Kissed By Angels Big Price For Oaks – Weekend Review

It’s amazing to think that both the English and French Guineas have already taken place this season, with the latter making the weekend headlines.

French Classics
It was almost a British success in the 1,000 Guineas at Longchamp when Martyn Meade’s Irish Rookie, went down by under 1l to the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained, Ervedya. The French favourite made it a career record of 5-7 by swooping late to catch Irish Rookie, leaving her trainer to target Royal Ascot’s Coronation Cup as her next target in June.

The likely faster ground at Ascot won’t be a problem, and the fact the time on the clock at Longchamp was faster than the 2,000 Guineas staged an hour earlier suggests Ervedya will take all the beating.

What Sunday’s race also told us is that this year’s English 1,000 Guineas form may be decent, as Irish Rookie – who is now 33/1 for the Oaks – was only sixth in that, some 7l behind Jim Bolger’s runner-up, Lucida, who could also head for the Coronation Stakes for a showdown with Ervedya.

Fabre Lands The Forecast
As for the French 2,000 Guineas, then the home nation dominated courtesy of Andre Fabre sending out the first two home in Make Believe and New Bay, respectively. Make Believe was nominated for the Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes as his most realistic next target, where he could go face-to-face with the English 1,000 Guineas winner, Gleneagles.

Ballydoyle were less fortunate in the French equivalent on Sunday, with Highland Reel unable to justify favoritism in finishing only sixth under Ryan Moore, with War Envoy in seventh. As a son of Galileo and out of a dam who stayed 1m4f, it’s possible a step up in trip may bring improvement for Highland Reel, who kept on at one pace on Sunday, though his odds for the Derby were pushed out to 20/1.

Ballydoyle Target Epsom
Ballydoyle have other options in the Derby, though, with John F Kennedy (9/1) entered in Wednesday’s Dante at York, while Kilimanjaro’s victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday, makes him a lively outsider at 33/1.

The Oaks Trial also took place at Lingfield, where William Haggas’ Toujours L’Amour came late to win narrowly, though she still has to be supplemented for the Oaks unlike Aidan O’Brien’s Wedding Vow who kept on into third. Wedding Vow is an interesting 25/1 shot for Epsom having been beaten by only 4l by the 1,000 Guineas winner, Legatissimo, at Gowran Park last month.

Leopardstown also staged a few trials on Sunday, with the Derrinstown Derby Trial being won by Ken Condon’s Success Days while Ballydoyle’s Kissed By Angels won the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial. The former still has to be supplemented for Epsom and needs good/soft ground to be at his best, while Kissed By Angels impressed on just her second outing, and is yet another Ballydoyle bullet aimed at the Oaks.

Kissed By Angels won this with some ease on just her second outing, though, and her breeding suggests she could defy her 14/1 odds at Epsom

being a daughter of Galileo and Lillie Langtry, both Group 1 winners.

Johnson Takes Early Lead
Finally, let’s not forget the jumps, as the betting to be champion jockey in Britain in 2015/16 has already seen plenty of action. With no Tony McCoy leading the table, as has been the tradition in past years, Richard Johnson (evens) currently leads with 10 winners, five ahead of Sam Twiston-Davies (7/4) and Tom Scudamore (5/1). It may only be a slight lead, but Johnson certainly means business in his bid to win a first title, and the chance to double stakes invested at evens look tempting.

*Prices correct at time of publication