17 Horses have been declared for Friday’s Investec Oaks at Epsom and in what looks very open Classic it is worth taking on the first two in the betting, whose combined odds of evens offers nothing in the way of value.
Granted, both Taghrooda and Marvellous were impressive in winning their most recent starts but the form of the former’s Pretty Polly victory has hardly worked out while the Aidan O’Brien filly’s Irish 1000 Guineas victory over Lightning Thunder does not entitle the daughter of Galileo to be as short as 11-4 to follow up at Epsom over an additional half a mile.
Trial winners Madame Chiang, Marsh Daisy, Volume and Tarfasha are all capable of making their presence felt in the race this year run in honour of Sir Henry Cecil, but at the 9-1 available with Coral the form of the Godolphin filly Ihtimal surely entitles the daughter of Shamardal to go close on Friday in the hands of a rejuvenated Kieren Fallon.
The filly was not far short of the very best of her sex as a juvenile and finished the season with a creditable third behind the ill-fated Chriselliam in Newmarket’s Shadwell Fillies Mile but sent to Dubai for the winter she really came into her own winning on both her starts, the second being a ten length victory in the UAE Oaks over one mile one and a half furlongs.
Dropping back in trip for the Qipco 1000 Guineas at headquarters Ihtimal found only Miss France and Lightning Thunder too good and looks certain to appreciate the step back up in trip at Epsom.
Whether a mile and a half rather than a mile and a quarter turns out to be her optimum distance remains to be seen but there is no reason to believe she won’t stay and if that proves to be the case she has the best form on offer and can provide her connections with their first Oaks since Kazzia in 2002.