Cheshire Oaks heroine Banoffee 16/1 for Epsom Oaks success
The last three Cheshire Oaks winners subsequently finished sixth, second and fourth in the Epsom Oaks at the beginning of the following month and Hughie Morrison’s Banoffee surprised her trainer and punters alike for the second race running when landing odds of 12/1 to take this year’s renewal. After her taking performance at Chester connections are strongly considering supplementing the filly for the Epsom classic for which she is currently rated a 16/1 shot with Coral.
Banoffee had been an unfancied 28/1 shot when landing a 1m2f Newbury maiden by a length and a quarter from Harbinger Lass back in April and demonstrated plenty of improvement on the Roodee where she beat the same rival by near-enough 10 lengths.
Chester is one of the tightest tracks in the country and racing up with the pace is a major advantage as a result, which makes the manner of Banoffee’s victory all the more impressive. Last early on and seventh as they passed the 2f pole on the bend, she flew up the inside to win comfortably from Gertrude Versed, a half-sister to Gertrude Bell, fourth in the Oaks won by Snow Fairy.
When asked after the race whether she was a potential Oaks filly, jockey Kieron Fallon said: ”For sure” adding ”the way she quickened, off a fast gallop, she has to be really smart.”
A daughter of Hurricane Run – a winner of the Irish Derby, Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – she has some fine stayers genes to power home at Epsom over 1f further than the 1m3f Cheshire Oaks trip.
Trainer Hughie Morrison has recent experience of top class staying fillies with Shirocco Star, who was extremely unlucky to finish second in both the English and Irish Oaks last term.
He looks to have another excellent chance on his hands should Banoffee be supplemented and further improvement can be expected. Having swished her tail in the early stages she was a little over keen to get on with things and will likely settle better next time.
Morrison bemoaned the fact that the cold winter this term had meant he has yet to put Banoffee through full work on grass and with better weather and a better understanding of the ability of his filly under his belt the East Ilsley handler can mastermind an Oaks assault for the second year running.