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Fallon five-timer the bet to be on in Epsom’s Investec Oaks

| 05.06.2014

There’s been plenty of betting action ahead of the Investec Oaks, with long-time favourite Taghrooda, from trainer John Gosden’s yard, now joined at the head of the betting by Aidan O’Brien challenger Marvellous at 3/1.

The Ballydoyle hotpot came into the reckoning after a cracking winning run in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, where Marvellous finished three lengths ahead of Olly Stevens’ 100/30 favourite Lightning Thunder at tasty 10/1 odds.

O’Brien has a formidable record in the Fillies and Mares event – as he does in most Classics – having won the English Oaks four times, although the first of those victories came 16 years ago with Shahtoush.

Only one of O’Brien’s five previous Irish 1000 Guineas winners, Imagine in 2001, have gone on to triumph at Epsom, despite three of them taking their chances.

Marvellous has never run over a mile in three career starts, of which she’s only won two, and at 3/1 the daughter of Galileo rates poor value to land a fifth Oaks for the O’Brien team.

Taghrooda has done nothing wrong in two wins from two starts so far, with the second a six-length procession in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly stakes last month.

However, Gosden has a terrible, winless record in this race and with expected jockey Pat Smullen recently quoted insisting that any more rain may see her pulled from the Epsom event, she can’t be backed with any confidence.

O’Brien won’t be the only Irishman chasing an Oaks five-timer in Surrey, as Godolphin’s newest retained rider Kieren Fallon will be on board Newmarket Guineas third Ihtimal, a 7/1 shot, having hopped off promising Musidora Stakes winner Madame Chiang, who’s now 12/1.

The controversial County Clare navigator knows a thing or two about spotting an Oaks winner, having booted home Reams of Verse and Ramruma for the late Henry Cecil in the late ’90s, Ed Dunlop’s supermare Ouija Board in 2004 and Alexandrova for old boss O’Brien two years later.

Madame Chiang shaped like a live Epsom challenger at York last month, and for Fallon to turn down the ride of David Simcock’s filly, Ihtimal must be some horse. Punt accordingly.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune