Epsom Derby Festival: Gosden duo head the Oaks market as trainer targets fourth win

Epsom Derby Festival: Gosden duo head the Oaks market as trainer targets fourth win

With just over a week until the Epsom Derby Festival, Architect Tips runs the rule over the two Classics and looks for value beyond the two big favourites.

Nashwa to upset stablemate Emily Upjohn in the Epsom Oaks?

The Derby Festival gets underway next Friday, so market movers will be coming thick and fast in the coming days. The feature race on the Friday is the Cazoo Oaks where John Gosden has the top two in the market as he bids to win the race for a fourth time.

Emily Upjohn, the current market leader at Evens, has received significant support from her fans since winning the Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York, where she maintained her unbeaten record with an effortless success on the Knavesmire under Frankie Dettori. 

The daughter of Sea The Stars was sent off 4/7 favourite and despite pulling hard for the first half of the race, she accelerated away from her four rivals to score by over five lengths. Already described by her masterful trainer as similar to previous winner Taghrooda after a stylish exercise, all of her work has been very good and she’s shown she has a change of gear too. 


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She should have the speed to cope with the undulations of the course and while she might appear to be a bit short in the betting, I have been really impressed by her so far. She’s a worthy favourite in my book as she will be bidding to give Gosden a fourth Oaks following the previous triumphs of Taghrooda, Enable and Anapurna.

I think she’s going to be hard to beat but I do like her stablemate Nashwa, who smoothly accounted for a useful field in the listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes at Newbury. That was a first start over a mile and a quarter for the daughter of Frankel but she seemed to relish the distance the further she went and demonstrated a nice turn of foot in the closing stages. 

The Oaks will be her first start in Group company and she’s likely to be partnered by James Doyle. One of my regular followers, who works for the owners of this filly, has said that Gosden thinks she’s just as good as Emily Upjohn so at odds of 9/2 she has to be the value against the field with just as much potential as her stable companion. 

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Can Appleby contingent derail Desert Crown in the Epsom Derby?

Just 24 hours later we will have the main event of the Saturday, the Cazoo Derby, and it’s very difficult to look beyond Desert Crown, who dismantled a quality field to win the Dante at York earlier this month. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won the Derby itself five times in the past and this very good horse, who doesn’t show much at home, looks to have outstanding claims of making it a sixth winner in the race for connections and is priced up at 9/4 to do so. 

It’s possible that Charlie Appleby might supplement Nations Pride though, who has said that he would work on Wednesday then decide as to whether he will take on the former.

He has been subject to huge praise by his boss and since finishing second on debut at Yarmouth, he’s won four on the spin with the latest of those being a listed event at Newmarket where he defeated Craven Stakes second Hoo Ya Mal by seven lengths. 

Charlie Appleby, who has shown terrific form all season, already has Walk Of Stars and Nahaani entered in the Classic but said if he had the choice he would ride Nations Pride which is quite interesting. If the latter does line up, his owner will have to pay £75,000 to supplement him.

I think the smarter play though would be with Walk Of Stars, who has the potential to really make his mark at the highest level. Yes he was marginally denied in the Derby Trial but he would have won that race comfortably without hanging down the gone straight and connections will have done a lot of work on him to straighten that chink out.

At a best price 20/1, he’s very appealing at the ante-post odds. It will be interesting to see who William Buick rides as the odds for the horse he chooses will likely shorten in the next week.

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