Oaks preview and top tips for Epsom from Newsboy on Friday
ZEYAADAH is fancied to give her jockey Jim Crowley a first taste of Classic glory with a victory in the Cazoo Oaks (4.30) at Epsom today.
The Roger Varian-trained daughter of Tamayuz emerged from her juvenile campaign in 2020 with a perfect 3-3 record after victories at Chelmsford City, Beverley and Newmarket.
But it was Zeyaadah’s first career defeat in Chester’s Listed Cheshire Oaks that really advanced her claims for the fillies’ Classic.
The race went to the Mark Johnston-saddled Dubai Fountain, who beat my selection by one length, with La Joconde, one of five horses representing Aidan O’Brien this afternoon, back in fourth.
But the result doesn’t tell anything like the full story.
Crowley, sporting the silks of his boss, the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, had yet to ask his mount for an effort when finding himself short of room on home turn two furlongs from the winning post.
Once finding clear water, Zeyaadah came home with gusto, but Franny Norton isn’t known as the King of the Roodee for nothing – and the cannily ridden Dubai Fountain was beyond recall.
Zeyaadah was attempting to give the winner 3lb – she carried a penalty as a result of her win in the Listed Montrose Stakes over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in October – and revenge is in store.
From a statistical perspective, a draw in stall one gives Crowley some thinking to do – but the 2016 champion jockey is the right man to come up with a plan.
O’Brien’s Santa Barbara heads the market after her fourth in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, but the favourite must reverse placings with Newmarket runner-up Saffron Beach.
Ballydoyle’s Snowfall enters the picture on her all-the-way score in York’s Group 3 Musidora Stakes – Zeyaadah’s stablemate Teona pulled her chance away in third, one place ahead of Mystery Angel – while those seeking to play at bigger odds could do worse than Sherbert Lemon.
Hollie Doyle’s partner beat Save A Forest for Lingfield Park’s Listed Oaks Trial – Ocean Road was third, Divinely fourth and Technique back in seventh – and still has more to offer.
Epsom selections for Friday
2.00 DUSKY PRINCE
3.10 AL AASY
3.45 VICTORY CHIME
4.30 ZEYAADAH (NAP)
5.10 MYSTERY SMILES
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