Charlie Appleby to test Sobetsu in Oaks at Epsom

Wed 31 May 2017

By staff

Group One-winning filly Sobetsu has been declared for the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday and will be ridden by William Buick.

The daughter of Dubawi was an impressive winner of the Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville on her seasonal reappearance earlier this month, after which connections hinted the French Oaks at Chantilly would be her Classic target.

However, with conditions at Epsom currently suitable, she is in line for a first appearance over a mile and a half.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said: "She's been declared and all the indications are that on Friday it could be perfectly good ground.

"We know she appreciates a bit of cut and she doesn't want it too quick, but we wouldn't want it too testing on her first start over a mile and a half either.

"Good ground over a mile and a half should be fine for her and who's to say in two weeks' time for the French Oaks it won't be quick ground?

"We'd look a bit silly if that was the case and we'd missed the Oaks at Epsom when the ground was suitable.

"I wouldn't rule out doing the two. With the races over two weeks apart that wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility."

Aidan O'Brien's Rhododendron heads the final field of ten in the £500,000 Classic and is now a best-priced 10-11 to hand the trainer a seventh winner of the fillies' Classic. Joining the favourite are stable companions Pocketfullofdreams and Alluringly, who was backed on Wednesday according to Coral

Alluringly was clipped from 14-1 in to 20-1.

"Rhododendron remains odds-on favourite for Oaks glory, but her stablemate Alluringly has attracted each-way support today," the firm's David Stevens said. "It was not unlike the money we saw for Winter ahead of the 1,000 Guineas - suggesting Aidan O'Brien may have more than one string to his Classic bow on Friday.

John Gosden will have two runners in his bid to secure his second victory in the Oaks after Taghrooda with Coronet, who was third to Sobetsu in France, and Enable, who beat Alluringly in the Cheshire Oaks and is the shortest-priced British runner, both declared.

The Oaks will have international representation, too, with US raider Daddys Lil Darling set to run for Kenny McPeek.  

Natavia, who won the Haras de Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes, at Newbury this month, will represent Roger Charlton, while Isabel De Urbina and Horseplay will run for Oaks-winning trainers Ralph Beckett and Andrew Balding respectively. 

The famous colours of yellow and black colours of the late Louis Freedman were carried to success in the 1974 Oaks when the Peter Walwyn-trained Polygamy came home in front under Pat Eddery. Horseplay will carry the same silks, now registered under the Cliveden Stud banner, oni Friday.

Horseplay, a daughter of Cape Cross out of Listed winner Mischief Making, entered the picture for the Investec Oaks when a game winner of the 10-furlong Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on May 7, when she battled well to defeat Isabel De Urbina by three quarters of a length.  

Cliveden Stud's Philip Freedman said today: "I am obviously delighted that Horseplay has got to the Investec Oaks.  

"It has been what we hoped would happen since she won her maiden at Nottingham (by 13 lengths in October last year).

"There is an awful long way between October and June and on form you would have to say that the favourite (Rhododendron) looks as if she is going to be incredibly hard to beat.  

"I think we might be suited by slightly softer ground but it should be perfect ground on Friday. 

"She has won on good to firm and it is not that I think she needs soft ground - it is more that I think softer ground might have made it a bit harder for the class horse in the race. 

"I am not convinced her dam stayed two miles, although she was second in a Sagaro Stakes, but she was certainly at her best from a mile to a mile and six. Her full-brother (Devilment) only won over a mile two and a mile three, he was second over a mile and six. Stamina isn't an issue."

When asked about his memories of Polygamy's success in 1974, Freedman continued: "I think the thing that the race is most remembered for is Dibadale's saddle slipping (Dibadale was third past the post but subsequently disqualified as Willie Carson couldn't weigh in).

"I was actually playing second 11 cricket at my prep school that day - I don't think I made double figures!"



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