Sariska to prove she is Epsom's First Lady

THE OPENING day of the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs racecourse is Ladies Day. The most fashionable and stylish lady on the course will win a new car if she wins the &lsquo;Style on the Downs&rsquo; competition after lunch, while at around 4.09pm, an equine lady will be crowned winner of the 2009 Investec Oaks.<br /><br />Only ten fillies go to post for the Group One contest run over Epsom&rsquo;s 12 furlong Derby course, but it&rsquo;s all about quality rather than quantity. John Gosden&rsquo;s Champion two-year-old filly Rainbow View is now on a recovery mission after disappointing on lightning fast ground in the Guineas. She is joined by the rapidly improving Sariska and Midday, while all the money in recent days has been for Sir Michael Stoute&rsquo;s maiden Phillipina.<br /><br />Looking at the contenders in more detail and although I&rsquo;m a huge fan of Rainbow View, at just 3/1 with Boylesports, she is simply too short for a filly that still has a fair bit to prove. She is by no means guaranteed to stay, she might get upset in the preliminaries, she may not handle the track and more importantly, may not have trained on. Any one of these four eventualities will see her trail in as an &lsquo;also ran&rsquo; and in my book that&rsquo;s too big a risk to take. <br /><br />Michael Bell&rsquo;s <strong>SARISKA</strong> was unlucky in-running when beaten in the Fred Darling on her seasonal reappearance, but left that performance behind her when romping away with the Musidora at York last time. The daughter of Pivotal is another not guaranteed to stay, but relished the step up in trip last time to suggest that she may be the one to beat. <br /><br />Her critics will point out that she may not have beaten much and the time was slow proving they went slowly early on, but the more I watch the race, the more I like what I see. She battled on bravely showing a lot of heart to beat some useful yardsticks and may go on to prove the old saying right&hellip; &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not the size of the dog in the fight. It&rsquo;s the size of the fight in the dog&rsquo;.<br /><br />Henry Cecil is looking to land his ninth Oaks with Midday and she looked awesome at Lingfied last time and is seriously respected. However, she was brushed aside by Debussy at Epsom on her penultimate star and I reckon she may just lack the class for this. Phillipina is ludicrously short for a maiden and there is no obvious reason why she should be shorter than her Chester conqueror Perfect Truth. <br /><br />That leaves Jim Bolger&rsquo;s Oh Goodness Me who was tipped up in this column last week at 33/1. I recommended laying her back on the day at 16/1 and you will now get the chance to do that. However, if we get a little bit of rain overnight, don&rsquo;t be in too much of a hurry to lay it all back. I&rsquo;ve got a sneaky feeling that if there is to be an upset, she could be the one to surprise them all.<br /><br />Elsewhere on Epsom&rsquo;s card today, I like the look of <strong>CONFRONT</strong> in the opening contest at 1.40pm, while our old friend <strong>BUCCELLATI</strong> could easily surprise a few at a decent price in the Coronation Cup at 2.45pm. Also, I have been waiting for John Gosden to step <strong>CHARM SCHOOL</strong> up to 10 furlongs and he has done just that in the 3.25pm contest. He&rsquo;s another who could do with a drop of rain and I don&rsquo;t think he&rsquo;s too badly handicapped.<br /><br /><br /><strong>POINTERS...</strong><br /><strong>CONFRONT</strong> (1.40pm Epsom, today)<br /><strong>BUCCELLATI</strong> e/w (2.45pm Epsom, today)<br /><strong>CHARM SCHOOL</strong> (3.25pm Epsom, today)<br /><strong>SARISKA</strong> (4.10pm Epsom, today)<br />