Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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AIDAN O’Brien bids to continue his unbeaten run in British Classics this season when he saddles the 9-4 favourite Pink Dogwood in the Investec Oaks on Friday.
The 21-times Irish Champion trainer has already bagged the QIPCO 2000 Guineas with Magna Grecia and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas with Hermosa and is now gunning for his eighth win in the Investec Oaks.
O’Brien is likely to have four runners the field of 14 for the one and a half mile contest that he has won three times in the last four years and this time will also be represented by Fleeting (25-1), Peach Tree (33-1) and Delphinia (40-1).
Pink Dogwood, a full sister to last year’s Irish Derby victor Latrobe, will be ridden by Ryan Moore who was aboard the daughter of O’Brien’s 2012 Investec Derby winner Camelot when justifying a short price to win the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan on April 28.
Moore gave the filly a patient ride in the 10-furlong race, waiting with her in seventh place at halfway, before taking closer order when travelling well two furlongs from the finish. She was driven to lead at the furlong, winning readily under a hands and heels ride.
Speaking by phone at the Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom O’Brien said: “Pink Dogwood runs in the Investec Oaks and we are very happy with her.
“We loved her last year and we always thought she was going to be a middle-distance filly and we always thought she was going to be our main Oaks filly.
“She was only just ready to start when she won at Navan and that was a slowly run race and she has come forward from that. She could be joined by a couple of others including Fleeting. Pink Dogwood will be the main one.”
Meanwhile Newmarket trainers John Gosden and William Haggas are also set to be double handed in in the Group 1 event that carries prize money of £525,000.
Gosden targets his third win the Oaks, which he won with Taghrooda (2014) and Enable (2017). He will be represented Mehdaayih (Robert Havlin, 5-2) – who was supplemented for the Investec Oaks for £30,000 after a four and a half-length victory Cheshire Oaks – and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Anapurna (Frankie Dettori, 6-1).
Haggas won the Oaks with Dancing Rain in 2011 and appears to have two likely contenders, in an open-looking contest, with Pretty Polly Stakes winner Maqsad (Jim Crowley, 7-1) and Frankellina (James Doyle, 16-1). The latter ran a terrific race at the Dante meeting at York when dead-heating for second after missing the start in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes on May 15.
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