Epsom Derby Festival preview: O’Brien confident Rhododendron can bloom in Oaks

Bill Esdaile
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Goodwood Races
Rhododendron is all set to run in the Oaks (Source: Getty)

IRISH trainer Aidan O’Brien is a firm believer in flower power after confirming it’s also systems go for Rhododendron in the Oaks.

The daughter of Galileo was last seen back in May when finishing second behind Ballydoyle stablemate Winter in the 1,000 Guineas.

But O’Brien, speaking via phone, revealed she and Alluringly are "the two I’m happiest with" ahead of the Derby Festival.

Charismatic Italian jockey Frankie Dettori rides Enable in the race and is excited to see her put up against favourite Rhododendron.

Speaking about her Cheshire Oaks win, Dettori said: “She surprised me actually. She whizzed round that Chester turn like a greyhound.

“The favourite comes into the race with the best credentials, but I think Enable will run really well.”

O’Brien also holds leading fancies in Friday’s Coronation Cup, with Highland Reel at the top of the betting market.

However, the Irishman admits there isn’t much between him and 6/1 stablemate and full brother Idaho.

“We’re thinking the brothers Highland Reel and Idaho will go to the Coronation Cup,” he said.

“Idaho is probably stronger and bigger than Highland Reel and we think he is progressing all the time and will progress through the year.”

O’Brien, who holds the trainers’ record of six British and Irish Classic wins in a year, has though ruled out Seventh Heaven.

The four-year-old, who secured a five length-success in the Group Two Dunaden Stakes at the start of May, was 7/2 third favourite.

However, she has been met with a setback and is likely to be out of action until the Autumn at least.

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