Epsom Oaks - Friday 3rd June 2011 

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Blue Bunting Leads 13 for Investec Oaks

A total of 13 fillies remain in the Group One Investec Oaks following today’s final declaration stage for the mile and a half Classic, highlight of Investec Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 3.

Blue Bunting
© Racehorse Photos

Blue Bunting

Godolphin’s Blue Bunting heads the market at 2/1 with William Hill, the official betting partner to the Investec Derby Festival. The daughter of Dynaformer gave trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni a first British Classic in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on May 1 and is set to try and become the first filly to annexe the Newmarket Classic and the Investec Oaks since Kazzia, who also carried the same royal famous blue silks to victory in both races nine years ago.

Aidan O’Brien is also no stranger to Classic glory and Ireland’s champion trainer has six fillies going forward as he aims for a fourth Investec Oaks success following the victories of Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001) and Alexandrova (2006).

Wonder Of Wonders, whose dam All Too Beautiful was runner-up to Ouija Board in the 2004 Investec Oaks, heads to Epsom on the back of an impressive win in the Group Three Cheshire Oaks, while Misty For Me could bid for a quick-fire Classic double after registering a third Group One success in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 22. O’Brien is also represented by Why and Eirnin.

Zain Al Boldan remains unbeaten in three starts for her trainer Mick Channon and the Jaber Abdullah-owned filly announced herself as a serious contender for the Investec Oaks when routing her rivals with a six-length victory in the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield on May 7.

The daughter of Poliglote had previously taken a Folkestone handicap by a head on her seasonal return on April 12 and made a winning debut at Brighton in August, with Sam Hitchcott in the saddle on all occasions.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Abdullah, commented this afternoon: “Everything is on song with Zain Al Boldan and we are hoping that she can run well in the Investec Oaks.

“She gets the trip very well and we imagine that she will act on the course because she has had no problems with Brighton, Folkestone and Lingfield, which can all be demanding tracks.

“There was obviously a great deal of improvement when she won the Oaks Trial and we are hopeful that she can improve once again at Epsom.

© Racehorse Photos


“I thought that she had a good chance at Lingfield because it didn’t look the strongest race on paper but the manner of her win was very impressive. She looked the winner coming down the hill and the way that she sprinted clear thrilled us.

“She is very easy to train and we are hopeful that she can make the first three in the Investec Oaks. I wouldn’t think that Frankie Dettori would be too frightened of us on Blue Bunting, but these big Classics can often spring surprises with the placed horses.”

Other notable contenders include the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Havant, who stayed on to finish sixth behind Blue Bunting at Newmarket and was an easy winner of a Group Three at the same course on her final juvenile appearance.

Fork Handles
© Racehorse Photos

Fork Handles
Beatrice Aurore, owned by former ABBA member Benny Andersson and trained by John Dunlop, booked her ticket to Epsom with a ready success in the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on May 18 - a race won 12 months ago by subsequent Investec Oaks heroine Snow Fairy.

Izzi Top and Dancing Rain fought out a thrilling finish to the Listed Fillies’ Trial at Newbury on May 13 and the pair could re-oppose at Epsom Downs for their respective trainers John Gosden and William Haggas.

Co Kildare handler Jessica Harrington may bid for a first Classic success to add to her seven Cheltenham Festival victories with Navan Listed scorer Siren’s Song while Ralph Beckett, successful in the Investec Oaks with Look Here in 2008, could be represented by Charleston Lady (50/1).

The Barry Hills-trained Blaise Chorus and Zain Al Boldan’s stable companion Fork Handles complete those going forward.




Class 1, Group 1, £325,000 Total Prize Fund. 4.05pm, Epsom Downs, Friday, June 3, 2011. For three-year-old fillies only. One mile, four furlongs and 10 yards. Weights: 9st each. Entries closed March 15, entries revealed March 17 (93 entries). Scratchings deadline noon, May 19, 2011 (25 remained). £20,000 supplementary entry stage and six-day confirmation stage May 28 (16 confirmations), final declaration stage 10.00am, June 1. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and include the racing up to and including Friday, May 27. May not include some overseas form.

Form Horse Owner Trainer

01-511 BEATRICE AURORE (IRE) Benny Andersson John Dunlop

(2)(3)2 BLAISE CHORUS (IRE) John Deer Barry Hills

211-1 BLUE BUNTING (USA) Godolphin Mahmood Al Zarooni

2-12 DANCING RAIN (IRE) M & L Taylor William Haggas

001-00 EIRNIN (IRE) Annemarie O'Brien Aidan O'Brien IRE

14034-3 FORK HANDLES Dr Marwan Koukash Mick Channon

11-6 HAVANT James & Anita Wigan Sir Michael Stoute

2-131 IZZI TOP Helena Springfield Ltd John Gosden

01211-01 MISTY FOR ME (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE

21 SIREN'S SONG (IRE) Juliet Cooper Jessica Harrington IRE

4410-60 WHY (IRE) Magnier/Tabor/Smith/Niarchos Family Aidan O'Brien IRE

2-011 WONDER OF WONDERS (USA) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE

1-11 ZAIN AL BOLDAN Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon

13 final confirmations

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