Weld’s Tarfasha and Gosden’s Taghrooda big Oaks contenders

Top fillies possess progressive profile required to land prestigious Epsom Classic

Dermot Weld: Does not think stamina or camber of the track will be a problem for Tarfasha. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Dermot Weld: Does not think stamina or camber of the track will be a problem for Tarfasha. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

It is nearly five years since Awzaan gave owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum his last Group One win in Britain but he has two big chances in today’s Investec Oaks, with Taghrooda and Tarfasha carrying his blue and while silks at Epsom.

The John Gosden-trained Taghrooda shot to the head of the betting for the Classic after a dominant display in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on just her second start.

Unfortunately for the daughter of Sea The Stars that form has been repeatedly let down, but she could hardly have won any easier.

Over in Ireland Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha claimed the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, a race in which 2012 winner Was met with defeat before springing a Classic surprise. But the team are praying that the forecast rain hits Epsom after the race.

“We hope the forecast is correct for Tarfasha. She needs good ground but is going the right way. She’s a nice staying filly in the making,” said the owner’s racing manager Angus Gold.

“As for Taghrooda, everyone has crabbed the form and of course you’d love to see it work out but it doesn’t mean she’s not progressive. Sometimes the style [of victory] is more important. Whether she is good enough we will see, but she’s potentially a very nice mile-and-a-half filly,” he added.

Smart Gosden runner Weld said of Tarfasha: “She’s a lovely filly, she’s very balanced with a good action. Hopefully, she can make it all the way to the top in time.

I don’t think stamina will be a problem, or the track. She won easy in Galway as a two-year-old, she handled the hill and came round the bend well. She’s progressive.”

Gosden has never won the Oaks, but Taghrooda looks to present him with his best chance of doing so to date.

“She is a very nice filly. People are quite correct to question the form [of her six-length win in the Pretty Polly]. I think the second [Jordan Princess] is a decent filly but she didn’t handle the testing ground next time at Goodwood and the third filly is pretty moody and did not run great in a Newbury trial,” he said.

“You win by six lengths and it is not your fault if the others do not go on. I feel the step up in trip will help her. However, I think the Oaks is a race with great depth, whereas Australia showed form way ahead of anything else in the Guineas for the Derby. Taghrooda’s form ties in very nicely with the filly [Marsh Daisy] who won the Height of Fashion Stakes [at Goodwood],” he added.

Challenging Taghrooda at the head of the betting is Aidan O’Brien’s Marvellous, relatively unconsidered until shooting clear to win the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh in heavy ground.

Marvellous to get trip That performance suggested

the Ballydoyle filly would have no trouble with an extra half a mile, although despite being by Galileo she is out of a Cherry Hinton winner.

“There’s a lot of speed in Marvellous’ pedigree, but she’s by Galileo and they stay well,” said O’Brien.

Joseph O’Brien is on board at Epsom. “She won well in the Irish 1,000 Guineas . . . she’s in with a fighting chance,” he said.

Snow Sky will not run in tomorrow’s Derby at Epsom after failing to recover from a sore joint. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt emerged as a Classic contender when he won the Lingfield Derby Trial.

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