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'Santa Barbara passed Guineas test with flying colours and has a lot of class'

Santa Barbara: fourth in the 1,000 Guineas but favourite for Friday's Oaks
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Santa Barbara may have been a beaten joint-favourite in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas but Aidan O'Brien said she passed his own test with flying colours and reports the Cazoo Oaks favourite to have improved at home since that fourth-place finish at Newmarket.

Noon Star was ruled out of the second fillies' Classic of the year on Tuesday with Santa Barbara heading the betting at a general 9-4, and O'Brien was glowing in his praise of the daughter of Camelot.

O'Brien said: "Santa Barbara is very well and the Oaks was always pencilled in to be her second run of the year. We were delighted with her first run in the Guineas, it was a big ask. For us, she passed the test we put in front of her with flying colours.

Cazoo Oaks card and betting

He added: "We were delighted she ran such a big race and showed what she can do. I suppose the ground was quick there and that makes it a little bit more tricky for a horse with not a lot of experience going down into that Dip. We were delighted with the way she travelled as she showed the class she shows us at home.

"Obviously, we were always going to go into the Oaks not knowing whether she is going to stay a mile and a half but she's by Camelot and we know she has a lot of class. We're excited and looking forward to seeing her run. You would imagine there would be normal, natural improvement from the Guineas and she hasn't shown anything in her work to suggest otherwise."

On the Musidora winner Snowfall, who is 4-1 second favourite with Ladbrokes, O'Brien said: "She's good and we always thought the world of her last year, that's why we aimed her at so many good races. She might just have been a bit weak. She's bred to be a classy filly and one who could get the trip. She's got stronger and she's always worked well at home.

Snowfall runs out an emphatic winner of the Musidora at York

"She has always worked like a filly who has loads of class. She just didn't get it together last year but she's wintered very well and Ryan (Moore, jockey) was delighted with her at York."

After suffering a setback at home, Noon Star will now be aimed at Royal Ascot and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owners Juddmonte, said: "She has had a temporary setback so will not run in the Cazoo Oaks on Friday. All being well she could head to the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot."

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We were delighted with her first run in the Guineas, it was a big ask. For us, she passed the test we put in front of her with flying colours
E.W. Terms