Hi Dubai Among 21 Remaining in Vodafone Oaks
Updated: Thursday, May 22, 2003 1:16 PM
Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003 1:16 PM
All the leading contenders for the 2003 Vodafone Oaks remain in the June 6 classic after the final forfeit stage on May 22.
Godolphin looks to have a particularly strong hand in the £375,000 race over 12 furlongs. The Maktoum family's operation will be aiming for a fourth Oaks success following Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995) and Kazzia (2002).
This year the main Godolphin hope is Hi Dubai, who was second in the Group One Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp on Sunday and earlier this season won the Listed R L Davison Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket. She could be joined by stable companions Mezzo Soprano, runner-up in Wednesday's Listed Caffreys Lupe Stakes at Goodwood; Gonfilia, and Lady Catherine, second in the Italian Oaks on Sunday.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien has two Vodafone Oaks victories to his name -Shahtoush (1998) and Imagine (2001) - and the Irish handler has a couple of entries still engaged. His main hope is Yesterday, a full-sister to last year's runner-up Quarter Moon, who is currently disputing favouritism with Hi Dubai. Yesterday was a Listed winner last season and ran a good trial for Epsom when eighth in the Sagitta 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last time out. O'Brien's other hope is L'Ancresse, runner-up in the Irish 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown before finishing 15th in the Sagitta 1000 Guineas.
The next confirmation stage for the Vodafone Oaks is at the five-day stage on May 31, when there is also a £20,000 supplementary entry stage at which Hammiya is set to be added to the field.
The Vodafone Derby, Vodafone Oaks and Vodafone Coronation Cup form part of the first leg of the British Horseracing Board's new Summer Triple Crown and Grand Slam Series which offers a bonus of £5 million.
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