Mehdaayih as low as 4-1 for Oaks after Chester cruise - but not certain to run
There's a lot of guesswork involved when it comes to Classic trials but a champion's guesses are more educated than most.
John Gosden did not win the trainers' title without knowing a good three-year-old when he saw one, even a lightly raced filly who'd gained her only win this year in a two-runner fillies' handicap on the all-weather.
And his decision to pitch Chelmsford match winner Mehdaayih straight into Listed company paid off spectacularly when she saw off ten rivals in tremendous style in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks – the race that was the launchpad for brilliant stablemate Enable two years ago.
But now it is punters who are left guessing whether the three-year-old will be supplemented for the Investec Oaks or wait for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
It would cost £30,000 to add Mehdaayih to the field for the Epsom Classic, for which she is now challenging for favouritism with odds ranging from 4-1 to 10-1.
Gosden's son Thady said: "We'll have to discuss with the owner whether she'll be supplemented for the Oaks. We'll see whether Mr Nasser Lootah would like to go to Epsom or whether he'd like to go somewhere else."
Should she take her Oaks chance on May 31 the track is not expected to faze Mehdaayih, a daughter of Frankel who had won at Yarmouth on the last of three two-year-old starts, beating stablemate Fanny Logan who finished third here.
"She's a nice, athletic, well-balanced filly so you'd hope she'd be the right type for Epsom," Gosden said.
"We thought she'd run well but we didn't really think she'd go and do it like that. She must have enjoyed a bit of juice in the ground. She was quite impressive.
"Her last race at Chelmsford was only a two-runner race so you couldn't get a proper read off that but she couldn't have done it any better and she couldn't really have done this any better."
Proper read or not, the trainer had clearly seen something in that 14-length romp on the Essex Polytrack.
"As soon as I picked the phone up after the race he said "Cheshire Oaks" and he was right," said jockey Robert Havlin, who was on board that day and this.
"It was only a match race, beating a 75-rated filly, but we didn't want her to just go round and have a gallop, we wanted her to learn something and find out what sort of level she was at."
The softish turf here suited her even better and Havlin reflected: "She had enough turn of foot and I just managed to get her out by the two [furlong pole] and she really surprised me how she picked up. She really loved the ground.
"She showed a really good change of gear there, half a furlong out she started wandering to the left so I think she had a bit left up her sleeve."
Manuela De Vega, who gave the winner 3lb, did best of the rest in second place on her first run of the season and did enough to persuade Ralph Beckett to aim her straight at the Oaks.
"I'm very pleased considering she didn't have a lot of room at the top of the straight and she had the penalty to carry as well," the trainer said.
"She galloped out really well and I'm sure it's strong form. She wasn't ready this time last week so she's only just come to hand. It's a trial and we've come here to use it as one, and she'll go straight to Epsom."
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