By Simon Jackson at Epsom.
The first four to finish in the Investec Oaks won by Taghrooda today (Friday) are set to clash in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on July 19.
Taghrooda’s three and three quarter length victory over Tarfasha secured a first win in the race for trainer John Gosden and jockey Paul Hanagan and was all the more notable as both horses are owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
The winner raced close to the pace set by Volume and Richard Hughes and took it up two furlongs out, quickening well to secure an impressive victory. Tarfasha finished fast to snatch second place on the line from Volume, a nose back in third.
“Paul rode her perfectly,” Gosden said. “Two good fillies were second and third so it looks like a good Oaks.
“I always thought she was a nice filly, but I felt the extra two furlongs was right up her alley, which is why he had her handy. Richard [Hughes] was in front trying to ride the race to suit himself and his filly won a trial in that way. So we knew if he was playing with the pace we wanted to be where we could do something about it and use our filly’s class.
“Paul did just that and it was a very smooth performance.
Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager and bloodstock advisor, Angus Gold, added: “I don’t want to sound clever after the race, but Taghrooda is classy and it hasn’t surprised me. I wasn’t as worried about soft ground as everyone else, because Paul had ridden her on soft and said she handled it.
“If the two fillies come out of it in good order there is no reason why they can’t both run in the Irish Oaks.”
Luca Cumani, trainer of third-placed Volume, said: “It was a very good run and it’s very satisfying to know she belongs to this company.
“The winner was very impressive and we were coming back again at the finish. We’ll go to the Irish Oaks now. The Curragh will suit her as she’s a big long-striding filly.”
Dual Derby winning trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam has similar plans for fourth placed Inchila who he believed should have finished closer.
“She maybe should have been second,” said Chapple-Hyam, who is also targeting the Darley Irish Oaks. “She fell out of the stalls and it wasn’t the plan to sit out the back. She loves fast ground and is a decent filly. I suppose she could go to the Curragh.”
Meanwhile Australia continues to head the betting at 6-4 for the Investec Derby on Saturday with bookmaker Coral who believe his price could drift further if the track that is currently good, good to firm in places is affected by the forecast rain.
“The presence of Australia in this year’s Investec Derby will ensure turnover remains healthy, as for all those punters who want to be with the favourite, there will be plenty looking to oppose him,” Coral representative David Stevens said.
“The market leader has been easy to back all week, and his price could yet drift further, particularly if Epsom is hit by the thunderstorms forecasters are predicting.”
Investec Derby – Coral bet: 6/4 Australia, 15/2 Kingston Hill, 8 Geoffrey Chaucer, 11 True Story, Orchestra, 12 Ebanoran, Fascinating Rock, 14 Western Hymn, 16 Arod, 18 Romsdal, 50 Pinzolo, Sudden Wonder, 80 Kingfisher, Our Channel, 100 Impulsive Moment, 200 Red Galileo.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.