Tony Calvin: Ballydoyle third-string to Qualify as a lively Oaks outsider

Will Aidan O'Brien's third-string cause a hugh shock in Friday's Epsom Oaks?
Will Aidan O'Brien's third-string cause a hugh shock in Friday's Epsom Oaks?

Tony Calvin returns with his regular column looking at the weekend's antepost races, and with one Oaks selection already sitting pretty our man is keen to get a huge price outsider on his side at triple-figure prices...

"Clearly, no-one is going overboard about that run, but if that did hint that she was on the road back, then 100-1+ quotes about a filly that was sent off at 6-1 in Santa Anita, and 12-1 for Newmarket, are well worth taking. Especially as she is bred to be suited by the big step up in trip."

Back Qualify at 110.0109/1 for the Oaks on Friday

Our two ante-post plays from last week are now sitting pretty with 12-1 each way Oaks fancy Jack Naylor now trading at 8.88/1 on the exchange, and 20-1 Ascot Gold Cup pick Vent De Force halving in price after winning the Henry II Stakes at Sandown last Thursday.

But I just can't resist a very speculative second play in the fillies Classic in the shape of Qualify at 110.0109/1 in the 16:30 on Friday.

Trying to second guess Aidan O'Brien's running plans is not a wise move - as we saw with the decision to re-route Found from this race - and I would normally err on the side of caution by backing non-runner, no-bet at this stage (a concession that the Betfair Sportsbook are offering).

But they are "only" going 66-1 about this filly, and anyway I think it is reasonable to assume that Qualify is an intended runner, even if the formbook tells you she is comfortably the outsider of the O'Brien trio.

However, she is definitely not the no-hoper her current, three-figure odds suggest.

Following an impressive win in a Group 3 at the Curragh on fast ground, she was well fancied by the stable to go close in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, though confidence was soon checked when she was handed stall 13 of 13.

In the circumstances, she ran ok to finish in midfield from that wide draw, and was sent off a 12-1 for the 1,000 Guineas last month, only to run no sort of race and finish stone last.

That was clearly not her running, and unsurprisingly she was sent off a 50-1 chance at the Curragh for the Irish equivalent, but she shaped much better there in finishing 10th.

I missed the renewed promise of that run on first viewings of the race, but I thought that she was ridden with an eye to the future there, been giving plenty of time to find her stride from last place, eventually being beaten just under seven lengths.

Clearly, no-one is going overboard about that run, but if that did hint that she was on the road back, then 100-1+ quotes about a filly that was sent off at 6-1 in Santa Anita, and 12-1 for Newmarket, are well worth taking. Especially as she is bred to be suited by the big step up in trip.

Her sire Fastnet Rock is probably better known for getting sub-1m2f performers - though Cheshire Oaks winner Diamondsandrubies is by him - but the distaff side of her pedigree is all stamina. Her stoutly-bred dam was a 1m4f winner and placed in the 1m6f132yd Park Hill Stakes.


*****


It was no surprise to see Giovanni Canaletto shorten into 9.417/2 on the exchange for the Derby in the last 24 hours - he was available at 19.018/1 for the race for a fair while yesterday morning after being given the green light, which was very generous - and I think there is some mileage in Storm The Stars at around the 30.029/1 mark.

But I'll sit on my hands here - though we did give both of these a positive mention in the last ante-post column, so hopefully some of you took a chance at much bigger than their current odds - and see what conditions are like come Friday morning before making my Derby selection(s).

And of course the market will have settled down following today's news of an injury scare for second favourite Zawraq.

There are ante-post prices available on the Coronation Cup and Dash at Epsom on Saturday.

But with the Coronation attracting a small field - they bet 25-1 bar three - and ground and draw obviously unknown for the Dash. I'll keep my powder dry here, too.


Recommended Bet
Back Qualify at 110.0109/1 for the Oaks on Friday


Already Advised (Oaks)
Back Jack Naylor at 12-1 each way (1/4 1,2,3) with the Betfair Sportsbook


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