Rhododendron The Pick Of The Bunch At Epsom
Racing isn’t easy. Seriously, it’s not. It’s just sometimes Aidan O’Brien has a habit of making it look that way.
So when he wins the Epsom Oaks on Friday and continues on his clean sweep of the most prestigious races around, just don’t be surprised.
Ballydoyle In Bloom
Some people will forever feel that Rhododendron was an unlucky loser in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, others will have had their mind changed after Winter’s Curragh victory last weekend, while there is many that felt Winter was always a worthy winner of the English 1,000 Guineas. Whatever your take on it, Winter certainly didn’t do the form any harm last Sunday at Irish racing’s HQ and having been primed for Epsom ever since filling the runner-up spot at Newmarket,
expect Rhododendron to add a Classic to her portfolio in the Oaks.
O’Brien saddles three of the 10 and John Gosden will send out the impressive Chester winner Enable to try and halt O’Brien’s domination but it just won’t be enough as Rhododendron is too good for this field and the 8/11 on offer is a bit of steal.
A winner of the Fillies Mile last season and then staying on all the way to the line at Newmarket, this daughter of Galileo definitely won’t lack stamina over the extra half a mile on Friday and her form is proven at Group 1 level and there for all to see.
Sobetsu wasn’t mapped behind Rhododendron in that Fillies’ Mile but that run can be ignored as it clearly wasn’t a true reflection and despite her relatively quick reappearance following Group 1 winning exploits in France, she can still be expected to run a big race and probably give Rhododendron most to do this time for Charlie Appleby but it’s a case of another Classic day and another Classic win for Aidan O’Brien, his team and ‘the lads’.
Bill To Relish If Rain Arrives
Before the Classic action, there’s the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom on Friday and the full brothers Highland Reel and Idaho are going to do battle here alongside US Army Ranger and in any eyes that is a formidable attack on the race.
However, a chance is taken on Godolphin’s Hawkbill to come out on top.
There’s the threat of rain around Epsom on Friday and according to the BBC it could be “torrential” which would really play into Hawkbill’s favour.
The four-year-old is clearly very talented but at times has proven very frustrating to follow, yet soft ground seems to bring out the best in him. His form tailed off at the end of last season but that was after a very good start to the campaign and if the rain does arrive 10/1 would look quite big about a horse who can mix it with the best on his day and should get through the conditions better than some rivals.
Course And Distance Winner Jumps Off The Page
When looking down through the card at the opening day of the Epsom meeting one horse stood out. In the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap over a mile and a quarter, the bottom weight, Imshivalla is priced up at 8/1 and that looks too big.
The six-year-old is a course and distance winner from this meeting last year and represents strong connections in Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan and will just have 8st4lbs on his back for this assignment.
It’s a trappy race and there’s no doubt that the combination of being a course and distance winner and 8/1 make him much more appealing than his recent form, but he runs in this race off a mark 8lbs lower than he was when winning this race last year and how often do we see horses not handle this place so the fact that he does is a plus straight away.
You just couldn’t be lumping on him with his recent form but again…
if the rain arrives his chances will be helped and he’s certainly worth a little each-way wager.
Hawkbill (10/1) – 3.10 Epsom
Imshivalla e/w (8/1) – 3.45 Epsom
Rhododendron (8/11) – 4.30 Epsom
*Prices correct at time of publication.