Aidan O’Brien Set for Another British Classic Win in English Oaks
Aidan O’Brien has won every British classic so far this season and on Friday afternoon he looks to add the English Oaks at Epsom to his ever growing impressive list. O’Brien took both the 1000 & 2000 Guineas in England, before doing the same double in Ireland recently. He heads into the English Oaks with three of the ten runners, including the favourite for the race Rhododendron.
Ryan Moore will ride Rhododendron and this son of Galileo looks set to relish the step up in trip to 1M4F. She came second in the English 1000 Guineas over 1 mile which looking back was probably too short for her and she is expected to be shown in a much better light over half a mile further. The form of the 1000 Guineas has been franked with Winter completing the English/Irish 1000 Guineas double.
Alluringly is O’Brien’s second string in the race and she comes into the race on the back of a second place finish at Chester. That day she finished behind Enable, a horse she takes on again and she will have to improve considerably to get the better of Enable this time around.
Enable looks to be the main challenger to Rhododendron, she is trained by John Gosden and will be ridden by Italian Frankie Dettori. Her win at Chester was impressive and with only three runs in her career so far, she looks to be still improving and it will be fascinating to see how much she has come on since her last run.
She is by Nathaniel and out of a Saddlers Wells mare so this extra distance will really suit her and to me she is the most interesting horse in the race going forward as she could still be anything.
The final horse to look at is Sobetsu who will represent the Godolphin team, she is trained by Charlie Appleby and will be ridden by William Buick. She only managed a distant 5th behind Rhododendron in her final start as a two year old last season but on her only start this season she won the Group One Saint-Alary in France showing much improved form. Her form is harder to compare than most but she is an interesting runner and has to be respected after winning a Group One this season.
The Epsom Oaks and Derby meeting is always fascinating and this year’s Oaks is full of potential superstar fillies as you would expect. Aidan O’Brien has a 100% record in the British classics this year and heads into the Oaks with the favourite so he could finish the day with five classics in the bag.
Competition is tough however, with plenty of unexposed improving fillies lining up trying to win what is a very important race not just now, but for the future. An Oaks winner has the potential to be a breeding superstar and the owners involved will be looking to pick up a good result so they can enhance their fillies value when the time comes to retire.
Craig Jones covers horse racing around the world for Knightsbridge Bloodstock.
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