Epsom: Can Soul Sister Be Frankie's Last Dance?

Soul Sister | Getty Images


It still seems hard to imagine, given how long he has been omnipresent in British racing, but Friday's G1 Betfred Oaks will mark the penultimate Epsom Classic experience in the saddle for Frankie Dettori. It may also prove his best chance of going out in a blaze of glory, as Soul Sister (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) looks the more likely of his Friday and Saturday mounts to conjure that soon-to-be-missed flying dismount. Carrying the “Sariska” silks of Lady Bamford, the homebred left no one in any doubt that she is a top-class prospect when making a mockery of inflated odds in York's G3 Musidora S. last month.

“I was impressed because the filly quickened nicely and clocked a good time,” he said. I hope the trip won't be a problem, all the signs are good. She settled well and she finished the race strongly at York, so I believe that it will not be an issue. You don't really know until you try, but I think she will be fine.”

The Lion's Share

While Frankie prepares to bid farewell, Oisin Murphy is hoping his career can enjoy the same longevity and as far as the Oaks is concerned it is time to catch up with the outgoing legend on six wins in this Classic. David Howden's Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion) is taking the Ouija Board (GB) and Taghrooda (GB) route to this Classic, having won Newmarket's Listed Pretty Polly S. with a deal of authority. As nine of the last 10 renewals have gone to either Aidan O'Brien or John Gosden, she is at least from the right stable and if she has the stamina for this will be a danger to all.

Grounds For Concern

While Aidan O'Brien is convinced that Savethelastdance (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) is not a soft-ground specialist, the Listed Cheshire Oaks winner has to prove she can reproduce the same kind of performance on the liveliest surface she has encountered to date on a track that will test her versatility to the full. Both the Gosdens' runners have no flaws in that respect, so Ryan Moore will have to make sure he is not as far adrift early as he was at Chester. Those with bigger uncertainty hovering over them include Godolphin's Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Eternal Hope (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), who despite her obvious talent has yet to race on turf, and a clutch of unproven stayers. They include the Hunscote Stud colourbearer Caernarfon (GB) (Cityscape {GB}), surprisingly the only member of the cast to bring 1000 Guineas form into the mix having been fourth in the Newmarket Classic. “We will be taking on well-touted fillies who have done very well in their Oaks trials, but they have got to step up in class and we've already been and proven that we can mix it at that sort of level,” trainer Jack Channon said. “We just hope that the extra distance will elevate her a couple of places.”

Westover Primed For Epsom Return

Few would not concede that with a clear run Westover (GB) (Frankel {GB}) would have been at least second in last year's Derby and probably would have shaken up the winner, so his reappearance on the famous Surrey Downs is to be welcomed in Friday's G1 DahlBury Coronation Cup. Juddmonte's homebred went on to show what he could do in the G1 Irish Derby before a mix of over-exuberance and the effects of a busy schedule took their toll in the King George, as they did for that race's other flop Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) who joins him again. As well as showcasing his own talent here, the Ralph Beckett-trained 4-year-old also puts the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic success of Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) back into focus.

“It was a big run in Dubai, he likes good ground, we know that now,” Juddmonte's European racing manager Barry Mahon said. “He's a big horse with a knee action and we thought he'd go on softer ground, but I think the Arc showed us he can go on it fine but he's better on fast ground, so hopefully we get that and he can run a big race.”

Tunnes Of Ability

Coronation Cups have been won by overseas raiders several times before and following the exploits of his half-brother Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}), Holger Renz's Tunnes (Ger) (Guiliani {Ire}) is not one to be taken lightly. His 10-length victory in the G1 Grosser Preis von Bayern in November stands up to inspection and trainer Peter Schiergen is hoping this will lead to the Ascot feature in July in which his half-sibling was second. “If he runs well, we might plan to run him in the King George,” he said.

Big Sigh Of Relief

Thursday saw a final field of 11 declared for Sunday's €1.5-million G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, with good news for connections of likely favourite Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) as Yeguada Centurion's homebred sensation was drawn in two. Jaber Abdullah's G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Marhaba Ya Sanafi (Ire) (Muhaarar {GB}) is in four, while TDN Rising Star and supplementary entry Feed The Flame (GB) (Kingman {GB}) has been allocated stall six.

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