Epsom Oaks Preview
The lightly-raced Skiffle is aiming to give Godolphin a fourth win in the G1 Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday, but His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's successful association with the fillies' Classic, inaugurated in 1779, goes way beyond that.
The Godolphin-owned winners have been Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995) and Kazzia (2002), but Sheikh Mohammed was also responsible for the outstanding Oh So Sharp (1985), Unite (1987), Diminuendo (1988), Snow Bride (1989), and Intrepidity (1993), all of whom carried his well-known maroon and white silks, with the notable exception of Snow Bride.
Trainer Charlie Appleby was keen for Skiffle to be supplemented as the signs he was getting from the filly at home were so positive. The daughter of the brilliant Dubawi won the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on May 19, beating The Black Princess and Play Gal in convincing style. Then, she started to blossom.
"She has run only twice, at Ascot and Goodwood, and the improvement she made from run to run was impressive. She has absolutely thrived since her win," Appleby reported.
"The likelihood is that the ground will be on the soft side, and she has never run on going like that. But if it becomes a true staying test, it should suit her because stamina is her forte," the trainer added.
The highest-rated in the nine-runner field is Minding, who set the bar very high when racing away with the G1 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1. A surprise runner in the Irish equivalent three weeks later, she reportedly banged her head coming out of the stalls and was narrowly defeated by Jet Setting.
Minding is a daughter of Galileo, who has been such an influence for class and stamina, particularly at Epsom. She sets the standard in an intriguing Classic.
Jim Bolger sends over Turret Rocks, who finished sixth in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas, which may have been a good seasonal starting point for this filly, who also finished second (to Ballydoyle) in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac, over one mile, on October 4.
Bolger is set to saddle Moonlight Magic for Godolphin in Saturday's G1 Investec Derby at Epsom.