Santa Barbara leads 14 fillies chasing Oaks glory

Santa Barbara leads 14 fillies chasing Oaks glory
Ante-post favourite one of five for Aidan O’Brien.

Ante-post favourite Santa Barbara is one of 14 fillies declared for the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

The Camelot filly made a big impression when winning on her racecourse debut at the Curragh in September and was a major gamble for last month’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket amid reports of scintillating workouts on the Ballydoyle gallops.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge had to make do with minor honours in fourth over the Rowley Mile, but is once again strongly fancied to claim Classic glory at the second attempt.

Santa Barbara is joined by four stable companions in Snowfall, Divinely, Willow and La Joconde. Snowfall earned her place with victory in the Musidora Stakes at York while Lingfield Oaks Trial fourth Divinely has been the subject of significant market support this week.

Archie Watson’s Sherbet Lemon, Roger Varian’s Save A Forest and Hugo Palmer’s Ocean Road finished first, second and third at Lingfield and are all in contention once again.

Varian has a particularly strong hand, with Musidora Stakes third Teona and Cheshire Oaks runner-up Zeyaadah also declared.

Mark Johnston saddles Cheshire Oaks winner Dubai Fountain, while Saffron Beach is stepped up in trip by Jane Chapple-Hyam after finishing second in the 1000 Guineas.

The Martyn Meade-trained Technique and the supplemented Mystery Angel, trained by George Boughey, complete the field.

Mystery Angel galloping at Epsom last week

Members of the Nick Bradley Racing syndicate that own Mystery Angel, who finished fourth in the Musidora, stumped up £22,500 to add her to the field earlier in the week and are hoping for a bold showing following a pleasing gallop at Epsom last week.

Bradley said: “It looks a stronger race than we’d have liked, but we are where we are.

“The track will suit and she appears to be in very good form – she’s in better form at home than she was going to York.

“She looks overpriced a little bit at the moment, I think. We’re hopeful of a good run.”

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