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Warwickshire Oaks success awaits Secret Gesture

Eleven fillies are set to battle it out for Listed success in the Warwickshire Oaks today and unfortunately for Warwick’s racecourse and its patrons, the race is being run at Nottingham! The majority of the field are not much better than handicappers in truth, but I suppose the plus-point for their chances is that these fillies’ events can often throw up a surprising result or two.


There might be a mini-shock with something lowly rated picking up a bit of black-type, but from a winning perspective, the race looks to be all about Ralph Beckett’s Secret Gesture. I’m not telling anyone anything that they don’t already know, as the 4-year-old is a short priced favourite at 5/4 and her chance isn’t being hidden away by the book.


However, some shorties can be overpriced and, personally, I’d make her an odds-on poke in this company. She is, after all, an Epsom Oaks runner-up who has run to a much higher level than this on a number of occasions and if the handicapper is correct in deeming her worthy of an official rating of 108, this is there for her taking, and hers alone – I believe that he’s correct.


She arrives here on the back of a cracking effort as well, as she finished second to subsequent Coronation Stakes third Ambivalent over this trip at York last month and had next time out Group 3 runner-up Odeliz a length behind. In the context of this, it’s rock-solid form and she did shape as if the run would bring her along a bit, although you wouldn’t really have expected to see Ralph Beckett sending her for a moderate Listed race next time. That’s exactly what he’s doing – in the hope of getting the filly an easier spin on the track – and the only worry I’d have here is that the ground may be a shade lively. However, there’s no reason why she can’t tolerate it quick and it’s doubtful that her best is needed to win anyway.


The Irish raider who represents Johnny Murtagh, We’ll Go Walking, is next up in the market at 9/2 and has 6lbs to find on official ratings. Her hopes seem to be pinned on the return to better ground bringing about some improvement and I’d agree that it could, but possibly even more so over 1m 4f. She may be lacking in the class department when compared to the favourite and I’d be more inclined to fancy Moment In Time’s credentials, if only it wasn’t for this being a 1m 2f event.


Simcock’s filly will improve for this better ground and, indeed, for her latest outing, but seems best over further and is being wound up for a crack at the Lancashire Oaks at her best trip next month. This run might be needed as well, even ignoring the trip issues, and that’s why I won’t give her anything more than place claims. Secret Gesture’s the one to beat and by a fair way too if my estimations are correct, so deeming her a bet at 5/4 is something that I’m happy enough to do. The best version of her would win this handily and hopefully will.


Selection for the Warwickshire Oaks (7:50 Nottingham):


Secret Gesture Silks Secret Gesture – 5/4, available with a few firms.


Post by James Boyle. Picture by Lajos-Eric Balogh.


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