Tuesday 12 December 2017

Harrington's Jack can be too quick in Oaks

Jessica Harrington could clinch an unprecedented triumph at Epsom today
Jessica Harrington could clinch an unprecedented triumph at Epsom today
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Jessica Harrington has broken down her share of barriers as one of the most influential female jumps trainers of her time, and she could mastermind another historic success at Epsom today.

The erudite Co Kildare handler's Jack Naylor is among a potent quintet of Irish raiders on duty in the Investec Oaks. At Newmarket, the first two Classics of the season went for export, and Legatissimo, David Wachman's 1,000 Guineas winner, is the market leader to extend that 100pc record in this afternoon's £450,000 12-furlong event.

With the exceptional Ryan Moore - who has already completed a colts double by winning the 2,000 Guineas and its Irish equivalent aboard Gleneagles - booked to ride, her chance is improved considerably.

No filly has won both the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks since Kazzia in 2002, and Legatissimo's prospects might not be helped by her draw in stall one, which hasn't produced the Oaks winner since Salsabil did the double back in 1990.

With Moore's assistance, Wachman's daughter of Danehill Dancer is a serious contender, and there is nothing in her pedigree to suggest that she won't stay the longer trip.

A similar comment applies to the trio charged with adding to Aidan O'Brien's quartet of Oaks wins, with Together Forever possibly the most appealing under Joseph O'Brien after her encouraging second to the race-fit Star Of Seville at York.

Indeed, both Together Forever and Star Of Seville represent each-way value at double-figure odds here.

However, Jack Naylor gets the nod to provide Harrington with an unprecedented triumph for a female trainer in either of the Epsom Classics.

Fran Berry, Jack Naylor's jockey, is also seeking a breakthrough victory in one of the elite three-year-olds' Group Ones. He opted for the stable's race-fit Bocca Baciata over the daughter of Champs Elysees in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and there was little between them on the day.

Under a sympathetic Richard Hughes steer, Jack Naylor stayed on to deny Bocca Baciata for fourth. It was a really promising turn, and the form ties in with that of the Newmarket race on line through Malabar, which was beaten around six lengths in both.

On that basis, Jack Naylor will need step up here, but she has the scope to do so. Moreover, her performances as a juvenile suggest that she will be more than equal to the task, given that she gave 5lb and a decisive three-quarter length beating to Legatissimo over a mile at the Curragh in August.

As was the case when she finished third to Found and the French 1,000 Guineas heroine Ervedya at Longchamp in October and at the Curragh 12 days ago, the trip looked short of her optimum. With that in mind, then, she is fancied to relish today's stamina test and record a famous success.

Another that has plenty of appeal is Arod in the Diomed Stakes. Peter Chapple-Hyam's four-year-old improved for the drop to this mile trip in the Lockinge, running a gallant race to be third behind the top-rated duo of Night Of Thunder and Toormore.

If Arod reproduces that level of performance under Andrea Atzeni now that he drops to Group Three company, he really should be winning.

Earlier, Moore could go close on the outsider Amulet in the opener and aboard Abseil in the Investec Mile. Michael Stoute's 2014 winner is 7lb higher now, but he runs especially well at this time of the year.

Irish Independent

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