THERE is only one place to start when looking for a potential winner of the Investec Oaks; the master of Warren Place, Henry Cecil. He has won this race eight times in the past and has two live chances this afternoon with likely favourite Aviate and Timepiece.
I tipped up the latter at 7/1 prior to her disappointing performance in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, but she remains the apple of her trainer’s eye. He knows just a little more about fillies than I do, but I wasn’t impressed with her attitude last time and have to look elsewhere.
Aviate showed a decent turn of foot to land the Musidora on the line last time. Tom Queally has opted for her and she must have a big chance. However, the stable were worried about her staying 1m2f at York, so this step up to 1m4f on a stiffer track is a major worry.
She is vying for favouritism with Rumoush and on breeding Marcus Tregoning’s half-sister to Ghanaati has to be another stamina doubt. The yard isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders, either.
This looks to be one of the most open Oaks in recent memory and at the prices the one I want to be with is Jim Bolger’s AKDARENA at 8/1 with William Hill. She has progressed well this season, winning a listed race at Navan before running away with a Group 3 contest at Naas. Unlike many of her rivals, she is bred to get the trip and Kevin Manning looks sure to set a stamina sapping pace from the front. Her wily trainer has replaced the blinkers with a visor for the first time to try to eke out a little more improvement and she looks a really decent each-way proposition.
The fly in the ointment could be Michael Jarvis’s once-raced Sajjhaa who was incredibly impressive on her debut at Sandown just over two weeks ago. The trends fanatics will say that she can’t win after just one outing, but her trainer doesn’t fire many darts at the Classics and she could literally be anything. In fact, I’d be tempted to buy her in a match bet against Rumoush with Sporting Index.
Followers of this column will already know that I’m a fan of Eve Johnson Houghton’s THE CHEKA. He wasn’t disgraced when finishing fifth in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes behind Paco Boy last time and I’m prepared to give him another chance dropped to Group 3 level. Richard Hannon’s VITZNAU has been a measure of consistency this season and was unlucky not to win a listed race at Goodwood last time. He is the best horse in what looks a weak Investec Mile at 2.10pm and has run well at Epsom in the past. Another top weight with a big chance is Michael Jarvis’s KINGS DESTINY in the 3.25pm. His reappearance win at Lingfield was very impressive and he should be too good for this lot.
Last but not least, the best bet of the day has to be FAME AND GLORY in the Coronation Cup. He doesn’t have Sea The Stars to worry about this season and although Sariska is a class act, Aidan O’Brien’s inmate completely destroyed a Group 1 field at the Curragh last time.
THE CHEKA e/w Epsom 1.40pm (today)
VITZNAU e/w Epsom 2.10pm (today)
FAME AND GLORY Epsom 2.45pm (today)
KINGS DESTINY Epsom 3.25pm (today)
AKDARENA e/w Epsom 4.05pm (today)
TIMEPIECE Epsom 4.05pm (today)