Possibility of Oaks runners coming stands' side recedes as Epsom stays dry
The possibility of the Investec Oaks field coming stands’ side at Epsom for the first time since Kazzia’s all-the-way 2002 success appeared to recede late on Thursday afternoon after the Surrey track missed the latest band of rain that was anticipated.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper was taking nothing for granted and stressed the chance of showers into the evening remained, but the 5mm of rain forecast for earlier in the day failed to materialise.
“There has been nothing meaningful so far in terms of rain,” Cooper said just before 4.30pm. “It’s muggy, and it still feels like there is potential for something to happen over the next few hours, so we’re not out of the woods yet.”
An hour later rain had still to materialise, and Cooper changed the ground description to soft, good to soft in places.
John Gosden had earlier raised the prospect of the runners on day one of the Derby meeting coming over to the stands’ side in the straight, but Cooper said: “Unless they do it all day my money would be on them staying far side in a nine-runner Oaks.”
Cooper could not recall a Derby field ever coming stands’ side, even on ground as testing as when Teenoso landed the race in 1983 under Lester Piggott.
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