Of the 61 fillies still engaged in the Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom on June 3, a remarkable 16 are trained by legendary Irish handler Aidan O’Brien, including the red-hot favourite Minding, a brilliant winner of the Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1. But there is doubt amongst the media that Minding will run in the Oaks with So Mi Dar in the race, both belong to the same owner.
Update News – So Mi Dar will be missing the Oaks as she is lame. So we are safe to consider Minding to be in the Oaks.
Minding Investec Oaks Odds
At the time of writing Minding can still be backed at 5/4 for the second fillies’ classic of the season. A win at Epsom over the mile-and-a-half of the ridiculously undulating Surrey course would potentially set-up the daughter of Galileo for a crack at the Triple Crown, and a bid for the St Leger at Doncaster in September.
No filly has landed the three British classics since the mighty Sir Henry Cecil-trained Oh So Sharp went into the history books way back in 1985. She appears to have a real chance of achieving such a feat.
Minding looked top class when she slammed her rivals on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket earlier this month, showing she had trained on in no uncertain fashion having ended last term as the leading juvenile filly as a result of her nonchalant waltz to victory in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies’ Mile over the same course and distance. In the Guineas she always travelled best and simply stormed away from stable companions Ballydoyle and Alice Springs to give O’Brien a memorable 1-2-3 in the big race.
The big question is, ‘Will Minding run in the Oaks?’
On most evidence to date this season it is clear that the three-year-old fillies are better than the colts, and an audacious bid to try and beat the boys at their own game and become the first filly in exactly 100 years to win the Derby is not at all out of the question. Indeed, it is not only connections of Minding who have mentioned the possibility.
Contender So Mi Dar
John Gosden’s So Mi Dar beat the boys in the Epsom Investec Derby Trial at Epsom in April to receive an automatic entry into the Derby, and the form of that race could not have worked out better.
The runner-up, Humphrey Bogart, went on to win the Lingfield Derby Trial, while third-placed Viren’s Army stuck admirably to his guns to get the best of a tough battle for the Group 3 Dee Stakes at Chester, another noted Derby trial.
So Mi Dar, owned and bred by Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber, then arrived at York to tackle her own sex in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes and put up a tremendous performance, slamming some decent fillies, amongst whom 1000 Guineas fourth Fireglow did best of the rest in being comprehensively beaten four lengths into second place, giving the form a rock solid look. So Mi Dar is a daughter of the outstanding racemare Dar Re Mi and is bred, like Minding, to be a champion.
Minding or So Mi Dar at the Oaks?
These two tremendous fillies already have the Oaks market to themselves with Minding offered at 5/4, and So Mi Dar at 11/4. It’s 14/1 bar the pair.
If either of them were to run in the Derby – and pundits suggest that Minding is less likely because the Coolmore-Ballydoyle partners would want one of their colts to have a chance of winning the Derby and becoming a hugely valuable stallion – they could easily start favourite against the likes of Wings of Desire, US Army Ranger, and the rest.
Update News 18th, May – So Mi Dar will miss the Investec Oaks as she is lame, claimed Gosden.
All will doubtless become clearer closer to the big race itself when a final decision about the destination of these two female superstars will be made.
3 Ante-post Oaks Race Selections and Picks
1. If you’re looking for value in the ante-post Oaks market then O’Brien’s Somehow, winner of the Cheshire Oaks at Chester recently, could be interesting at 25/1 (each-way). She was green as grass for much of the race but knuckled down in the home straight and actually won with more in hand than the winning margins suggests.
2. O’Brien’s Ballydoyle (14/1), second in the 1000 Guineas, is out of Misty For Me who was high-class at middle distances as well as a mile, and has definite place prospects once again.
3. Trainer Ralph Beckett has a fine record in the Oaks – he won it in 2008 with Look Here and again in 2013 with Talent – and of his entries Diamonds Pour Moi, beaten by a length at Chester by Somehow, could well improve significantly on what she achieved on that first run of the campaign. At 40/1 there would be worse each-way bets in this year’s fascinating Oaks.
In the News
 bbc.com, So Mi Dar: John Gosden-trained filly to miss Oaks at Epsom, 2016