The Investec Oaks takes place this afternoon, the first time ever the fillies’ Classic is held on the same day as the Investec Derby.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Love (Ryan Moore), winner of the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, heads the field of 8 in the 1m 4f race, as she steps up to the middle distance trip for the first time.
The daughter of Galileo bids to become the 48 filly to completed the Qipco 1000 Guineas-Investec Oaks double, with another O’Brien-trained runner, Minding, being the most recent to achieve the feat in 2016.
As well as the Love, O’Brien also saddles the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes second Ennistymon (Séamie Heffernan) and Passion (Pádraig Beggy), as the Tipperary-based handler bids to improve on his record as the most successful current trainer in the Investec Oaks with seven victories – Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015), Minding (2016) and Forever Together (2018).
British champion trainer John Gosden has won two of the latest three runnings of the Investec Oaks – Enable (2017) and Anapurna last year, and on Saturday he and Frankie Dettori again combine, as Frankly Darling, an impressive winner of the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes (ahead of O’Brien’s Ennistymon) over a mile and a half at Royal Ascot, leads Gosden’s challenge.
Gosden has also entered the Lope De Vega filly Tiempo Vuela (Martin Harley). She was a winner on her only juvenile start at Newcastle in 2019 but was unplaced when running freely in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on 7th June.
Trainer Roger Varian is double handed in the race with Gold Wand (Andrea Atzeni) and Queen Daenerys (William Buick). Gold Wand, a daughter of 2015 Investec Derby winner Golden Horn, won a 10-furlong maiden at Newbury on 11th June while Queen Daenerys was runner-up on her return to action in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on 7th June.
Completing the entries is Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes fourth Bharani Star for Peter Chapple-Hyam, with Oisín Murphy on board the Sea The Stars filly. The trainer, who is based in Newmarket, has had seven previous Investec Oaks runners, with his best result being third with Oakmead in 1993
The Investec Oaks (Group 1)
3.40pm, Epsom Downs, Saturday, 4 July, 2020. 1m 4f 6y. £250,000 Total Prize Fund.
Stalls number in brackets
1) (2) Bharani Star (GER) (Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited) Peter Chapple-Hyam 3-9-00 Oisín Murphy
2) (4) Ennistymon (IRE) (Evie Stockwell) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-00 Séamie Heffernan
3) (3) Frankly Darling (Anthony Oppenheimer) John Gosden 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori
4) (8) Gold Wand (IRE) (Mohamed Khalid Abdulrahim) Roger Varian 3-9-00 Andrea Atzeni
5) (5) Love (IRE) (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-00 Ryan Moore
6) (1) Passion (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-00 Pádraig Beggy
7) (6) Queen Daenerys (IRE) (H.H. SH Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa) Roger Varian 3-9-00 William Buick
8) (7) Tiempo Vuela (A E Oppenheimer and Sophie) John Gosden 3-9-00 Martin Harley