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Will Nashwa prove herself an Oaks rival to stablemate Emily Upjohn at Newbury?

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The 2022 Flat season is in full swing after the first two Classics, the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas.

Attention now turns towards Epsom with the Cazoo Derby and Oaks next month and market movers come thick and fast as the key Classic trials continue to be run. Our Classic Clues series has you covered.

Here's a recap of the action on Friday and how it has impacted the Classic betting, while we mark your card with key names to note on Saturday.


Friday round-up: 18 left in the Oaks while Buckaroo connections consider Derby run

While Stradivarius deservedly dominated the headlines with a record-breaking win in the Yorkshire Cup, there were some small Classic clues to be gained on and off the track on Friday.

Mighty Ulysses's win at Newmarket offered a form boost to Derby contenders Nahanni and United Nations, who both finished in front of the Saeed Suhail-owned colt at Epsom in the Blue Riband Trial last month.

Nahanni has not been seen since winning that Listed contest in which he finished two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Mighty Ulysses and was trimmed to 16-1 for the Derby by bet365. United Nations, who further proved his Classic credentials when taking the Derby Trial at Lingfield, remains a general 14-1 chance.

The form of Nahanni (blue) was boosted by Mighty Ulysses (yellow cap) at Newmarket

The pair are likely to take their place at Epsom, although Joseph O'Brien could target his Ballysax runner-up Buckaroo at the Irish 2,000 Guineas instead. 

Buckaroo is a general 4-1 shot for the first Irish Classic of the season at the Curragh on May 21 and a chunkier 25-1 for the Derby, and  regular rider Shane Crosse indicated on Friday that no fixed plans have been made as to where the Qatar Racing-owned colt will line up.

Meanwhile, 18 were left in the Oaks at the latest acceptance stage with Agave the most notable absentee for Andre Fabre having been as short as 12-1.

The filly is like to continue her campaign in France and was scratched along with ante-post 1,000 Guineas favourite Inspiral, who is still awaiting her seasonal reappearance for John and Thady Gosden. They are still represented by Emily Upjohn and Nashwa.


Cazoo Oaks latest: 18 left in contention as Fabre scratches 12-1 shot


What they say

Shane Crosse, rider of Buckaroo

"There's nothing set in stone yet. He has an entry in the Derby, which could possibly be on the agenda. It could be a toss up between the two of them.

"At the beginning of the year we thought he was going to be a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half horse, and he probably is, but he's one of them that just has such natural pace that a mile could be very good for him.

"It should be no problem wherever he goes, but it was great to see the pace he showed at the Curragh the last day. This lad has bundles of pace for a mile."

Andre Fabre, trainer of Agave

"She's in very good form. I think she was beaten by a very good colt and that she'd be better with cut in the ground. She will probably stay in France."


Market movers

Cazoo Oaks
Concert Hall 8-1 (from 14 with Coral)

Cazoo Derby
Nahanni 16-1 (from 20 with bet365)


All eyes on . . . Nashwa at Newbury

Although the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes represents Saturday's highlight for the older horses, there is another important Classic trial at Newbury that could have a significant impact on the market for the Cazoo Oaks.

Nashwa: a general 12-1 chance for the Oaks

John and Thady Gosden already have leading contender Emily Upjohn, who surged to outright favouritism for the Epsom Classic after extending her flawless record in the Musidora on Wednesday, and stablemate Nashwa could similarly shorten in the betting if striking in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes (4.30).

The Imad Alsagar homebred is a best-priced 12-1 for the Oaks and made a smart return to action when scooting clear in a Haydock novice three weeks ago.

Nashwa is the only filly with a Classic entry in the eight-runner Listed contest, and should she handle the step up in trip she could provide Alsagar and his retained rider Hollie Doyle with a realistic chance of a first win in the Oaks.


How the markets look

Cazoo Oaks (4.30 Epsom, June 3)

William Hill: 11-8 Emily Upjohn, 7-2 Tuesday, 8 Concert Hall, 9 With The Moonlight, 12 Nashwa, Tranquil Lady, 14 Above The Curve, Rogue Millennium (needs to be supplemented), 16 Thoughts Of June, Life Of Dreams, History, Magical Lagoon, 25 bar

Cazoo Derby (4.30 Epsom, June 4)

bet365: 2 Desert Crown, 3 Stone Age, 15-2 Changingoftheguard, 10 Piz Badile, 14 United Nations, Star Of India, 16 Walk Of Stars, Nahanni 20 Pont Lonsdale, Eydon, Westover, Royal Patronage, 25 bar


Read this next:

'You'll never find one like that' – another memorable win for Stradivarius


The Front Runner is our latest email newsletter available exclusively to Members' Club Ultimate subscribers. Chris Cook, a four-time Racing Reporter of the Year award winner, provides his take on the day's biggest stories and tips for the upcoming racing every morning from Monday to Friday


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