(Edited press release)
The 2009 renewal of the Investec Oaks (Eng-I) has attracted 10 starters at the final 48-hour declaration stage. Run over 1 1/2 miles at Epsom Downs on Investec Ladies Day June 5 and worth £350,000 (about $573,695), this year’s contest promises to be a high-class renewal.
Heading the declarations are last year’s champion juvenile filly Rainbow View, who is bidding to bounce back to form following a slightly disappointing fifth on her seasonal reappearance in the 1000 Guineas (Eng-I) at Newmarket last month, and Sariska, the impressive winner of York’s Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Eng-III).
Henry Cecil’s training record in the Investec Oaks is terrific with eight previous victories, most recently Light Shift’s emotional success in 2007. This year there is another strong contender from Warren Place in Midday, successful in the Listed Totesportcasino.com Oaks Trial at Lingfield last month. The daughter of Oasis Dream has already shown her aptitude for Epsom Downs, having finished runner-up to Investec Derby (Eng-I) contender Debussy in the Weatherbys Bank Blue Riband Trial Stakes April 22.
Two declarations hail from Ireland, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Perfect Truth and Oh Goodness Me from the Jim Bolger stable. Perfect Truth was successful in the Listed Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks on May 6, when she held on by a nose from the fast-finishing Phillipina and the duo are set to re-oppose June 5. Oh Goodness Me was third in the Boylesports.com Irish 1,000 Guineas (Ire-I) in her last start and will be aiming to give Bolger his second success in the Investec Oaks, following the shock 50-1 triumph of Jet Ski Lady in 1991.
Also set to go to post in the Investec Oaks are the Barry Hills-trained High Heeled, who got the better of several well-regarded colts on her seasonal debut at Newbury in April before finishing fourth behind Sariska at York and Wadaat, who has already gone close to Oaks glory when the nose second in the Italian equivalent May 24.
Tottie came third behind Midday at Lingfield and runs in the colors of last year’s winning owner Julian Richmond-Watson, while The Miniver Rose, trained by Richard Hannon, was runner-up last time out in a Listed contest at Newbury May 15.
The second group I highlight on Investec Ladies Day is the £242,750 Investec Coronation Cup, with a superb octet of older horses going to post.
Among those lining up for the June 5 contest are the 2008 Juddmonte Epsom Oaks winner Look Here, who will be making her seasonal reappearance, and the dual group I victor Youmzain, who finished runner-up last year behind Soldier Of Fortune and has been second twice in France’s top race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
Sir Michael Stoute, chasing a fifth Investec Coronation Cup victory, is represented by Ask who was an impressive victor on his seasonal reappearance in the Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup (Eng-II).
Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has won three of the past four renewals of the Investec Coronation Cup and is represented this year by the 2008 Irish Derby victor Frozen Fire, who finished runner-up to Buccellati last time out in the May 8 Betchronicle.com Ormonde Stakes (Eng-III) at Chester.
John Gosden is doubly represented with Lincoln Handicap winner Expresso Star and Duncan, who was supplemented at a cost of £20,000 having won both his starts this season in the Blue Square City and Suburban Stakes at Epsom Downs in April and a Listed contest at Ascot May 9.
Godolphin has enjoyed two previous successes in the Investec Coronation Cup and this time around run Eastern Anthem, successful last time out in the Dubai Sheema Classic sponsored by Nakheel (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba March 28.