herself in rounding the home turn. Chester is an undulating turning track, which appeared to catch her out in the early parts of the race, but assuming she has learned from that experience, she could show the necessary improvement here. Her win there barely caused a ripple in her Oaks price (20/1 into 16/1), but support in recent weeks is encouraging, and I think there is still some mileage in her price. In a trappy race, she is put forward as a value each way selection against Minding.
Selection - SOMEHOW