Frankie and Enable primed for Oaks double
Frankie Dettori was deeply unfortunate to sit out Royal Ascot and he deserves Group One and Irish Classic glory this afternoon, which seems something of a formality in the form of Enable.
The Darley Irish Oaks favourite faced a foe in Rhododendron in the closing stages at Epsom of a formidable nature: indeed, the talk was that connections could not countenance defeat. Not only did the John Gosden-trained filly beat her, she demolished her.
This was a stunning performance from the daughter of Nathaniel, which won by five lengths, and she looks a certainty for Dettori today. What can beat her? Coronet, which is only 7/1 for tomorrow after a neck win at Royal Ascot, has nearly 16 lengths to find with her on Epsom running.
Rain Goddess has yet to meet Enable and is thus a little more interesting - yet the Pretty Polly runner-up has to improve markedly for an extra two furlongs, which seems rather improbable. It is 20/1 bar those three and justifiably.
Master Speaker is one of those steeds that can measure whether you see the glass as half-empty or half-full. He almost never wins, yet he tends to give his all and things might just fall into place today in the Tote Scurry Handicap.
However, trainer Martin Hassett - who is in charge of a mere handful of runners in Killenaule - may miss out. "The horse is great form, he has run well on all sorts of ground and he has never let us down," Hassett said.
"Every yard in the country would love to have him and he will not be far off. However, I might not be there as my son is playing hurling for Tipperary U-15s in Limerick!"
The Group Two Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes should go to Mark Prescott's Marsha. The daughter of Acclamation has it in the bag on ratings and, even in defeat, she acquitted herself with credit at Royal Ascot.
The other Group race, the Jebel Ali Silver Jubilee Anglesey Stakes, is a cracker for the class. The inexperience of Brother Bear cost him quite badly in the Coventry, and he may be a shade vulnerable at odds-on and preference is for the Jim Bolger-trained Theobald, a Teofilo-bred which looked a smart colt in a maiden triumph at Leopardstown.
Joseph O'Brien's Medal Of Honour may take the opening Club Godolphin Irish EBF Maiden, having run a game race in defeat at Gowran, with none of the others which have run making great appeal.
Now the ground has dried out, Cenotaph may be worth chancing in the K Club Handicap, though it is far from sure he has his old ability. The positive is Aidan O'Brien persevering.
The Boodles Ladies Derby Handicap is a special race for these riders and preference is for Zeftan, which has a good record at the Curragh for Adrian Keatley. The nightcap, the Heffernan Tyres Maiden should go to Ballydoyle's Air Supremacy, which was probably unlucky not to score at Bellewstown. John Oxx notably runs three of the five.