Matt Chapman voices his opinion on the upcoming Oaks at Epsom where Rhododendron looks a certainty with the opposition not catching the eye so far
THE Rhododendron is a flower that signals beware and caution.
But as far as the Oaks is concerned she’s beginning to look like a good thing.
I’m stunned Rhododendron is still 2-1 for the fillies’ Classic at Epsom with just under two weeks to go.
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The more I watch the 1,000 Guineas the more I’m convinced Aidan O’Brien’s star would have beaten Winter with anything like a clear run.
As it was, she was only beaten two lengths, having been squeezed out when switched sharply left over a furlong out.
Rhododendron always looked like a staying prospect as a juvenile, landing the Fillies’ Mile in cracking style.
And her pedigree also shouts a mile and a half will be right up her street, being by Galileo out of Halfway To Heaven, who won the Group 1 Nassau at Goodwood over a mile and a quarter.
That combination shouts ‘mile-and-a-half winner at Epsom’.
But away from Rhododendron’s form and breeding, what about the opposition, which diminished even further this week when the French Oaks was named as the target for easy Musidora winner Shutter Speed.
Rhododendron already towers over her rivals.
Shutter Speed’s trainer John Gosden holds the key to the leading oppostion, as the trainer of Enable and Coronet.
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Enable was a decent winner of the Cheshire Oaks, but beat Alluringly less than two lengths. The latter
had only won a Tipperary maiden.
Surely Rhododendron would smash up Alluringly.
Coronet has been nibbled at in the markets over the last few days, and looked good when beating Cunco in Listed company last season.
She was beaten nearly five lengths in the Group 1 Saint-Alary last weekend, but might still be the improver, as she was never placed to challenge in France and ran on well.
ONE of the classiest trainers is Hughie Morrison, but he’s also one of the most worried after it was revealed a horse he trains failed a dope test.
I’d put my life on the line Morrison has done nothing wrong.
He has been one of the most vocal advocates of clean racing.
Maybe it’s because of that outspoken nature someone targeted him?
What trainer can keep an eye on horses 24 hours a day? Perhaps the BHA should be forced to prove he is guilty.
If he has done wrong sling him out.
But I’d be shocked if he has.
An extra two furlongs could be right up her street.
It would be folly to ignore Winter. But Rhododendron has always been considered a better filly, and her Guineas defeat has done nothing to dent that.
She looks a cracking wager at 2-1. I could see her going off even shorter on the day.