Banking On The Oaks

The Investec Oaks boasts increased prize money of £450,000

Investec day fashion_compressedAnte-post favourite Found headlines 59 entries for the premier British Classic for fillies, the Investec Oaks, at Epsom Downs on Investec Ladies’ Day, Friday, June 5.

The three-year-old daughter of Galileo ended last season with a decisive victory in the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in October and is the 4/1 market leader with Coral, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.

The Investec Oaks has increased prize money of £450,000, £25,000 more than in 2014, and is run at 4.30pm over the same mile and a half course at Epsom Downs as the Investec Derby which is staged 24 hours later on Saturday, June 6.

The Classic closed for entries six weeks later than usual because of the desire by Epsom Downs Racecourse to give owners and trainers extra time to consider the potential of their three-year-old fillies.

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs, commented today: “We are delighted with the entries for the Investec Oaks, both in terms of quality and quantity.

“The later closing date meant that the number of entries was bound to drop. We had 75 entries last year and I was hoping for between 50 and 60 this time so to get 59 is very pleasing.

“What we have received is a more realistic list of potential Investec Oaks runners and include five fillies from France. Part of the reason for the later closing date was to encourage more French entries and we hope this results in a French runner or two on June 5.”

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O’Brien – 11 entries

Found’s trainer Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s champion, has 11 contenders in total for the 2015 Investec Oaks and is seeking a fifth success in the 12-furlong Classic, following on from Was (2012), Alexandrova (2006), Imagine (2001) and Shahtoush (1998).

Found is joined by Group One Fillies’ Mile heroine Together Forever (14/1), impressive Group Three winner Qualify and Words (16/1), who has not run since overhauling subsequent Group Two scorer Raydara (Mick Halford IRE) on her debut at Leopardstown in June.

Other notables among the 20 Irish-trained entries include Agnes Stewart (25/1, Edward Lynam) and Jack Naylor (Jessica Harrington), who were both placed in Group One contests last term, plus eye-catching Leopardstown maiden scorers Pleascach (20/1, Jim Bolger) and Queen Nerfertiti (20/1, David Wachman).

France has five possible representatives, headed by the Andre Fabre-trained Al Naamah (16/1), who is a full-sister to 2012 winner Was and was sold to owner Al Shaqab Racing for five million guineas as a yearling.

investec-oaks-trophyAlain de Royer-Dupre has put in the Aga Khan-owned pair of Vadariya and Vedouma, plus the unraced Parade Music, while Mikel Delzangles is contemplating a first runner in the Classic with Little Nightingale.

The daughter of Muhtathir, who is owned by the Wildenstein family, was second on her debut at Saint-Cloud in September and returned this year with an impressive four-length success in a 10-furlong maiden at Maisons-Laffitte on April 2.

Delzangles, who sent out Makfi to land the 2010 QIPCO 2000 Guineas, said: “Little Nightingale has come out of Maisons-Laffitte very well.

“It was a good performance because she beat a nice German filly very easily. We thought she was a good filly anyway because she had been working very well going into that race.

“Little Nightingale will run once more and then we will decide if she goes for the Oaks or to Chantilly for the Prix de Diane (June 14).

epsom-press-release-image“The trials are the Prix Cleopatre (May 13) going left-handed at Saint-Cloud, which could be a good prep race for Epsom, or the Prix Vanteaux (May 3) and Prix Saint-Alary (May 24) at Longchamp.

“The Oaks is mile and half, which shouldn’t be a problem for her, whereas the Prix de Diane is a bit shorter.

“She won very well over a mile and quarter on very soft ground, so she should be OK in the Prix de Diane as well, but we will see what else is lining up in both races and how the filly is before making a decision.”

Little Nightingale is a 33/1 chance with Coral.

Doncaster maiden winner Star Of Seville is the shortest-priced British-trained entry at 12/1 and one of seven possible runners for Newmarket trainer John Gosden, who landed the Investec Oaks spoils with Taghrooda in 2014. His septet also includes debut winners Jellicle Bell (14/1) and Lady Correspondent.

Dual Investec Oaks-winning trainer Ralph Beckett has engaged Forte, a full-sister to his 2013 winner Talent, and Bellajeu, while Clive Cox has entered easy Haydock Park scorer Loaves And Fishes (25/1).

Other notables include Beautiful Romance (Saeed bin Suroor) who runs today at Newmarket, Crystal Zvezda (25/1, Sir Michael Stoute) and Malabar (Mick Channon).

There is a scratching stage for the Investec Oaks on May 19, with the six-day confirmation stage and £30,000 supplementary entry stage on May 30.

Investec Oaks – Coral, official betting partner, bets: 4 Found, 12 Star Of Seville, 14 Jellicle Ball, Together Forever, 16 Al Naamah, Words, 20 Pleascach, Queen Nefertiti, 25 Agnes Stewart, Crystal Zvezda, Loaves And Fishes, 33 bar

Entries for the £375,000 Group One Investec Coronation Cup, for older horses, which is run on day two of the Investec Derby Festival, Saturday, June 6, will be revealed tomorrow.

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