epsom oaks 2011/
Beckett Trio Warming Up for Investec Oaks Trials
Ralph Beckett is hoping that one of a trio of promising fillies in his stable can emulate his 2008 Investec Oaks heroine Look Here with victory in the fillies’ Classic at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 3.
The £325,000 Investec Oaks is one of three fantastic Group One races staged over a mile and a half at the two-day Investec Derby Festival; the others being the £250,000 Investec Coronation Cup, also on Friday, and the event highlight, the £1.25 million Investec Derby on Saturday, June 4.
Beckett’s potential Investec Oaks team is made up of Charleston Lady, Encore Une Annee and Miss Diagnosis who, like Look Here, runs in the colours of owner/breeder Julian Richmond-Watson.
Ouija BoardCharleston Lady is set to make her seasonal reappearance in the 10-furlong Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday, May 1, having won a mile maiden on the latest of her two career starts at Kempton, back in October.
Oaks winner in 2004
The most recent filly to win the Pretty Polly Stakes en route to Investec Oaks success was Lord Derby’s brilliant Ouija Board in 2004.
Beckett, based in Hampshire, revealed today: “The Pretty Polly is the plan for Charleston Lady and we will then consider the Oaks. I am pretty sure that a mile and a quarter is within her compass but I am not sure about further - we will see. She is by Hurricane Run so she should get all of it and further but there is plenty of speed down below.
“She is in good nick and I think the Pretty Polly is the right race to start her off.”
The Kirsten Rausing homebred Encore Une Annee is yet to finish out of the frame, having raced three times last autumn. The Hernando filly closed out her juvenile campaign with an easy mile maiden win as an odds-on favourite at Southwell in November.
Miss Diagnosis is yet to score but shaped with promise in two starts last term, finishing fourth in a Sandown maiden in September and then second in a heavy ground Nottingham mile maiden in November.
Beckett continued: “Encore Une Annee will probably go to Chester for the Cheshire Oaks (May 4) and we will see how she gets on there. She will get a mile and a half, no problem.
“Depending on what happens with the other two, Miss Diagnosis is likely to go to Newbury for the Oaks trial (Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes - May 13) and we will then work out what we do with the fillies from there.
“Miss Diagnosis’ second dam, High And Low won a Cheshire Oaks and was second in a St Leger, so you would think she will stay.
“All three fillies have been pleasing me and we will just see how things work out.”
Sir Michael Stoute won the Investec Oaks in 1978 with Fair Salinia and in 1987 with Unite. The Newmarket trainer is responsible for Havant, currently the market leader with bookmakers after winning both of her starts to date, most recently an impressive victory in the Group Three Sakhee Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket in October.
She is one of many potential Investec Oaks contenders set to line up in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday, May 1.
Runner-up in the Oh So Sharp Stakes was the Aidan O’Brien-trained Look At Me. That filly’s stable mate Misty For Me landed a Group One brace last term in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Prix Marcel Boussac.
Godolphin’s main hopes at this stage appear to be Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile heroine White Moonstone and Group Two UAE Derby winner Khawlah, both trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and Zoowraa from the yard of Mahmood Al Zarooni.
Henry Cecil is in search of a ninth Investec Oaks success and the Warren Place handler sent out the Khalid Abdulla-owned Arizona Jewel to win a 10-furlong Sandown maiden on April 24, on only her second career start.
EPSOM DOWNS CLASSIC COUNTDOWN GATHERS PACE AT NEWMARKET THIS WEEKEND
The QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket this weekend feature the season’s first two Classics, both of which provide vital clues to the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks.
Staged over a mile, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas for fillies is a pointer to the Investec Oaks, while the QIPCO 2000 Guineas for colts and fillies is an informative guide to the Investec Derby.
Sea The Stars collected both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby in 2009 and the Henry Cecil-trained Frankel is currently favourite with bookmakers to emulate that feat.
Other leading contenders with QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby aspirations are the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Casamento, the Ed Dunlop-trained Native Khan and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Roderic O’Connor.