Oaks hopes look solid

Niall Cronin

FIVE winners of the Epsom Oaks have been trained at Ballydoyle, twice by Vincent O'Brien and three times by Aidan O'Brien, and tomorrow the latter will saddle six runners as he attempts to win it for a fourth time.

After saddling both Guineas winners in England earlier this month, O'Brien is hoping to continue his domination of this season's Classics across the water with a strong attack on tomorrow's Epsom Oaks and odds-on favourite Camelot in Saturday's Epsom Derby.

Heading the sextet tomorrow is 1000 Guineas third Maybe, who despite being the well-fancied favourite at Newmarket, had to settle for third place on that occasion.

Newmarket threw up a surprise winner in Homecoming Queen on what was a dramatic day, in which a horse was lost in the stalls beforehand and the first two home in the race were the only two not previously loaded before the incident.

Better ground will be expected to bring more out of Maybe whose |form behind Homecoming Queen got dented a little at the Curragh last Sunday, but received a boost from |The Fugue, who won well recently and lines up in opposition for John Gosden and William Buick.

Maybe was a five-time winner as a juvenile, including the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, and is currently drifting out to 11/4 having previously been a solid 2/1 favourite.

York winner The Fugue is now emerging to challenge Maybe for favouritism in the 1m4f Classic, while the Johnny Murtagh-ridden Vow for William Haggas is a best-priced 5/1.

O'Brien has revealed that two-time winner Kissed, who won the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan last month, will only run should there be sufficient ease in the ground to suit the daughter of Galileo. Jockey Richard Hughes will have just his fifth ride for Aidan O'Brien in as many seasons when he partners Devotion in tomorrow's 14-runner field.

With Joseph O'Brien booked on the ante-post favourite and Ryan Moore riding Kissed, other Ballydoyle employees Colm O'Donoghue and Seamie Heffernan ride Betterbetterbetter and Was respectively, while Pat Smullen rides Twirl.

Johnny Murtagh is looking for |back-to-back wins in the race for trainer William Haggas after making all last year on Dancing Rain.

This time around it is Trial winner Vow who has caught a lot of attention as she is unbeaten in both her starts to date and certainly appears an each-way bet to nothing at around 5/1.

Johnny Murtagh will be busy tomorrow, as he will not only ride |Vow but also rides Moon Pearl in the concluding race at Epsom, before |flying to Pontefact where he is set to partner the David Brown-trained |New Pearl who has Royal Ascot on his agenda.

The Pearl Bloodstock-owned colt was a four-and-a-half length debut winner at Newmarket on Guineas weekend and should make the Royal meeting later next month, should tomorrow's assignment go according to plan.

Mikael Barzalona's booking on the Godolphin-owned Kailani in the Oaks has left Frankie Dettori without a ride in the race and led to some rumours of the jockey’s future, although they were quashed just as quick yesterday afternoon.

Dettori had won a maiden on the |filly before Barzalona steered her to win the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket and now retains the ride.

Barzalona caused a massive stir when celebrating his win aboard Pour Moi by standing upright in the saddle at the end of last year’s Epsom Derby, and did the same when winning the Dubai World Cup in March.

He is now one of three retained jockeys for Godolphin who will share the rides with Dettori, the third being Silvestre de Sousa.