(Edited press release)
The Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I), first run at Epsom Downs in 1779, takes place at the historic Surrey venue June 1, and promises plenty after receiving 73 entries.
There are 15 Irish-trained fillies entered in the 12-furlong Classic, worth £375,000 (about $734,387), alongside one from France.
Henry Cecil, the most successful trainer in the modern history of the Vodafone Oaks, could bid for a remarkable eighth victory in the Epsom classic, as he has made four entries.
The master of Warren Place has not tasted Oaks success since Love Divine captured the race in 2000, but his quartet is headed by Passage Of Time, winner of three of four starts, including the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) over 10 furlongs in November, where she beat several well-regarded colts.
Light Shift, from the family of Cecil’s group I-winning mare Shiva, landed a mile Newmarket maiden on her third start and looks the sort to progress at 3, while maidens Brisk Breeze and Elounda are also entered.
Aidan O’Brien is the trainer with the greatest numerical representation, as he has seven fillies engaged, including several with clear Classic pedigrees.
The unraced Sadler’s Wells filly All My Loving is a sister to Quarter Moon and Yesterday, runners-up in the Oaks in 2002 and 2003 respectively, while Cherry Hinton is out of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (FR-I) winner Urban Sea, and is thus a half-sister to 2001 Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) hero Galileo, group I victor Black Sam Bellamy, and Oaks-placed fillies Melikah and All Too Beautiful.
The Ballydoyle trainer has landed the Vodafone Oaks three times, most recently with Alexandrova in 2006, and his contingent also includes Diamond Necklace, Rosetta Stone, and Uimhir A Haon.
Saeed bin Suroor has saddled two Vodafone Oaks winners for Godolphin in Moonshell (1995) and Kazzia (2002), and he has three entries, headed by easy Newmarket maiden winner Measured Tempo.
The Godophin trio also includes the unraced Salsa Verdi and Midsummer Fun.
Clive Brittain enjoyed Oaks success with the exceptional User Friendly in 1992 and he has group I-placed Darrfonah and listed-placed Guarantia nominated this year.
Short Skirt finished third in last year's Oaks for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, and that filly’s full sister Shorthand could bid to go a couple of places better as the winner of a Nottingham maiden in her first start.
Stoute’s contingent also incorporates Dance Of Light and Eternal Path, as well as Goffs Fillies Five Hundred third Cliche.
Eswarah gave Michael Jarvis a taste of Vodafone Oaks success in 2005, and the Newmarket handler has six entered, including Fragrancy and Silkwood, both Polytrack maiden winners, and the winning Sinndar filly Sunlight.
Ed Dunlop took the Oaks with Ouija Board in 2004, and his pair consists of Lingfield maiden winners Dalvina and Pairumani Princess, while Jim Bolger, who captured the prize with Jet Ski Lady in 1991 has entered the Galileo filly Luminous One and Christina’s Letter.
The French-trained entry is the Aga Khan-owned Khazaria, conditioned by Alain de Royer-Dupre. The Aga Khan also has the John Oxx-trained Timarwa, out of the multiple group I-winning mare Timarida, along with maiden winners Hasanka and Four Sins.
There is a supplementary entry stage for the Oaks May 26, costing £20,000.
The Oaks is run on the first day of the Vodafone Derby Festival June 1, which is Vodafone Ladies Day.