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A Classic full house? Oppenheimer hoping Frankly Darling is final piece of jigsaw

Wed 24 Jun 2020

Leading owner Anthony Oppenheimer is keeping his fingers crossed Frankly Darling can provide his breeding operation with the final piece of the British Classic puzzle with victory in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Saturday week.

The now familiar Oppenheimer colours were first carried to Classic glory by On The House in 1000 Guineas of 1982, owned and bred by Anthony’s late father, Sir Philip.

The family’s Hascombe And Valiant Studs were also responsible for breeding Footstepsinthesand, who went on to win the 2000 Guineas for Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore in 2005, while Oppenheimer owned and bred the 2015 Derby hero Golden Horn.

The Hascombe-produced Harbour Law won the St Leger for Laura Mongan the following year, meaning the Oaks is the only British Classic to so far elude the team.

Frankly Darling looked a bit special at Royal Ascot (Pic: Focusonracing)
Frankly Darling looked a bit special at Royal Ascot (Pic: Focusonracing)

“I would absolutely love to win the Oaks – it’s the only British Classic we haven’t bred the winner of and it’s one of my big ambitions,” said Oppenheimer.

“It won’t be easy, of course, but let’s hope this filly can do it.”

The John Gosden-trained Frankly Darling will line up at Epsom as a leading contender, with the Newcastle maiden winner having since justified her tall reputation with an impressive display in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.

The daughter of Frankel is a best priced 11-4 to follow up on the famous Downs, making her the second favourite behind O’Brien’s 1000 Guineas heroine Love.

Oppenheimer added: “It was fantastic to watch (at Royal Ascot). We thought she was useful, but to see her win the way she did was very nice. In these times that we’re in, to have a big winner like that was really good.

“I think that (Oaks) is the intention at the moment, as long as the ground is suitable. We’ll see what the opposition is like nearer the time – there’ll be only one Hascombe horse and there might be 10 or more from Coolmore, which will be interesting!”

Protocols currently in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic do not permit owners to attend race meetings, but Oppenheimer has not entirely given up on the possibility of being at Epsom.

He said: “I have a suspicion some owners might be able to go racing on July 4. I would certainly love to be there and if there is any way I can be, I will be.”

Oppenheimer has enjoyed an incredible few years, with the 2015 Derby and Arc hero Golden Horn followed swiftly by dual Champion Stakes victor Cracksman, the top-class filly Star Catcher and now Frankly Darling.

He added: “We seem to have moved on from the colts to the fillies in the last couple of years. I think we’ll continue to have better fillies than colts for the next year or two, as I don’t think I have many very good colts coming through at the moment.

“We’ve been very lucky. We have a great team and to be able to have people like John Gosden training them, we feel very fortunate.”

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