O'Brien's Marvellous Favorite for Epsom Oaks
Recent Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Marvellous is the pre-race favorite among 17 fillies entered for the Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) June 6.
The 1 1/2-mile race will to be run in memory of legendary trainer Sir Henry Cecil, who died of cancer last June. The event is the highlight on the opening day—Investec Ladies' Day—of the two-day Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs. Cecil won the Oaks eight times between 1985 and 2007.
A daughter of leading European sire Galileo, Marvellous is the 3-1 favorite with bookmarkers Coral, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival. She comes in off an impressive three-length triumph in the Irish One Thousand Guineas May 2 at the Curragh.
Aidan O'Brien, who trains Marvellous for Coolmore and partners, completed the Irish One Thousand Guineas-Investec Oaks double with Imagine in 2001. Trainer of four previous Oaks winners overall, he also will send out Derrinstown Stud One Thousand Guineas Trial (Ire-III) runner-up Palace (16-1), a daughter of Fastnet Rock who was sixth in the Irish Guineas, and Dazzling (40-1), also a daughter of Galileo who won a listed stakes at Navan in April.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum has two colorbearers in Tarfasha (7/1), a Teofilo filly who recorded a decisive 3 1/4-length length win for trainer Dermot Weld in the 1 1/4-mile Blue Wind Stakes (Ire-III) at Naas May 14, and unbeaten Taghrooda (7/2), a daughter of Sea The Stars who won the listed Pretty Polly Stakes May 4 at Newmarket for trainer John Gosden.
Godolphin is represented by the Shamardal filly Ihtimal, who won two classics in Dubai this season: the United Arab Emirates Oaks (UAE-II) and United Arab Emirates Guineas for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The Maktoum family's Godolphin enjoyed its first group I win when Balanchine won the 1994 Oaks.
Trainer Ralph Beckett, who last year sent out Oaks winner Talent and runner-up Secret Garden, has Doncaster maiden winner Regardez, a Champs Elysees filly whose dam is a half sister to his 2008 Oaks winner Look Here.
Also entered is Musidora Stakes (Eng-II) winner Madame Chiang ( 9/1, by Pivotal) and Lily Rules (40/1, by Aussie Rules ). The latter was supplemented at a cost of £30,000 ($50,216 in United States funds) as were Anipa (25/1, by Sea The Stars) and Honor Bound (25/1, by Authorized), who scored in listed trials at Chester and Lingfield Park, respectively, and Marsh Daisy (9/1) was also supplemented after a two-length victory in the listed Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood May 22.
The supplemental entries pushed the Oaks purse to a record £523,800 ($876,740).
Marsh Daisy was unraced at 2, but made fast progress this spring. She captured a competitive 10-furlong maiden race at Ascot May 9.
"Everything has gone well with Marsh Daisy," trainer Hugh Morrison said. "It's a big decision to supplement, but in reality if a horse has won a trial and is in good form, you take your chance.
"The owner (Sir Thomas Pilkington) felt that you don't get many chances to have a classic runner and I think it was the right decision to supplement.
"It's always a surprise when a filly progresses like she has because we haven't done a lot with her. The only serious work she has done has been on the racecourse," Morrison added. "I think it's an open race, but Marvellous has every right to be favorite because she looks as if she will stay. She's by Galileo from a wonderful family and I'm surprised she isn't 7/4."
Investec Epsom Oaks (Run in Memory of Sir Henry Cecil) (Eng-I), 3YO fillies, 1 1/2 miles, turf
No. PP. Horse, Jockey Trainer
1. 12. Amazing Maria, Frankie Dettori, Ed Dunlop
2. 16. Anipa, Andrea Atzeni, Roger Varian
3. 4. Dazzling, Seamus Heffernan, Aidan O'Brien
4. 15. Honor Bound, Jim Crowley, Ralph Beckett
5. 7. Ihtimal, Kieren Fallon, Saeed bin Suroor
6. 6. Inchila, Jamie Spencer, Peter Chapple-Hyam
7. 14. Island Remede, James Doyle, Ed Dunlop
8. 11. Lily Rules, Barry McHugh, Tony Coyle
9. 1. Madame Chiang, William Buick, David Simcock
10. 5. Marsh Daisy, Jimmy Fortune, Hugh Morrison
11. 2. Marvellous, Joseph O'Brien, Aidan O'Brien
12. 8. Momentus, Harry Bentley, David Simcock
13. 3. Palace, Ryan Moore, Aidan O'Brien
14. 13. Regardez, Richard Kingscote, Ralph Beckett
15. 9. Taghrooda, Paul Hanagan, John Gosden
16. 10. Tarfasha, Pat Smullen, Dermot Weld
17. 17. Volume, Richard Hughes, Luca Cumani
All runners to carry 126 pounds.
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