Andrew Cooper, group racing manager at United Racecourses, said: "We are delighted with the three-figure entry for the Vodafone Oaks and, following last week's publication of the 149 Vodafone Derby entries, we can really begin to focus on Britain's two premier Classics."
Trainer Aidan O'Brien leads the way in the 2001 Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) with 10 of the 101 entries -- up five on last year's total of 96 -- it was announced March 14. The £325,000 Vodafone Oaks will be run June 8 at Epsom.O'Brien, Ireland's leading trainer, who won the fillies' Classic in 1998 with Shahtoush, is followed by Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor -- successful with Moonshell in 1995 -- with nine entries.O'Brien's team includes the group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Sequoyah, Gowran Park maiden winner Fantasy Royale, and the group 3 scorer Imagine, who is a half-sister to 1991 Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) victor Generous.Godolphin's entries include Blixen and Enrich, winner of Irish maidens for trainer John Oxx last year. Moonlight Sail, who scored at Chantilly in July; Muwakleh, who made a winning debut at Nad Al Sheba on Feb.22; and Tempting Fate, winner of a Salisbury conditions event for John Hills, are among the Godolphin fillies nominated.Neither O'Brien nor Bin Suroor can match the incredible record of 10-time champion trainer Henry Cecil, who has won the Vodafone Oaks seven times, including four of the last five year. Cecil has five entries this year including Lyrical, an unraced half-sister to last year's winner Love Divine; the ante-post favorite Autumn Rhythm, winner of her only race last season; and Fully Invested, who has also won her sole start.Those that have already scored at the highest level include the Group 1 Fillies' Mile (Eng-I) winner Crystal Music, who is trained for Andrew Lloyd-Webber by John Gosden.There are 18 Irish-trained entries and, apart from the O'Brien team, these include the Jim Bolger-trained Siringas, 13-length winner of a Gowran Park maiden on her only start. There are 13 entries from across the English Channel, among them Bellona, trained by Freddie Head; plus Matanilla and Welimina from the stable of Head's sister Criquette. All three won their only start at Saint-Cloud in 2000.The Queen has not won a classic since Dunfermline landed the 1977 Oaks and St. Leger (Eng-I) but she looks to have possibly her best chance since then with Flight of Fancy, one of six Sir Michael Stoute-trained entries. The Sadler's Wells filly won a Salisbury maiden by six lengths in August.