MAYBE LEADS O’BRIEN OAKS SQUAD
Maybe Leads O’brien Oaks Squad
Maybe Leads O’brien Oaks Squad
Aidan O’Brien is mainly looking to Maybe from his six-strong team to give him a fourth triumph in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.
It is six years since the Ballydoyle trainer last landed the fillies’ Classic with Alexandrova and he is going all out to win it again.
Maybe heads his sextet and she is on something of a retrieval mission having lost her unbeaten record on her seasonal reappearance in the 1000 Guineas.
She could only finish third behind stablemate Homecoming Queen at Newmarket after a lengthy delay to the start of the race due to the fatal injury suffered by Gray Pearl.
However, O’Brien was satisfied with the run.
“We were very happy with her run in the Guineas when the ground was a bit on the slow side,” O’Brien told Racing UK.
“It was her first run of the year and perhaps she laboured a little bit through the race, but she was in the stalls a long time and lots of things happened.
“She is by Galileo and she has a very fast pedigree, so a mile and a half is unknown until we do it.
“She’s a big, powerful filly, she always was, she’s like a big colt really.
“She’s big, but very well balanced. It’s all about balance.”
O’Brien also has Betterbetterbetter, Devotion, Kissed, Twirl and Was in the mix as he sees the Oaks as a highly-significant race for potential broodmares.
“Betterbetterbetter ran a good race at Chester and Joseph said if he was riding her again, he might delay her challenge,” he said.
“Twirl returned at York and would like to step up to a mile and a half. The Oaks is an incredibly important race for the pedigree.”
The Fugue was one place behind Maybe in fourth spot in the 1000 Guineas and has since run out a convincing winner over Twirl in the Musidora Stakes over an extended mile and a quarter at York.
Her trainer John Gosden is optimistic she will stay the extra distance of the Oaks.
He told British Champions Series’TV: “She hadn’t quite come to herself in time for the trials for the Guineas, so it was always the plan to go straight there (Newmarket) if she was in good order.
“I think the ground was a little bit verging towards specialist – the winner certainly thought she was running on good to firm – but she ran a great race. She had a rough trip, got run into and lost three lengths but ran on again.
“She’s tough, she came out of the race well and it’s not normal to go quickly back like that, but she went up to York and I thought she ran a lovely race.
“The mother (Twyla Tharp) was by a stallion more known for his stamina, but Dansili seems to get them to go anything from a mile to a mile and a half, so hopefully that side of the family comes through and she gets the trip well.
“She’s a well-balanced filly but I think it can get rough, particularly if they are all trying to get a position down the hill.
“It can get pretty rough there and you just hope you get as smooth a trip as it possible in a race like that.”
William Haggas saddled Dancing Rain to take the glory 12 months ago and has a leading fancy this time in Vow, unbeaten winner of the Lingfield Oaks Trial.
“She’s got a chance in a very tight race. Aidan O’Brien has got a good team of three-year-olds and John Gosden’s filly, The Fugue, was impressive at York. She’s got it all to do, but we’re pleased to be there,” he told At The Races.
“She’s not done a lot since Lingfield, but she’s in good form.
“She had her final piece of work on Tuesday morning and we’ll see what happens.
“She’s quite deceptive, but her attitude is good and she’s more focused.
“Maureen (Haggas’ wife) is happier with her now than she was at Lingfield so that’s good for’me.
“Johnny (Murtagh) thought it was the crowd and the screen that made her run around, but there will be crowds either side on Friday, so she won’t know where to go so hopefully she will go in a straight line.”
Kailani bids to be Godolphin’s first winner of this prize since her dam Kazzia 10 years ago.
The Monsun filly has won both her starts but is still something of an unknown quantity.
“I don’t know how good she is,” said her trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.
“She won the Listed race by a long way when the ground was soft at Newmarket.
“I can definitely see an improvement in her home work and she has been doing everything nicely.
“We need to know how good she is, so we shall run her in the Oaks to find out.
“It looks a very good year but if you are not in, you can’t win.”
Ralph Beckett tasted Oaks success with Look Here in 2008 and has a lively outsider in Colima, who was second to Vow at Lingfield.
“I was delighted with her at Lingfield. It was a great shame the race wasn’t run on the turf,” he said.
“I think we would have learned more about her, but we’ve been happy with her work since and we go there with a bit of hope.
“She was held up off a slow pace and she was the only one who came off that slow pace. The first and third were up there throughout, so in that sense we did learn plenty about her and she learnt plenty about what is required.
“She was very inexperienced. At Nottingham in the autumn, she didn’t have to work hard to stretch clear of what wasn’t a great field.
“She is a well-balanced filly so I hope she will act around Epsom. Her work at the weekend was good and we are looking forward to running her.
“I think she has improved for her run. I wouldn’t be confident of bridging the gap on Vow; I’m not confident about anything, but we live in hope.
“She was a backward two-year-old, so to have achieved what she has is all positive. I hope she can be competitive.”
Hughie Morrison fields two in the Classic, with Shirocco Star and Coquet both amongst the outsiders.
Shirocco Star is a general 20-1 shot after finishing a narrow second in the Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial at Newbury, while Coquet is 25-1 despite winning the Listed Height of Fashion Stakes on her latest outing.
“Our view is that we will take our chances as there is only one Oaks. There are plenty of Ribblesdales and races like that which are lovely to win, but there is only one Oaks,” said Morrison.
“It would have been nice if Shirocco Star had won her trial but we were pleased with the performance. She’s got a fair amount of speed but you would have to say, on breeding, she should get the mile and a half.
“There might be a slight question mark about Coquet on that score, as some would argue her sire Sir Percy perhaps didn’t quite get the trip, while her dam was a mile-and-a-quarter winner.
“She has as much chance as any though.
“I would be disappointed if Coquet didn’t handle the track but she would not want it soft. We wouldn’t want a heavy shower before the race for either of them really.”
View the original article over at Sporting Life – Maybe Leads O’brien Oaks Squad”>Sporting Life