Dual Classic heroine Love to face five rivals in Darley Yorkshire Oaks

Tue 18 Aug 2020

Aidan O’Brien’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks winner Love is the star name among six runners declared for Thursday’s Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

While she might not have headed into the winter with as big a reputation as some of her predecessors at Ballydoyle, she has been the dominant three-year-old filly this season by some distance.

A four-and-a-half-length win in the Guineas was followed up by an even more impressive nine-length demolition job in the Oaks at Epsom.

With dual Yorkshire Oaks heroine Enable being saved for the September Stakes at Kempton by John Gosden, Love is likely to go off at prohibitive odds on the Knavesmire.

One Voice went close in the Nassau Staks last month

Despite Enable’s non-participation, Gosden still runs two very smart fillies in a contest that forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Frankly Darling, winner of the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and third in the Oaks when she reportedly failed to handle the track, is joined by stablemate Franconia, winner of both her starts this season including a Listed race at York last time out.

In the absence of Frankie Dettori, who has stayed in France following his weekend heroics due to the quarantine regulations, Robert Havlin will ride Frankly Darling, with James Doyle on Franconia.

Jessica Harrington’s One Voice is back in Britain having pushed Fancy Blue close in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. She steps up to a mile and a half for the first time and Tom Marquand retains the ride.

Harrington said: “We were delighted with One Voice’s run in the Nassau and she came out of the race really well. Fancy Blue had beaten my filly [Alpine Star] in the Prix de Diane in and so we kind of had a bit of a line, and we felt our filly would improve again for going up in trip, which she did.

“The time before, at The Curragh, it was one of those stupid things. She got into a pocket and couldn’t get out, so we put a line through that. She didn’t have a hard race and that’s why we went from there to Goodwood.

“She’s a filly that has improved all year and her pedigree suggests she should be even better over a mile and a half. I know it’s a big ask with Love in there but you have to try. Tom [Marquand] got on well with her at Goodwood and I’m delighted to use him again.”

Manuela De Vega has some smart Group One form to her name and has won both the Pinnacle Stakes and the Lancashire Oaks this year for Ralph Beckett. As the only four-year-old in the field, she must concede 9lb to each of her rivals, while any rain would aid her cause.

The field is completed by Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, who made all to win a Listed race at Salisbury recently.

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