In-form trainer Ralph Beckett accounts for two of the 16 terrific entries for the £93,000 Group Two Lancashire Oaks, which headlines an exciting seven-race card at Haydock Park on Old Newton Cup Day, Saturday, July 5.
The Hampshire-handler has entered Talent (5/1 with Boylesports.com )and Secret Gesture (8/1), who recorded a memorable one-two for the stable in last season’s premier fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs.
Talent’s exploits last year also included second to subsequent Gold Cup hero Leading Light in the final Classic, the St Leger at Doncaster. The four-year-old finished fifth on her seasonal debut in the Group One Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs on June 7.
Secret Gesture is yet to score at Group level, but was placed in three Group One contests last term and returned this season with a good second to Ambivalent in the Group Two Middleton Stakes at York in May. The daughter of Motivator registered her first success for over a year when taking the 10-furlong Listed Warwickshire Oaks at Nottingham on June 16.
Beckett said today: “Talent and Secret Gesture are both possible runners in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks. We will see how we go and it will depend on the ground and weather.
“Secret Gesture came out of her race at Nottingham in good shape. She had to go through a tight gap that day and there wasn’t much room, but she came out of it like a cork from a bottle – she shot through it.
“I am happy with her and the race on Saturday looks like an obvious target. I don’t think the step back up to 12 furlongs will be a problem. She got it well at Epsom and in the Yorkshire Oaks last year.
“I think Talent has come on for her run at Epsom. She will need to, but I think she has and I wasn’t entirely happy with the way our horses were running when she ran there. We went into a bit of a lull, as happens to all of us, but they are running better now and hopefully that will come to pass if she runs at the weekend.”
Also among the other entries for the 12-furlong contest is Seal Of Approval(James Fanshawe, 4/1), who rounded off last season with a decisive four-length victory in the Group One QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, and Group One-winning Italian import Charity Line (Marco Botti, 14/1).
John Gosden’s trio include the unbeaten pair of Pomology (7/1) andSultanina (7/1), who denied stablemate Freedom’s Light (12/1) in the Group Three Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance on May 31, while Richard Hannon could saddle Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes runner-upLustrous (8/1).
bet 365 Lancashire Oaks – bet365 bet (e/w ¼ 123):
4/1 Seal Of Approval; 5/1 Talent; 7/1 Pomology, Sultanina; 8/1 Lustrous, Secret Gesture, 10/1 Astonishing; 12/1 Freedom’s Light, Silk Sari; 14/1 Charity Line, Madame Chiang, We’ll Go Walking; 20/1 Moment In Time; 25/1 Special Meaning, Wall Of Sound; 28/1 Rock Noir.
The most valuable race on the Haydock Park card is the £100,000 bet365 Old Newton Cup, which has attracted 33 entries, though only17 can run. Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani has landed the famous 12-furlong heritage handicap four times and is hoping to build on that with Havana Cooler, who was third to Arab Spring in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot earlier this month. The four-year-old is bet365’s 6/1 favourite.