Investec Derby Festival: Does Minding have Oaks at her mercy?
David Metcalf | May 18, 2016
Minding spearheads 24 left in Investec Oaks
Minding headlines 24 acceptors revealed today for the fillies’ classic, the Group 1 Investec Oaks on the first day of the Epsom Derby meeting on Friday, June 3rd.
The daughter of Galileo is the odds-on 4/7 to favourite with Coral, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, following a three-and-a-half-length victory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
She is bidding to become the 48th to complete the Guineas/Oaks double, the last being Kazzia in 2002.
Her trainer Aidan O’Brien has 10 entries left in the race, including Group 1 winner Ballydoyle who finished runner-up in the Guineas and Somehow who landed the Cheshire Oaks at Chester when last seen in action.
However, Minding is undoubtedly the number one hope for the Ballydoyle handler, who has already won the race five times.
Shortest-priced favourite in decades
The three-year-old is set to offer the shortest priced favourite in decades, but is Minding a worthy odds-on favourite to land the 1m 4f contest?
As a juvenile, Minding looked a potential superstar when winning three of her five starts – including two Group 1 contests.
In the last of those she put in a breathtaking display in the Dubai Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket when sauntering clear to win under a hands and heels ride to beat Nathra by 4 1/2 lengths.
That race was won in a very quick time, and had O’Brien ranking Minding up with the best juvenile fillies he had ever handled.
Guineas success simply sensational
Minding was sent off a heavily backed 11/10 favourite for the 1000 Guineas on the back of it, and her supporters never had an anxious moment.
After pressing the leaders, Minding took up the running two from home and pulled readily clear in the hands of Ryan Moore to beat Ballydoyle with far more in hand than the winning margin of 3 1/2 lengths suggests.
It was performance right out of the top drawer, and Minding travelled strongly throughout and was always in total control.
The big question now is whether Minding will be as effective over half a mile further in the Oaks.
Excellent temperament a big plus
She was certainly not stopping when stopping when hitting the line at Newmarket, but her dam Lillie Langtry never raced further than a mile.
However, Minding’s sire Galileo has produced a whole host of outstanding middle-distance performers and everything suggests that she should get the trip.
In many cases top class horses blessed with speed to win over a mile are often let down by refusing to settle when stepped up in trip, but Minding has an excellent temperament, settles well and has a high cruising speed.
Ideal attributes to win an Oaks
She is able to do things easily without using up vital energy, and also posses a devastating foot to quickly put a race to bed.
Those are the perfect attributes to win an Oaks, and with So Mi Dar now ruled out of the race through lameness the closest in the ante post Oaks betting to Minding are Ballydoyle and Turret Rocks.
Minding has nothing to fear from that pair judged on their running in the Guineas. Taking everything into account, Minding does look a worthy odds-on favourite to land a sixth Oaks for O’Brien.
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