Wednesday, June 1, 2011
BAKER’S DOZEN FOR INVESTEC OAKS
“WE HAVE EVERY CHANCE” SAYS BLUE BUNTING’S TRAINER MAHMOOD AL ZAROONI
FIVE GO IN INVESTEC CORONATION CUP
Final declarations have been made today for the two Group One contests on day one, Investec Ladies’ Day, of the 2011 Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 3 - the £325,000 Investec Oaks (4.05pm) and the £250,000 Investec Coronation Cup (2.45pm).
Both contests take place over one mile, four furlongs and both form part of the QIPCO British Champions’ Series.
Godolphin’s Blue Bunting is one of 13 set to line up in the fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks, and will attempt to become the first horse since Kazzia, who also raced for Godolphin, to complete the QIPCO 1000 Guineas/Investec Oaks double.
She is the 2/1 favourite with William Hill, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, and will be partnered by Frankie Dettori who is seeking a fourth Investec Oaks success.
Mahmood Al Zarooni, trainer of Blue Bunting, revealed today: “Blue Bunting is doing very well and she has improved since her victory at Newmarket.
“The most surprising thing about her winning the QIPCO 1000 Guineas was that she coped so well with the ground. Her two wins last season came on a softer surface and we were a little concerned about how she would run on faster going, but Blue Bunting showed that she is a classy and versatile filly.
“We have always regarded her as a nice filly and she made most of the running twice as a juvenile and it’s hard to do that, especially over a straight mile at Newmarket.
“We decided to try and shield her in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and let her finish the race to try and get placed. They went a good pace and the strong wind made it very difficult for the horses at the front, which also played to her stamina.
“I think that the best thing to do on Friday will be to drop her in at first. It takes her a long time to get going in her races - we saw that at Newmarket, when she was outpaced at the start but started to get going in the second half of the race.
“The course is a bit of an unknown but she is a well-balanced filly and I am hopeful that she can cope with the track. It won’t be easy to win but she is a classy filly and has already won a Classic.
“She has the best jockey riding her and we have every chance of winning another big race.”
The strongest challenge to Blue Bunting’s quest for a second Classic would appear to come from the Aidan O’Brien stable. The Irish champion trainer is set to saddle four runners, including Wonder Of Wonders (4/1 second favourite with William Hill), winner of the Listed Cheshire Oaks last time out, and Misty For Me (13/2), who also brings Classic form into the race having landed the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 22. Completing the Ballydoyle quartet are Eirnin (100/1), who will provide a first British Classic ride for the trainer’s son Joseph, and Why (50/1). A fifth Irish-trained runner is Siren’s Song (20/1) from the Jessica Harrington stable, who was last seen out when taking a Listed contest at Navan on April 17.
Sir Michael Stoute will saddle Havant (11/2), the mount of Ryan Moore, who finished a staying-on sixth behind Blue Bunting in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, while the only unbeaten filly going into Friday’s contest is Zain Al Boldan (10/1), victorious in the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield on May 7, who will be aiming to give trainer Mick Channon a first Classic success. Channon will also be represented by outsider Fork Handles (100/1).
Owner Benny Andersson, best known as one of the members of 1970s supergroup ABBA, has a decent chance with Beatrice Aurore (14/1), who was the ready winner of the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on May 18.
Izzi Top (33/1) and Dancing Rain (14/1) occupied the first two places in the Listed Swettenham Stud Fillies' Trial Stakes at Newbury on May 13, while the field is completed by Blaise Chorus (100/1), runner-up to Wonder Of Wonders at Chester.
ST NICHOLAS ABBEY AND MIDDAY AMONG FIVE FOR INVESTEC CORONATION CUP
St Nicholas Abbey was the winter favourite for the 2010 Investec Derby following his spectacular success in the 2009 Racing Post Trophy but unfortunately he never made it to Epsom Downs. However, on Friday he finally gets the chance to run over the unique course in the Investec Coronation Cup for which he is one of five declared runners.
The four-year-old Montjeu colt, who will be partnered by Ryan Moore, finished third on his reappearance at the Curragh in April before putting up an eye-catching display in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester on May 6, when he scored by an impressive nine lengths. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has landed four of the past six renewals of the Investec Coronation Cup, he is the 10/11 favourite with William Hill.
