Today’s Info, Oaks Day at Epsom
Looking forward to a class day of racing from Epsom and with the likely good ground in play for the afternoon then some opportunities to trust a bit of form and take a view. The track has its difficulties and some act better here than others but it’s the perfect test for the best horses with the need for pace, stamina and balance whilst the jockeys also need to have the brain in order to excel.
The opener is not the strongest renewal of the race and last years winner Thistle Bird wasn’t inspiring confidence with a rather tame effort on first run back this term and still going without the hood that seems to work well on her in the past I’m happy to take her on for a wager. It can be narrowed down to Just The Judge, Mango Diva and Zurigha in my opinion and the latter is the call at the odds. Given she lost a shoe and was quickly given an easy time of it at Newmarket the price is an overeaction to one bad run on what was a progressive spell before it. I liked her effort beating Ribbons with a bit up her sleeve and the comments afterwards were suggesting she was plenty rusty that day bodes well for more to come now the sun has been out a bit. I can see Just The Judge being competitive without looking any value at the odds and similar thoughts about Mango Diva, they will go in the forecast plays.
I was impressed enough with Farraaj at Newmarket last time out despite not handling the middle part of the race at all well. Roger Varian’s gelding still got organised again and stayed on nicely in a good race to be of interest in the second race on the card. Andrea Atzeni is back to ride and the trip and ground, providing the rain holds off, will be perfect. I’m not sure about most of the rivals being in decent enough form and barring Air Pilot and Soviet Rock I think Farraaj will take a bit of beating with a decent passage through the race.
If I could get a point or so bigger for Gregorian I would chance Gosden’s five year old to repeat the victory of twelve months ago in the Diomed but at 5/2 I’m happy to watch the race which is trappy enough and the old boys Penitent and Highland Knight would be well capable of playing a role at decent odds.
I like Velox in the next for Cumani having been brought along slowly enough and returning to a mile now with a prep run under his belt. Lightly raced and should get a solid pace to aim at here I can see a good bit of improvement due on the day the owner also has one go in the Oaks. Abseil is obviously one to beat but is prohibitively priced and I think Velox represents a bit of value at double figures although if the rain came I’d be a little concerned. Angelic Upstart and Fury were others I considered in a difficult heat.
The Oaks market was shaken up by the performance of Marvellous at the Curragh but this comes plenty quick after that run and if you are not on at bigger prices I would be rushing to join the queue to back her at 7/2 now, for all that she does look an obvious winner. The race is plenty ripe for a big priced winner as in previous years and we may get one to surprise us again, however I haven’t seen a performance like Taghrooda put up at Newmarket being replicated anywhere and she looks solid enough for a small bet. With the short space between Marvellous running at the Curragh and coming here I do think she is vunarable and I make Taghrooda fav for the race with no issues on stamina, pace or class. The 4/1 is fair and she might go off fav.
I look forward to seeing That Is The Spirit in the next without betting on the race, the even money shot is too short for me of course but a decent type and hopefully wins. If we are still looking for a winner by the last then it might come from Nakuti who has run better than the placings suggest the last two starts and Jamie Spencer is the right man for the ride. I have got the impression that a bit better ground, a decent pace to aim at with a waiting ride and some cover will do the trick and I expect that to happen here. From the draw it will probably be exaggerated hold up tactics but we will see and of course Spencer enjoys that kind of challenge. If I am wrong and she leads all the way under a tick tock ride giving Slyvester Kirk a second win in the race in four years I’ll take it on the chin.
Best of luck and hopefully we get a little with these….
1.35 Zurigha 0.75pt Win – 8/1 Victors, Powers, Sky and Boyles
2.10 Faraaj 0.75pt e/w – 8/1 with most firms, 3 places and 1/4 odds
3.20 Velox 0.75pt Win – 10/1 with most firms, 11s in places
4.00 Taghrooda 0.75pt Win – 4/1 General
5.20 Nakuti 0.75pt e/w – 10/1 with most firms, 3 places and 1/4 odds
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