Tag Archives: David Wachman

The Big Race: Epsom Oaks


The general perception is that the Oaks are a better race than the Derby this year. And yes, there’s certainly some merit to this. The Oaks field looks absolute delicious -and that’s not only because the brilliant 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo standing her ground over the much longer Oaks trip. No, it’s the strengths in depth that really intrigues me.

Of course the Wachman filly couldn’t have been more impressive at Newmarket. The drop in trip to 1m didn’t seem to suit beforehand, but it worked absolutely in her favour given the way the race panned out. Racing off the frenetic pace, once she started her big move, she picked them all up one by one, filly after filly, until she was left alone in front.

No doubt, she is a very strong favourite to land the Guineas & Oaks double. The longer trip is rather certain to suit than not, the ground won’t be an issue and she looks a well balanced filly who’s likely to handle Epsom’s undulations.

If you want to find question marks than it has to be the draw. Legatissimo has to start from stall 1 – which would be in any other sport the pole position – but not at Epsom where the record in the Oaks for fillies drawn in one is disastrous. Lucky she is, though, as she has Ryan Moore in the saddle….. there’s some people thinking he’s the best jockey in the world. He may be able to get her out of this dilemma.

Honestly, after making this case for her, I find it hard to oppose her. But I have to. At 3/1 or even shorter I can hardly see any value in the price. It’s a competitive field with strong opposition. Legatissimo is not invincible.

Main danger could be Stoute’s Crystal Zvezda. Lightly raced, she seems to have tons of potential. Her eye-catching success in a Newbury listed race on her seasonal reappearance promises allot. However Epsom is a completely different track compared to what she has seen at flat Newbury. Will this inexperienced filly handle the tough assignment which the Oaks will undoubtedly provide? Maybe. I could be tempted at 4/1, but also believe better value can be found in this field.

Many have been impressed by Jack Naylor’s performance in the Irish 1000 Guineas. So have I. She stayed on from an unfavourable position, trailing the field for most parts of the race, and finished an encouraging fourth in the end. Jack Naylor has a good chance to stay the Oaks trip, albeit it’s a dramatic step up from a mile to 1m 4f. And might the bounce factor kick in? Only 12 days after having a tough race in the Guineas she’s here at Epsom.

Aiden O’Brien is represented with three fillies. Qualify is likely to be deployed as a pacer maker – that’s my best guess. Diamondsandrubies was a very good winner of the Cheshire Oaks. Soft ground may be key to her, so the drying ground seems against her. She also needs to take another massive step forward to win.

Probably the best of the O’Brien trio is Together Forever. A Group 1 winner as a juvenile, after what her trainer said she might be more a Guineas type than one for the Oaks as she shows more speed than expected. Well, here she is in the Oaks, on the back of a very encouraging runner-up effort in the Musidora Stakes over 1m 2f.

The winner had the run of the race from the front that day and Together Forever – albeit making eye-catching progress from four to two furlongs out – appeared to be flat footed once the pace setting filly kicked on. But she kept fighting and stayed on strongly. She almost caught the eventual winner on the line.

On pedigree Together Forever looks certain to stay the Oaks trip, and not only that, she may easily improve for it. I would expect her to come on from her comeback run too. If she handles Epsom, she must rate a very big runner.

Her Musidora form is tied to Star Of Seville, who won the race. A smart filly in her own right, but 10f looks to be her optimum, if not even the limit of her stamina.

That should not be the case for Cummani’s Lady Of Dubai. She impressed at Goodwood in a Listed event and has a very fair chance to get the Oaks trip. Frankie Dettori’s mount Jazzi Top was a good Listed winner last month as well, though stamina is a bit more of a question mark for her.

It is very hard to see either Al Naamah or Bellajeu good enough to land a blow in the Oaks.

Verdict: Legatissimo is likely to be found on any short-list, for obvious reasons – but as mentioned before, she is not a price I’m particularly fond of. Same applies to Crystal Zvezda. I like her and look forward to see her running, but she not a price for me.

Lady Of Dubai is a filly I believe can run a big race and no doubt she is an interesting price. But most intriguing individual is Together Forever. Potentially she has so many things in her favour here. It’s likely that she can improve for her seasonal debut as well as the step up in trip. She’s already a Group 1 winner, so clearly has the class, and has a good draw, which isn’t quite without importance.

Together Forever @ 10/1 Coral – 5pts Win

Preview – 1.000 Guineas

Rowley Mile

The ground for Sunday remains quick at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile – perfect conditions for an exciting renewal of the 1.000 Guineas. The field may lack an obvious superstar at this stage, but  maybe there’s a new one born as soon as the horses have been crossing the winning post? We will see. It certainly looks a wide open affair.

