Racing: Fen Shui put in place for Oaks

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The Independent Online

A maximum of 13 fillies will line up for the 227th Oaks on Friday. Yesterday's penultimate declarations for the premier distaff Classic include a pair supplemented at a cost of £20,000, the Aidan O'Brien-trained 1,000 Guineas winner Virginia Waters and Godolphin's Fen Shui, who finished a well-beaten 10th in the same race. The inclusion of the former, eighth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on too-soft ground since her Newmarket victory, was no surprise, but Fen Shui's addition was.

A maximum of 13 fillies will line up for the 227th Oaks on Friday. Yesterday's penultimate declarations for the premier distaff Classic include a pair supplemented at a cost of £20,000, the Aidan O'Brien-trained 1,000 Guineas winner Virginia Waters and Godolphin's Fen Shui, who finished a well-beaten 10th in the same race. The inclusion of the former, eighth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on too-soft ground since her Newmarket victory, was no surprise, but Fen Shui's addition was.

"She has been working nicely since the Guineas and we think she deserves her chance," said Godolphin's racing manager Simon Crisford of the daughter of Timber Country. "She shows plenty of speed but the trip is an unknown." Unbeaten Eswarah, who took a Listed contest at Newbury in impressive style 16 days ago, is the 9-4 market leader, followed by the Lingfield trial winner Cassydora and Virginia Waters.

The 1,000 Guineas-Oaks double has been completed by 47 fillies, most recently Kazzia three years ago. Four horses have won successive Coronation Cups and on Friday Warrsan goes for an unprecedented three in a row. The Clive Brittain-trained seven-year-old, fourth in the Jockey Club Stakes on his seasonal debut, has 11 potential rivals at this stage, including the winner at Newmarket, Alkaased, and third-placed Bandari, and a trio from Ballydoyle, including last year's winter Derby favourite Yeats.

The ground at Epsom is currently good, with some rain possible during the week. "It is a bit cooler than it was on Friday, but breezy," said the course's director of racing Andrew Cooper yesterday. "If necessary we will resume watering on Monday. The forecast rain is not guaranteed." Sir Michael Stoute will not be going for a unique third consecutive Derby; his two candidates Kalamkar and Mountain High were ruled out of the contest yesterday.

Yesterday's feature at Goodwood, the Heron Stakes, provided a compliment to the Dante Stakes form when Proclamation, sixth behind Motivator at York when he ran too freely, romped away with the mile contest under Frankie Dettori. The King's Best grey produced an eyecatching burst of speed as he left the favourite Tucker three lengths in his wake.

Trainer Jeremy Noseda is now looking towards Royal Ascot at York, where he may aim high with the one-time Derby entry, owned by a Maktoum family associate. "I will speak to the Darley team about the Jersey Stakes," he said, "or about how they would feel about supplementing him for the St James's Palace Stakes. We have always thought he was good, but the fancied entries I gave him were at 10 furlongs or more."

Otherwise, the focus was on sprinters yesterday. At Goodwood, Boogie Street earned at trip to the Knavesmire for the King's Stand Stakes with his neck victory in the Listed five-furlong contest and at Musselburgh the day's richest race, the Scottish Sprint Cup, went to bottom-weight Bond Boy and Dean Mernagh. The Bryan Smart-trained eight-year-old, a 25-1 shot, won by three-quarters of a length from Highland Warrior, his first success since 2002 when he won the Stewards' Cup.

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