A field of 14, the highest number in the last five years, is set to go to post in the Investec Oaks (4.30pm), the premier fillies’ Classic and highlight of a fabulous Investec Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs on Friday.
Ireland’s 21-times champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is the most successful current trainer in the Investec Oaks with seven victories, most recently Forever Together 12 months’ ago. His four 2019 runners are headed by Pink Dogwood (Ryan Moore), a full-sister to last year’s Irish Derby victor Latrobe and the ready winner of the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan.
Also representing Ballydoyle are Fleeting (Wayne Lordan), winner of the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last season, but disappointing on her seasonal reappearance in the mile Newmarket Classic, the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, Listed winner Peach Tree (Donnacha O’Brien) and Delphinia (Seamie Heffernan). Delphinia and Peach Tree were last seen out in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas on May when third and fourth respectively behind the Aga Khan’s homebred Tarnawa (Dermot Weld/Chris Hayes).
Frankel filly Mehdaayih (John Gosden/Rab Havlin) was supplemented for the Investec Oaks on Saturday at a cost of £30,000 following a very impressive four and a half-length victory over Manuela De Vega (Ralph Beckett/Harry Bentley) in the Listed Cheshire Oaks at Chester.
Newmarket-based Gosden, the reigning champion Flat trainer in Britain, is seeking a third Investec Oaks success, following on from Taghrooda (2014) and Enable (2017). His other representative in 2019 is another Frankel filly, Anapurna (Frankie Dettori), impressive when landing the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield Park by six lengths from Tauteke (Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni).
Hamdan Al Maktoum has seen his famous silks carried to success in the Investec Oaks on three occasions, thanks to Salsabil (1990), Eswarah (2005) and Taghrooda (2014). He has a strong contender this year with Maqsad (William Haggas/Jim Crowley).
The Siyouni filly, who shaped with promise in two outings last year, has won on both her two 2019 outing, following up victory in a mile maiden at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting in April with a smooth five-length success in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the same venue.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum, reported today: “Maqsad is in good form.
“She has improved an awful lot this season and was very impressive when winning the Pretty Polly.
“She is a classy filly and hopefully she stays the trip and handles the track at Epsom.
“On pedigree, she is not guaranteed to stay, but we are looking forward to seeing how she gets on.
“It is great to have a live chance in the Oaks.”
Newmarket-based Haggas, who won the Investec Oaks with Dancing Rain in 2011, also runs the Anthony Oppenheimer-owned and bred Frankellina (James Doyle), runner-up in the Musidora Stakes at York.
Benny Andersson of ABBA will be represented as an owner on Friday by Lavender’s Blue (Amanda Perrett/Silvestre de Sousa). The Sea The Stars filly went down by a neck to Queen Power in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury, having won on debut at Newmarket in April.
She is out of Andersson’s Beatrice Aurore, who finished sixth in the 2011 Investec Oaks.