epsom derby festival 2012/
Kissed Shortened for Oaks after Impressive Trial Win at Navan
As widely anticipated, the Aidan O’Brien trained Kissed, the daughter of Galileo and half sister to Pour Moi, duly landed the odds in the Listed Salsabil Stakes, a recognised Oaks Trial on very soft ground over 1m2f at Navan on Sunday.
Her very impressive and emphatic 8½ length victory immediately had Bookmakers running for cover, cutting the pre-race 16/1 in to a general 5/1 to win the Epsom Oaks in June.
Her two wins have both come on soft ground but it is clear that she would be even better on good ground. She took up the running from the start and stayed there putting her rivals in trouble when they were two furlongs from home. She showed her class by being able to quicken for jockey Joseph O’Brien from the front, a hallmark of a high class filly and one that will easily get the 1m4f at Epsom.
Her next target is likely to be the Group 3, Blue Wind Stakes, over 1m2f at Naas on 16th May before heading to Epsom on 1st June all going to plan, for which she is only better in the betting by long time antepost favourite Maybe.
Maybe meanwhile will make her seasonal debut in the 1,000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket this Sunday where she is sure to go off as the short priced favourite to extend her unbeaten run to six. It will be her first run as a 3 year old and her first over more than seven furlongs but she is bred to stay further obviously and by all accounts she tops the pecking order of Fillies at Ballydoyle. Trainer, Aidan O’Brien, will make the decision regarding her Oaks participation after Newmarket.
In Navan’s other big race on Sunday, the Irish Stallions EBF Stakes also over 1m2f it was Aidan O’Brien and son Joseph who took the honours again. This time it was Athens finding the winners enclosure but not doing so with the look of a Derby winning horse. He certainly ran well landing his 4/6 odds by 2 lengths after making all. He brushed off the challenge that came from Ursa Major and kept on well from the final furlong pole.
The son of Dylan Thomas will next take on either the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on 13th May or the Dante Stakes also over 1m2f at York four days later. Punters will be able to make a much better assessment of his ability on the back of his next run but the fact that he failed to "turn the heads" of the Bookmakers, who by and large have him at 33/1 for the Epsom Derby, suggests he's not one of O'Brien's leading middle distance runners for 2012.