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Ante-Post Value – The Investec Oaks

It’s less than two weeks until Derby & Oaks weekend at Epsom and I’m going to kick things off by trying to make sense of the fillies’ event. John Gosden’s Taghrooda currently leads the way as the most likely winner according to the betting, with the Sea The Stars filly generally available at 9/4.


She has done nothing wrong in her two-race career to date, winning both starts and predictably improving for a step up in trip when running away with a Listed race over 1m 2f at Newmarket earlier this month. Luckily for her she routed the field, as the form hasn’t amounted to anything since and, for the most part, you could say the same about her maiden race form as well.


The biggest positive with her is that she’ll get every inch of this 1m 4f test, should she prove to be as good as her visual impressions would suggest, and I couldn’t run down her chance too much.


However, she’ll be facing a few who will improve for a leap up in trip and at the current odds, there’s no way that I can fancy making her a bet. She’s simply too short in the betting and if there’s rain about, thus ensuring soft ground on the day, we’ve no idea how she’ll react to that as of yet.


Marvellous, as big as 25/1 before winning the Irish 1000 Guineas on Sunday, shades second-favouritism at a best-priced 11/2 and the Coolmore filly looks set to make a quick reappearance.


Being by Galileo, along with her run-style, you could be hopeful that she’ll get this trip, but the dam side of her pedigree is nippy (dam won the Cherry Hinton as a juvenile) and I’m not entirely convinced that she’ll show the same level of form over a half-mile further than that Guineas success. As such, I can’t be enticed by her price either. It’s not mind-blowing!


I don’t think that Godolpin’s Ihtimal will stay and her pedigree backs that up somewhat. You never really know for certain until they’ve tried it, but she’s far from lacking in speed and even in a properly run 1m 2f test, I’d have my doubts, left alone over a couple of furlongs further. She’d have to be a double-figured price before I’d be half-tempted, which I’m not.


My British Guineas pick, Bracelet, is interesting to a point if lining up. She flopped badly at HQ but will improve over a longer trip and possibly back on ground with a bit more ease in it. There are a few too many question marks, however, and I’m going to give the nod to Dermot Weld’s Teofilo filly, Tarfasha (6/1). She probably isn’t the classiest of this lot but is at least nicely bred (closely related to Galileo Rock), has enough experience under her belt for such a test and is nailed-on to appreciate a step up in trip (may get further yet in time).


She’s arriving here on the back of a career-best by some way when making her 3yo reappearance in a Nass Group 3 and it was no surprise to see her put in such an improved performance upped in trip from 7f to 1m 2f. The scope to improve even further at 1m 4f is definitely there and she seems tactically versatile to boot, which may come in handy around Epsom depending on how the early pace is. In a race where I’ve got my doubts about plenty, she looks the most “solid” and 6/1 about her isn’t a bad price. She’ll go well at worst.


Selection for the Investec Oaks (4:00 Epsom; Friday, 6th June):


Tarfasha Silks Tarfasha – 6/1, available generally.


Post by James Boyle.

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