NO one knows for sure whether Oaks favourite Savethelastdance was in season at Chester – but if she was just imagine how explosive she might be with her mind on the day job!
Savethelastdance bids to give Ballydoyle barnstormer Aidan O’Brien an incredible 11th Betfred Oaks success. And she might just be the best he has yet in the Classic.
The Ryan Moore-ridden filly is certainly bred for the job, being by the master of sires Galileo, himself a Derby hero for O’Brien at Epsom.
That said, she started off in moderate fashion at Thurles over a mile, finishing fifth of eight in a maiden after being sent off unfancied at 17-2.
No one wanted her on her debut this term at Leopardstown either, but despite her odds of 20-1 she impressed with an over two length defeat of stable companion Boogie Woogie.
Success, though, in the Cheshire Oaks was on another level. Paddock experts suggested she was in season before the race, and when she dwelt at the start and raced like a snail for the first half a furlong it hardly looked like we would see something special.
But we did.
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Savethelastdance led two furlongs out and powered home by twenty two lengths. The clock suggested it was a brilliant run as well as the eye.
O’Brien has no idea if she was truly in season or not. But if she was, then she might still have loads more to offer.
I expect Savethelastdance to win the Oaks, and it’s not the strongest line up in terms of strength in depth with just eleven horses set to go to post.
Soul Sister, the Musidora heroine, goes for Frankie Dettori and John & Thady Gosden and looked very good at York, while I loved her stable companion Running Lion when she bolted up at Newmarket under Oisin Murphy.
Eternal Hope has done little wrong for Godolphin, but has to translate all-weather form to the grass.
The Oaks is the main event on ITV Racing today, although the five races the channel shows include the Group 1 Dahlbury Coronation Cup, a race that I fell in love with when I first started being gripped by the racing bug.
It’s great to see Rob Hornby back on Westover, and the pairing were of course an unlucky third in the Derby twelve months ago.
However, it might be tricky for Westover as none of the five runners are natural front runners so expect a tactical mess.
I suspect Hurricane Lane might go off in front after he was kicked on a long way out at Newmarket last time and seemed to enjoy it all.
William Buick rides the former St Leger hero and Arc third for Charlie Appleby who had looked out of sorts until that success last time. Hopefully he continues the revival here with the biggest worry being the ground – he’s often been at his best with cut.
It promises to be a cracking afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll be back with all my Derby news. Yeeehaaa!
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