Midday (13/8 with William Hill) found only Sariska a head too strong in the 2009 Investec Oaks and has gone on to register five successes at Group/Grade One level. Trained by Henry Cecil, the five-year-old mare is set to take on male opposition for the first time since April, 2009, when she chased home Debussy in the Blue Riband Trial Stakes at Epsom Downs.
Trainer James Given is doubly represented with recent Group Two QIPCO Jockey Club Stakes victor Dandino (7/1) and Indian Days (20/1), who finished third behind his stablemate in that Newmarket contest on April 30.
Completing the line-up is another mare in Clowance (20/1), who finished fourth in the 2008 Investec Oaks and will be making her seasonal reappearance for Derby-winning trainer Roger Charlton. The six-year-old daughter of Montjeu is in foal to Oasis Dream.
The going at Epsom Downs is currently:
Andrew Cooper, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs, said today: “The going remains good overall at Epsom Downs, with slightly faster ground on the sprint course.
“Our plan for today is to water the entire course and we will be applying between two and three millimetres of irrigation. We will then assess the situation later today.”
The GoingStick reading at 7.00am today was 7.8 overall. The forecast is for dry and warm weather.
THE 2011 INVESTEC OAKS
Class 1, Group 1, £325,000 Total Prize Fund. 4.05pm, Epsom Downs, Friday, June 3, 2011. For three-year-old fillies only. One mile, four furlongs and 10 yards. Weights: 9st each. Entries closed March 15, entries revealed March 17 (93 entries). Scratchings deadline noon, May 19, 2011 (25 remained). £20,000 supplementary entry stage and six-day confirmation stage May 28 (16 confirmations), final declaration stage 10.00am, June 1 (13 declared runners). Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and include the racing up to and including Tuesday, May 31. May not include some overseas form.
Form Horse Owner Trainer
1) 01-511 BEATRICE AURORE (IRE) Benny Andersson John Dunlop/Ted Durcan
2) (2)(3)2 BLAISE CHORUS (IRE) John Deer Barry Hills/Michael Hills
3) 211-1 BLUE BUNTING (USA) Godolphin Mahmood Al Zarooni/Frankie Dettori
4) 2-12 DANCING RAIN (IRE) M & L Taylor William Haggas/Johnny Murtagh
5) 001-00 EIRNIN (IRE) Annemarie O'Brien/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE/Joseph O’Brien
6) 14034-3 FORK HANDLES Dr Marwan Koukash Mick Channon/Jamie Spencer
7) 11-6 HAVANT James & Anita Wigan Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore
8) 2-131 IZZI TOP Helena Springfield Ltd John Gosden/William Buick
9) 01211-01 MISTY FOR ME (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE/Seamie Heffernan
10) 21 SIREN'S SONG (IRE) Juliet Cooper Jessica Harrington IRE/Fran Berry
11) 4410-60 WHY (IRE) Magnier/Tabor/Smith/Niarchos Family Aidan O'Brien IRE/Mickael Barzalona
12) 2-011 WONDER OF WONDERS (USA) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE/Kieren Fallon
13) 1-11 ZAIN AL BOLDAN Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon/Sam Hitchcott
13 declared runners
THE 2011 INVESTEC CORONATION CUP
Group One, £250,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.45pm, Epsom Downs, Friday, June 3, 2011. For four-year-olds and upwards, one mile, four furlongs and 10 yds. Weights; colts and geldings 9st; fillies 8st 11lb. Entries closed April 5, entries revealed April 6 (27 entries), scratchings deadline May 17 (15 remained), six-day confirmation & £20,000 supplementary stage May 28 (7 confirmations), final declaration stage 10.00am, June 1 (5 declared runners). Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, May 31. May not include some overseas form.
Form Horse Age/Wt Owner Trainer/Jockey
1) 1200-11 DANDINO 4-9-00 Elite Racing Club James Given/Paul Mulrennan
2) 1160-13 INDIAN DAYS 6-9-00 David Fish James Given/Paul Hanagan
3) 11/6-31 ST NICHOLAS ABBEY (IRE) 4-9-00 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE/Ryan Moore
4) 4/24/010- CLOWANCE 6-8-11 Seasons Holidays Roger Charlton/Richard Hughes
5) 21112-1 MIDDAY 5-8-11 Khalid Abdulla Henry Cecil/Tom Queally
5 declared runners