18th May 2018

Fillies’ Classic Investec Oaks, Investec Ladies’ Day June 1 highlight at Epsom Downs, has 21 going forward

Friday, May 18, 2018 - The countdown to the Investec Derby Festival is entering the final furlong, with just a fortnight to go until the two-day spectacular gets underway.

There are 21 three-year-old fillies going forward for the premier fillies' Classic, the G1 Investec Oaks, the £500,000 highlight of Investec Ladies' Day at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 1, following the latest scratchings' deadline, details of which are revealed today.

At the head of the market for the 12-furlong Classic with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, is 9/4 chance Lah Ti Dar (John Gosden),

Owned and bred by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the Dubawi filly is out of three-time G1 heroine Dar Re Mi and unbeaten in two career starts.

Lah Ti Dar enjoyed a very impressive victory in the Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket on May 6, and was the impressive winner of a Newbury maiden over the same distance on April 20.

The Newmarket contest has proved a good trial for the Investec Oaks this century, with Ouija Board (2004), Talent (2013) and Taghrooda (2014) all having completed the double.

Gosden commented: "Lah Ti Dar is in great form and she has done everything right.

"We are going to pop down to Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom Downs on Tuesday with her, all being well, and have a little breeze around the track with Frankie Dettori on and see where we go from there."

The Investec Oaks has been won by Godolphin three times, most recently with Kazzia (2002) and going forward for the Maktoum family's operation is Wild Illusion (Charlie Appleby, 7/1 with Unibet), successful in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly on October 1, 2017.

The Dubawi filly was a staying-on fourth of 15 in the first British fillies' Classic, the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, over the straight mile at Newmarket on May 6.

Charlie Appleby, her trainer, remarked: "Wild Illusion has come out of the Guineas well and she has definitely come forward for that run.

"We have always said that we cannot wait to step her up in trip and we feel that is going to be her forte.

"Her dam is a staying mare and Wild Illusion has shown from last year all the indications that going up in trip is going to suit her.

"She has taken the Guineas well and we are looking forward to running in the Investec Oaks.

"She is a very straightforward filly - ever since day one. She has raced close to the pace in the past because we always felt she just wants a trip.

"Going the mile and a half, she is versatile and is not keen. I am sure William (Buick) will work out the pace on the day and decide where he needs to be in the race.

"She has raced twice at Chantilly, right-handed, and is yet to encounter a left-handed course, but I felt she handled the undulations very well at Newmarket - a far cry from Epsom of course, but even so we have seen plenty of horses caught out in the dip. She has passed that test well and I have not been drawn into thinking that I need to go to Epsom to have a spin around to get experience."

Aidan O'Brien has won the Investec Oaks on six occasions, most recently with Qualify in 2015.

The Ballydoyle maestro accounts for 11 of the 21 remaining entries, headed by Happily (8/1) successful in G1 company twice in 2017 and third in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas last time out.

Other leading contenders for the his team include Listed Cheshire Oaks first and second Magic Wand (11/1) and Forever Together (12/1), plus impressive G3 Blue Wind Stakes scorer Bye Bye Baby (12/1).

In addition to the Aidan O'Brien-trained battalion, there are two further Irish-trained fillies remaining.

The regally-bred Park Bloom (Jim Bolger, 50/1), from the family of Was (2012 Investec Oaks winner) and New Approach (2008 Investec Derby winner), is unraced, while Dermot Weld has left in Hazel Bay (33/1) who was second on her debut in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on April 22.

Newmarket handler William Haggas landed the Investec Oaks in 2011 with Dancing Rain and has two contenders in 2018. The pair are Give And Take (16/1), who triumphed in the G3 Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday, and the once-raced maiden Sea Of Class (50/1), who is a declared runner in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial at Newbury tomorrow.

Perfect Clarity (Clive Cox, 14/1) advertised her Epsom Downs credentials when taking the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield Park on May 12 in authoritative fashion and is set to head to Epsom Downs unbeaten, having won her only start at Nottingham last year. Like the 2017 Investec Oaks hero Enable, Perfect Clarity is a three-year-old daughter of Nathaniel.

It is the 40th anniversary of the first of Sir Michael Stoute's two Investec Oaks victories and the Newmarket handler could have unearthed a very useful filly in Sun Maiden (20/1). The Frankel half-sister to six-time G1 winner Midday created a very favourable impression when capturing a 10-furlong novice race by 12 lengths at Salisbury yesterday.

Fellow Newmarket handler David Simcock saddled his first Classic winner when Teppal was successful in the French 1,000 Guineas on May 13. He has two Investec Oaks contenders going forward in Mrs Sippy (50/1), not seen out since winning at Doncaster in October, and Ejtyah (33/1), third behind Give And Take in the Musidora Stakes.

The next acceptance stage for the Investec Oaks is on Saturday, May 26, when there is also a £30,000 supplementary entry stage.

The latest acceptors for the highlight of the Investec Derby Festival, the £1.5 million G1 Investec Derby on Saturday, June 2, will be revealed on Tuesday afternoon, May 22.

The Investec Oaks

Group 1, £500,000 total prize fund. 1m 4f, Epsom Downs, 4.30pm, Friday, June 1. For three-year-old fillies only. Horses will only be eligible to run provided they have attained a BHA rating of 80 or higher. Horses who do not qualify for a rating may also be eligible providing the BHA Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances up to and including May 25 merit a provisional assessment of 80 or more. Horses who have not run will not be eligible. Entries closed April 10, entries revealed April 11 (60 entries), scratchings deadline May 17 (21 remain), six-day confirmations & £30,000 supplementary stage May 26, final declarations 10am May 30.

Horse Owner Trainer
ATHENA (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
BALLET SHOES (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE
BROADWAY (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
BYE BYE BABY (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
EJTYAH Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah David Simcock
FLATTERING (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
FOREVER TOGETHER (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
GIVE AND TAKE Nicholas Jones William Haggas
HAPPILY (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
HAZEL BAY (IRE) Moyglare Stud Farms Ltd Dermot Weld IRE
I CAN FLY Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
LAH TI DAR Lord Lloyd-Webber John Gosden
MAGICAL (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
MAGIC WAND (IRE) Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Markus Jooste Aidan O'Brien IRE
MRS SIPPY (USA) St Albans Bloodstock Limited David Simcock
PARK BLOOM (IRE) Patricia Burns Jim Bolger IRE
PERFECT CLARITY Dr Bridget Drew & David J Keast Clive Cox
SEA OF CLASS (IRE) Sunderland Holding Inc William Haggas
SIZZLING (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE
SUN MAIDEN Khalid Abdullah Sir Michael Stoute
WILD ILLUSION Godolphin Charlie Appleby


21 fillies remain following May 17 scratchings deadline

13 Irish-trained