Horseplay keeps Investec Oaks Dream alive for Andrew Balding

Andrew Balding cut 2

Andrew Balding won the Oaks in 2003 with Casual Look and is eyeing another win in the fillies’ Classic with  Newmarket winner Horseplay.

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HORSEPLAY booked her place in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on June 2 with a tenacious victory in the Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday.

The victory in the 10 furlong contest was the second in three starts for the daughter of Cape Cross who was having her first start since justifying favouritism to comfortably win a maiden race on soft ground at Nottingham in October.

At Newmarket the Andrew-Balding-trained filly was steadied at the start by jockey David Probert and raced in the midfield of the boutique field of six runners before challenging two furlongs out.

She stayed on gamely to score by three quarters of a length from fellow Oaks contender Isabel De Urbina and is priced at 12-1 for the one and a half mile fillies’ Classic at Epsom, which Balding won 14 years ago with Casual Look.

“The [good to firm] ground was a bit of an unknown, she won her maiden on soft, but it’s nice to see that she is adaptable, certainly as far as the going goes,” said Balding who intends to give her a racecourse gallop at Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom on May 23.

“It’s her first run of the year so she’ll come on for it, she’ll stay further and it’s exciting.

“She was a bit fresh and free in the early stages but she knuckled down and all credit to her and David who gave her a lovely ride.

“She’s not very big, there isn’t much of her, but I thought she handled the dip well today.

“There is certainly plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of her pedigree so the obvious target is the one we’ve been dreaming of all winter, a crack at the Oaks.

“We’ll go straight there but we would like to have a gallop on the track before then.”

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