Friday, June 6, 2014

Epsom Oaks 2014 - Maktoums in force

Friday's Oaks looks a wide-open affair with a host of live contenders having genuine aspirations to land the fillies' Classic. Out of the pack, I've selected on the following four, from which I believe the winner will come from.

Marvellous is the favourite after her impressive win in the Irish 1000 Guineas a fortnight ago. It will be her first foray beyond a mile and her pedigree seems to indicate that 10 furlongs would be her best distance. She's definitely classy but given her short rest from her last outing, I have huge reservations whether she can land the spoils in this deep field.

Ihtimal is the Godolphin representative that sparkled in Dubai by easily winning the UAE Oaks. She maintained her good form on her return to Britain by finishing a running-on third in the 1000 Guineas. She looks better suited to 10 furlongs but she seems to have the class to last the extra Classic distance. She's more one for the placings than the outright win.

I like Taghrooda's profile in this race. This daughter of Sea The Stars is unbeaten in 2 races and her pedigree seems to indicate that she will have enough stamina to last the distance. There are question marks about the form of her last win in the Pretty Polly Stakes in which she trounced her rivals by over 6 lengths, but there is no doubting that this is a high-class filly.

Tarfasha is the second representative for Hamdan Al Maktoum after Taghrooda. This Teofio filly was impressive on her last win in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas. The manner of her win suggests that stamina will not be problem at Epsom. I like the fact that she ran Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the main contenders for the Derby, to a neck on their debut last year. She should be at the finish.

It's hard to see this race getting out of reach of Hamdan Al Maktoum. With Tafasha and Taghrooda, he has two of the best fillies in the staying division. I will go for Taghrooda over Tarfasha but it will not be surprising if the order were reversed on race day. Ihtimal to come out 3rd will complete the sweep for the Maktoums.

Oaks 1-2-3: Taghrooda, Tarfasha, Ihtimal

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