'Gorgeous filly' Secret Satire becomes a serious Oaks contender with marvellous Musidora Stakes win

Secret Satire (Oisin Murphy) wins the Musidora Stakes
Secret Satire (Oisin Murphy) wins the Musidora Stakes at YorkCredit: Edward Whitaker (

Andrew Balding launched his training career with Casual Look's victory in the Oaks in his first year with a licence in 2003, and 21 years on he could be going back to Epsom with a serious shot at further glory in the fillies' Classic with Secret Satire, who sauntered to a sublime Musidora Stakes success at York on Wednesday.

Having been settled behind the leaders early on by Oisin Murphy, the 22-1 outsider sprinted away from her rivals to score by two lengths from 16-1 shot Francophone. While the winning jockey enjoyed a routine ride on the Knavesmire, the same could not be said for Kieran Shoemark on odds-on Friendly Soul. The 8-11 chance hung right throughout before finishing last of the seven runners.

Secret Satire's odds tumbled for the Betfred-sponsored Oaks on May 31, with Coral cutting her to 20-1 (from 100), while BetVictor were far more impressed and went 8-1 for her to emulate last year's Musidora winner Soul Sister in following up at Epsom. Snowfall also completed the double in 2021.

Balding was not at York but his wife Anna-Lisa said: "Andrew was very hopeful she'd come on for her last run. Oisin was confident when we legged him up. He hopped off and was very complimentary. That last Friday in May could definitely be an option.

"She looks like she'll get further and is a gorgeous filly. The further she went the better she was and she really covered the ground with her ears pricked. I'm so delighted."

Secret Satire wins the Musidora to earn a 16-1 quote for the Oaks
Secret Satire wins the Musidora to earn quotes between 8-1 and 20-1 for the OaksCredit: Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

There was extra delight for owner Guy Brook as Secret Satire gave him a breakthrough Group-race triumph. A far more prestigious win might await in just over two weeks.

"I'm thrilled for Guy – I think I'd better wear my purple trousers again at Epsom!" Balding added. "It's been a long time since we won the Oaks, but we love to have runners in those big races, especially for owner-breeders.

"This is the time when the geese turn into swans and that'll really put a smile on Andrew's face. It was a pleasant surprise."

Brook, whose last notable success came ten years ago with the Marcus Tregoning-trained Secret Pursuit's victory in the Listed Prix Solitude at Saint-Cloud, said: "It's Andrew's call, but Oisin thinks she'll get further and this ground was fantastic for her. I've been owning horses for 16 years and have had Listed winners and been Group-placed, but this is lovely."

Secret Satire continued Oisin Murphy's fine, yet dramatic, week. A four-timer at Newcastle on Sunday was followed by a double at Windsor on Monday, where he made a remarkable recovery to win on He's Got Game after nearly being unseated when the stalls opened.

Two days on, he unearthed a live chance who could give him a first Oaks triumph.

Murphy said: "She wasn't that silly early on but they went slowly and I couldn't get cover. We don't know if she'll stay at Epsom, but she deserves to go for the Oaks if Andrew decides to."

Friendly Soul, who had run out an impressive winner of the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket this month, never looked comfortable. Shoemark said: "She hung throughout the whole race. She's not done that with me before. I couldn't steer her."

Betfred Oaks (Epsom, May 31)
Sponsors: 9-4 Ylang Ylang, 7 Rubies Are Red, 9 Forest Fairy, 11 Ezeliya, 14 Secret Satire, You Got To Me, 16 Siyola, Tamfana, 20 bar

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Matt RennieReporter