Ground holds key to Newbury winner Natavia's tilt at Investec Oaks

Fri 26 May 2017

By Oliver Brett

Khalid Abdullah, whose sole Investec Oaks win came with the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Reams Of Verse in 1997, could have two live contenders for the Epsom Classic next week.

While the John Gosden-trained Chester Vase winner Enable has seemed certain to line up for some time, Natavia entered the picture at a late stage when sluicing through soft ground six days ago and winning a Listed contest at Newbury by almost four lengths.

Trained by Roger Charlton, she is currently fifth in the betting for the Oaks at a best-priced 14-1, with Enable second behind Rhododendron at 7-2.

However, Natavia's chance of appearing at Epsom could hinge on there being some cut in the ground.

Speaking to Racing UK, Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager for Prince Khalid, said: "We are definitely looking at the Oaks for Natavia. She's come out of Newbury fine and in good shape so we're very pleased about that.

"It was only her second start and it was in soft going which you have to say is a sign when you are taking form guides for that because it was slightly specialist going and she went well on it.

"If it's good ground at Epsom, we'd look at the forecast. She got beaten first time out quite narrowly at Newmarket [19 April, good to firm] and probably it was fast enough for her then so going into a Classic everything has got to be spot on. The intention is to look at the Oaks and if it makes sense then she'll run."

Natavia, from the first crop of Nathaniel and a half sister to the 2006 Sun Chariot winner Spinning Queen, was unraced as a two-year-old unlike Enable, who is also by Nathaniel but is a Juddmonte homebred.

Frankie Dettori could ride either Enable or the 8-1 chance Coronet at Epsom. The Italian-born jockey steered the latter, also trained by Gosden but owned by Denford Stud, to an encouraging third place in the Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville on May 14.

Lord Grimthorpe said: "Naturally I would hope we have Frankie on board but I'm sure Prince Faisal Salman would like him on his filly. She ran a blinder in France."


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