The experts at Timeform give their runner-by-runner guide to the 2016 Oaks at Epsom on Friday (due off 16.30).
By Zoffany and a half-sister to useful 6f-1m winner Norbanus. Confirmed her debut promise when beating 16 rivals in a Nottingham maiden last October. 11/4 and green, best effort when neck second of five to Seventh Heaven in the listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield (11.5f) on her return four weeks ago, edged out late on but clear of the remainder. Certainly worth her chance in what could be an open Oaks, but not bred to improve again for this trip.
By Fastnet Rock out of 1m-1½m winner Barshiba, making her a half-sister to smart winner up to 10.4f Arabian Queen. Landed short odds in 1m Lingfield maiden in February on third start (made debut last November). Well held in listed event on turf debut at Newmarket after short break in May, but seemed
to excel herself when eight and three-quarter lengths fifth of seven to So Mi Dar in Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York 10 days later. Much more needed.
Diamonds Pour Moi
Made a winning start to her career at Kempton last November and much improved when a length third of eight to Somehow in the listed Cheshire Oaks (11.4f) on her reappearance a month ago, sticking to her task after being caught out as the sprint began. Plenty to find on form, but yard won this with outsiders in both 2008 and 2013 (also saddled runner-up), so could outrun long odds.
Made a stylish winning debut in a soft-ground 1m Goodwood maiden last September and has improved on both her starts this year, second to colt Linguistic in sales race at Newmarket in April and four and a quarter lengths fourth of seven to So Mi Dar in Musidora Stakes at York in May. Sound place claims on form, but probably not open to the same amount of improvement as many of these and her tendency to race keenly is also a concern going up in trip.
By Galileo out of very smart winner up to 1m Lillie Langtry, making her a sister to useful 1m winner Kissed By Angels. Was the leading two-year-old filly in Europe in 2015, signing off with an impressive win in the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, and proved in similar form when winning 1000 Guineas there on her reappearance in early-May by three and a half lengths from Ballydoyle (1-2-3 for Aidan O'Brien). Lost little in defeat when a head second of 10 to Jet Setting in Irish version at the Curragh since and very much the one to beat on form here, but a hard race on soft ground there is hardly an ideal prep for stepping up to 1½m in this race just 12 days later, especially considering her stamina isn't fully guaranteed for the trip.
By Galileo out of US Grade 3 6f winner La Traviata, meaning she's a half-sister to smart 6f winners Cristoforo Colombo and Crusade. Has clearly inherited plenty of stamina from her sire as, having won a 1m maiden at Dundalk on her return in April (her third start), she overcame greenness to follow up in the five-runner listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield (11.5f) in May by a neck from Architecture. Extra ½f here will suit and she's open to further improvement, so warrants respect, for all yard has shorter-priced contenders.
By Dubawi out of useful 1½m winner Princesse Dansante, and a half-sister to smart winner up to 1m Golden Town. Completely blew the start but made up impressive ground in straight when third in an Ascot maiden on her debut and duly improved plenty when winning the nine-runner listed Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood (almost 1¼m) 13 days later in May by a length from The Black Princess, finding plenty. Easy to see why she's been supplemented for this race at a cost of £30,000 and one for the shortlist with the step up to 1½m likely to bring about further improvement.
By Fastnet Rock out of the smart winner up to 1½m Alexandrova. Built on her promising debut last autumn when seeing off a subsequent winner at Leopardstown on her return in April. Improved again and overcame run of race when following up in eight-runner listed Cheshire Oaks since by half a length from Moorside. Unlikely to get away with getting so far out of her ground in this grade, but she's the type to do much better, so is another from her stable who merits respect.
By Fastnet Rock out of a mare who stayed 1½m, and is a half-sister to useful winner up to 1¼m Beyond Thankful. Hood taken off when winning May Hill Stakes last September and even better form when second to Ballydoyle in Prix Marcel Boussac the following month. Shaped as if needing run when six and a half kengths sixth of 16 to Minding in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her return and was then a non-runner from the Irish equivalent. Not very big, but is well enough put together to think she'll train on and she'll stay at least 1¼m, so should run well.
Timeform Oaks 1-2-3
3. Turret Rocks
Timeform Analyst's Verdict
It's easy to see why connections have decided to supplement SKIFFLE after her impressive win in the listed Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood 2 weeks ago and she's taken to upset the red-hot favourite Minding, who has easily the best form but is running in her third Classic in just over a month, and her stamina is not guaranteed, either. Turret Rocks is also expected to go well now up in trip.