Gosden out to deny O'Brien a hat-trick in fillies' feature
Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks l Listed | 1m3½f l 3yo l ITV4/RUK
John Gosden is out to stop Aidan O'Brien winning the Oaks trial for the third year running with Enable, who could pay a compliment to her stablemate and fellow Epsom entry Shutter Speed if she can overcome six opponents.
The Roodee contest is not a natural source of Epsom winners, with Light Shift the last to complete the double in 2007, though more recently Wonder Of Wonders (2011) went on to chase home Dancing Rain in the Investec-backed Classic.
Unlike O'Brien, who has won this race five times, Gosden has landed the race just once, with Gertrude Bell in 2010, but the vibes are positive at Clarehaven that Khalid Abdullah's filly could yet be a player at Epsom after her decent comeback third.
After a 1-2 in the 1,000 Guineas at the weekend, O'Brien is not short on filly firepower and fields the lightly raced Alluringly, who broke her maiden at Tipperary in April.
Marcus Tregoning's runner, Argenterie, is worthy of a second look, if only on account of the trainer winning back-to-back-runnings of this in 2002 and 2003.
Four entered at Epsom
Four of these are already entered in the Oaks – Rich Legacy, Alluringly, Enable and Tansholpan.
O'Brien on hat-trick
Aidan O'Brien is on a race hat-trick and has won this five times in the past decade.
Favourites on a roll
The market has proved a good guide in recent years with both O'Brien winners going off favourite – Diamondsandrubies (5-4) in 2015 was followed by Somehow (8-15) a year ago.
What they say
Ralph Beckett, trainer of Rich Legacy
It will be tough with the penalty, never mind the draw, but we want to know to know if she stays a mile and a half, which I think she will, so we've got to run. It's a trial and I hope it goes well.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Alluringly
She won her maiden nicely at Tipperary last month. We've been happy with her since and hopefully she'll have come forward from her first run of the season.
John Gosden, trainer of Enable
She ran a nice race when third to Shutter Speed at Newbury and she looks a nice middle-distance prospect. We'll know more after this and she's been pleasing at home since.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Hidden Steps
She's come on a lot for her comeback at Kempton and I think she'll enjoy the step up in trip. We're hopeful she can run a nice race and get some black type.
Roger Varian, trainer of Tansholpan
It's a small but select renewal of the race and we expect her to handle herself in it as she's been working well this spring. We expect her to improve for the step up in trip and this will tell us whether she's an Oaks or Ribblesdale filly.