The Favourite:

Godolphin’s Lucida is currently at the head of the market. She replaced long-time favourite Found in that particular position. The Ballydoyle filly is out, though, and her abscense has ripped a big hole into the betting market. Lucida is currently trading a 6/1 chance – not exactly a favourite in the true meaning of the word, is it?

The Shamardal filly hasn’t done too much wrong in her career. She was a progressive juvenile, finishing a close second behind Cursory Glance in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, while following up with an impressive success in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. Subsequently stepped up to 1m on her final start in 2014, she finished only fourth but the soft ground was probably against her.

One would think that on pedigree the 1m trip is ideal, so is the quick ground. Question mark is – did she train on? We haven’t seen her this season yet and have to find out this afternoon. She is a pretty good chance on her two year old form, though.

The Challengers:

Fadhayyil, currently a 7/1 chance, finished a good runner-up behind Lucida at Newmarket last year in the Rockfel. She has only had three starts to date and won only a maiden, but the step up to 1m looks sure to suit. If she can improve a bit for experience and distance, she is fairly closely matched with Lucida. We haven’t seen her this year either, though.

Lightly raced Jellicle Ball only won a Kempton maiden to date but clearly stepped up to pattern class when she repapered last month in the Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs. She is well bred and talented. With the recent run under her belt she’s bound to come on a good deal for an excellent runner-up effort that day. She is supposed to be better over further, so 1m looks a perfect trip for the moment. She is a big runner and money is coming for her.

David Wachman’s exciting Legatissimo won a Listed event over 9.5 furlongs last week. She loves the quick ground and is clearly very talented, but the drop in trip isn’t sure to suit her. However she is the choice of Ryan Moore and has to be respected for that simple reason.

Royal Ascot winner Osaila proved that she trained on thanks to a gutsy success in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over 7f last month. She has good form over 1m from her only start over this trip when she ran out a fine 3rd at the Breeders Cup. She will need to improve a good deal, though, in order to be competitive today, I feel.

The Raven’s Pass filly Malabar proved her class in hot Group 1 races last year. Good performances in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Moyglare Stud Stakes give her a fair form chance if she has trained on. Recent Fred Darling scorer Redstart is not out of this either. She won well but has to improve for the new trip here again and one would think that runner-up Jellicle Bell is a better prospect, given that Redstart had everything going for herself from the front, which might not be the case here today.

The Outsiders:

There is plenty of money coming for Tiggy Wiggy. She is now into 10’s which is madness in my eyes. Apologies for the harsh words – but I have to be honest here. Maybe I eat my words afterwards, but that’s fine. I simply can’t see her stay. She is all speed on pedigree. She is all speed on visual impression. And she has been a precocious two year old sprinter, who doesn’t look to have grown allot over the winter. Others make simply much more appeal.

UAE Guineas and Derby winner Local Time is an interesting runner. She won at Newmarket over 7f last season but has particularly excelled on the Dirt this year at Meydan. if she can translate this form to turf now, she is not out of it. That says more is required here and others may have more scope.

Aiden O’Brien’s sole runner is Weld Park Stakes winner Qualify. She was a good two year old but has to step up a good deal here, as well as has to overcome a trip that looks like stretching her stamina. Irish Rookie won a Listed race over course and distance last November. Much more is needed today and the ground is a question mark too. Kodiac filly Terror looks up against it over this new trip.

Leaves me with the biggest outsider of them all – Queen Nefertiti. This Galileo filly, trained my David Wachman appears to be pretty overpriced in my eyes. A 33/1 shot at the moment, you can get 1/4 odds and 4 places with Paddy Power – this looks big value. Why? Well, this filly won on her debut last year a good maiden in pretty taking style and was ever since thought to be a Guineas horse.

She made her seasonal reappearance at Dundalk recently, the day when I was there and to be honest I really liked what I saw. She looked excellent in the parade ring, clearly has trained on and finished a nice third in a hot little race while only beaten in a very tight finish. She travelled strongly throughout, but gave the impression of greenness in the closing stages when she seemed to be a bit intimidated by the other horses beside her. She was literally sandwiched in the final half furlong, and didn’t stick her neck out as a consequence.

I would expect Queen Nefertiti to come on a good bit for the run. She should have learned plenty as well and with trip and ground very likely to suit, this extremely well bred filly could be able to outrun her big price tag. She is my selection against the field, in a wide open renewal, where I probably most like the Gosden filly – but can’t see 7/1 as a particularly appealing price.

1.000 Guineas – Newmarket; 1m, Group 1
Queen Nefertiti @ 33/1 Paddy Power – 0.5pts e/w