The ladies will be out in their finest and thousands of blokes will be looking ridiculous in top hat and tails at Epsom today for Oaks Day. Chance of storms throughout the day so dress appropriately for humidity and lightning strikes! Or just stay in the bar...
Leading the charge today is William Kedjanyi, @keejayOV, with his preview of the feature race. Last year we saw a champion filly in Taghrooda emerge, what does today's race have in store? You can read more of William's previews on a variety of sports on his blog.
£450,000 Group 1 for 3yo Fillies
1630 local, 0130 AEST
Already Advised on my blog: 1 pt each/way Diamondsandrubies, 27th May (8/1 Hills, Paddy Power, Boylesports)* & 1 pt each/way Jack Naylor, 27th May, (12/1 Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Sportingbet) 1 pt each/way Together Forever, 13th May (16/1 general)
Diamondsandrubies now 12/1 with Paddy Power*
Al Naamah: Sister to 2012 winner Was who made headlines with 5.000,000 gns purchase at 2013 yearling sales and then set tongues wagging when striking winner on debut; Big disappointment afterwards when hotly fancied but far better on return at Saint-Cloud when only just caught on the line by Little Nightingale, who came with benefit of a run which probably made all the difference; Can only improve from that and no surprise were she to to go very well.
Bellajeu: Always shaped like a stayer in three juvenile runs and solid return when behind Toujours L’Amour but that form let down big time last weekend and will need far more her.
Crystal Zvezda: Thre all her chance away on debut but quickly put that right at Lingfield; Explosive on return at Newbury when sprinting past the whole field to take Listed Event (10f) in great style, promising more for step upto this trip; Massive step up in class here but looks more than capable of handling it and must be respected.
Diamondsandrubies: Only the one juvenile start but quickly made up into a Group performer this year, finishing third behind Blue Wind and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Pleasecach and Irish 1000 Guineas fifth Bocca Baciata; Didn’t have anything near as much to do when putting substandard opposition in Cheshire Oaks to the sword but still impressive in attitude there after pushing through horse in straight and proved herself quick as well; Must be close to top of shortlist.
Jack Naylor: Improved hand over fist with racing last year, taking the Silver Flash Stakes before beating subsequent 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo under a penalty, and looked a stayer in waiting when she ran a corker in the Marcel Boussac to finish fourth; Achieved even more when filling same position in the Irish 1000 Guineas, having come from last with fastest final furlong of anything in the field; Should relish this step up in trip and stamina just runs into pedigree; Major chance.
Jazzi Top: Nothing that you couldn’t like about impression she created when breaking duck on the all weather at Kempton and stepping up in trip clearly helped as she took the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket in good style; Expect more as she steps up in trip again but on a line through second Zannda, could struggle to hold off Irish challenge.
Lady of Dubai: Relished a mile as juvenile and not much that you could find wrong with her second to Irish Rookie; Even better on return when romping away with Height of Fashion Stakes on return and can come on from that, although she has to on the bare figures despite how impressive she was; Respected although others preferred.
Legatissimo: Took time to come into her element as 2 year old but deeply impressive when upped in trip at Gowran (1m1f), beating solid runner up by 3 & /4 lengths (since beaten in Oaks Trial); Then sent to 1000 Guineas, and following late support, benefitted from scorching early pace to come and stay her way to victory; Given her breeding on damside (Montjeu dam that was second over 12 furlongs) that performance was a hugely creditable one and must take the beating here.
Qualify: Shaped better in the Irish Guineas than the English equivalent but well behind Jack Naylor there from the same position and that was still a disappointment; Seems a likely stayer but not sure she’s good enough.
Star of Seville: Fully built upon a thoroughly promising debut when destroying opposition at Doncaster and even better when making impressive return at Newbury when beating colts in style; Strongly fancied for the Musdiora at York and looked set to win very impressively before Together Forever (receiving 4lbs, seasonal reappearance) came back at her, although margin of a neck possibly flatters runner-up given that she idled. Respected.
Together Forever: Top class form from the beginning of her two year old career (just two lengths behind Jack Naylor) and shaped like an Oaks horse when landing Fillies’ Mile (soft) at Newmarket; Solid return when, having looked as if she was going to be well beaten, she clawed back plenty of ground to an admittedly idling Star of Seville, although she was making her seasonal reappearance and giving 4lbs. Two should be closely matched today although reason for her to improve more than the other and can go well.
A top class renewal. Crystal Zvezda, Star of Seville, Jazzi Top and Lady of Dubai impressed in taking their trials, no more than the first named, but they may struggle to hold off a formidable Irish challenge led by 1,000 Guineas winner Legatissimo, Irish 1,000 Guineas fourth JACK NAYLOR, Chester Oaks winner DIAMONDSANDRUBIES, and Musidora second Together Forever. Legatissimo’s massive potential makes her frightfully hard to oppose but Jack Naylor showed as much potential when flying home for fourth in the Irish 1000 Guineas while Diamondsandrubies’s third in the Salsabil Stakes couldn’t look any stronger now. French raider Al Naamah has to be respected after a very promising comeback run in France and she needs close monitoring in a fantastic race.