30th April 2015

First Classics of season set to provide important clues for Epsom Downs

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - The Flat season steps up a gear this weekend with Newmarket's QIPCO Guineas Festival set to showcase several leading contenders for the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks.


The Group One QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Saturday, May 2, has proven to be the leading pointer to success in the Investec Derby in recent years with Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012) having annexed both Classics. Sir Percy (2006), New Approach (2008) and Australia (2014) were also placed in the mile contest before going on to glory at Epsom Downs.


Eight horses are currently engaged in the Newmarket and Epsom Downs Classics including the unbeaten Ol' Man River (Aidan O'Brien IRE), who is 6/1 joint-favourite for the Investec Derby with Coral, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.


Group One winners Elm Park (Andrew Balding) and Gleneagles (Aidan O'Brien IRE) could also line up in both races along with Intilaaq (Roger Varian), Moheet (Richard Hannon), Nafaqa (Barry Hills), Highland Reel (Aidan O'Brien IRE) and Room Key (Eve Johnson Houghton).


Aloft (Aidan O'Brien IRE), runner-up to Elm Park in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October, could also bid to enhance his Derby credentials in the Listed Harbour Watch Newmarket Stakes on the same card. Seven of the 12 entries in the 10-furlong contest remain engaged in the Investec Derby including Best Of Times (Saeed bin Suroor) and Balios (David Simcock).


Day two of the QIPCO Guineas Festival, Sunday, May 3, features the Group One QIPCO 1000 Guineas, which could feature nine Investec Oaks contenders including Found (Aidan O'Brien IRE), who is Coral's 4/1 favourite for the Epsom Downs Classic. O'Brien may also be represented in the mile Classic by Group One Dubai Fillies' Mile heroine Together Forever and Qualify.


Jellicle Ball (John Gosden) features highly in the betting for Newmarket and Epsom Downs, while Local Time (Saeed Bin Suroor), Irish Rookie (Martyn Meade), Malabar (Mick Channon) and the David Wachman pair of Legatissimo and Queen Nefertiti also hold engagements in both Classics. A total of 47 fillies have won the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and the Investec Oaks, most recently Kazzia in 2002.


Sunday's card also includes the Listed Tweenhills Stallions Pretty Polly Stakes over a mile and a quarter. Talent (2013) and Taghrooda (2014) went on to win the Investec Oaks after scoring in the Newmarket race and 13 of the 16 entries in this year's renewal also have aspirations of running at Epsom Downs.


Loaves And Fishes made an exciting debut for Clive Cox with an impressive victory in a mile maiden at Haydock Park in September. The daughter of Oasis Dream, a 25/1 chance for the Investec Oaks with Coral, is out of Miracle Seeker, who won the 2008 Lingfield Oaks Trial before coming home 11th behind Look Here in the Investec Oaks.


Cox reported: "Loaves And Fishes has been entered in the Pretty Polly Stakes, a 10-furlong handicap on the same card and she will also be given an entry in the Cheshire Oaks next week.


"We are feeling our way with her at the moment but she is pleasing me enough that she is going the right way. 


"She won her maiden very impressively at Haydock. Obviously, with a rating of 75, she has a bit to find in Listed company but we are very happy with the way she has progressed over the winter, hence the reason she has entries in this direction.


"Her mother Miracle Seeker beat Look Here in the Lingfield Oaks Trial and stayed very well. She ran a decent race in the Oaks itself and is from a family where most of them do genuinely stay."


Dubai Fillies' Mile sixth Forte (Ralph Beckett) is a full-sister to Talent, while Jazzi Top (John Gosden) and Zannda (Dermot Weld IRE) have both made winning starts to their three-year-old campaigns.