Matt Brocklebank's latest long-range racing preview focuses on the Investec Oaks at Epsom, with a 20/1 fancy tipped for glory.
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CONTINGENT should be backed at 20/1 (General) for next month’s Investec Oaks at Epsom before her intended return to action in the Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh this weekend.
The daughter of Frankel has been held in the highest regard by trainer Dermot Weld for a long time and it was impossible not to sit up and take note after her clear-cut debut victory at Leopardstown in October.
The race hasn’t worked out extraordinarily well, but the second Alghabrah, one of two subsequent winners, did her bit for the form when scoring at Dundalk last month and the manner of Contingent’s victory was at the very least comfortable.
Her half-sister, Variable, was a Listed winner over a mile and a half so she's clearly bred to thrive over middle distances and Weld has taken his time with her ahead of a possible shot at the Oaks.
The weekend entry over 10 furlongs at the Curragh looks the perfect stepping-stone for Khalid Abdullah’s filly and while she’s bound to face at least one choicely-bred Aidan O’Brien representative, it’s a race that Weld has won four times in the past, including three in the last six years, and few will go into it with as much potential.
O'Brien clearly has a strong hand for the Oaks and it could easily get stronger still with Chester, York and Lingfield all on the horizon, though Happily (6/1) hardly blew people away when third in the 1000 Guineas.
She could stick to a mile for the time being and isn’t strictly bred for the Oaks distance, which may leave September (8/1) as the leading Ballydoyle hope.
She’s also in the Blue Wind and it will be a significant clash if she lines up alongside Contingent given her form at two, which included a slightly unlucky nose second to Guineas runner-up Laurens in the Fillies' Mile.
September, a daughter of Deep Impact out of Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn, should be right at home over a mile and a half at three, but at less than half the price of Contingent, she’s just passed over.
Lah Ti Dar (4/1) appears to lead the challenge for the home team on what we’ve seen so far, though there is time for plenty of thus far unheralded fillies to throw their hat into the ring and they include Nottingham maiden winner Kinaesthesia (40/1) and Lah Ti Dar’s stablemate Highgarden (25).
The latter was a shade disappointing when well-backed on her Sandown comeback but should be able to leave that effort behind as she moves up in trip and with John Gosden having saddled five of the past seven Musidora Stakes winners, Highgarden could yet state her case at York later in the month.
Posted at 1330 BST on 07/05/18.