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Vodafone Oaks News - June 4th 2004

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Ouija Board romps home in Oaks


OUIJA BOARD put up a hugely impressive performance to claim the Vodafone Oaks at Epsom this afternoon.

Ed Dunlop's filly took up the running two furlongs out under Kieren Fallon and the 7-2 chance swept clear of 11-4 favourite All Too Beautiful.

1st (5) Ouija Board 7-2
2nd (1) All Too Beautiful 11-4 Fav
3rd (6) Punctilious 10-3
7 ran
WIN £4.20
Ex £15.50 CSF £12.82

Godolphin's first string Punctilious plugged on for third under Frankie Dettori.

Ouija Board was given a superb ride by Fallon to hand the filly's owner Lord Derby and Dunlop a first English Classic winner.

The champion jockey settled her in rear as Kisses For Me set the early pace, with Dettori soon taking it up on Punctilious to step up the pace.

Sundrop pulled hard under Kerrin McEvoy all the way and she soon faded out of it turning for homeas Dettori kicked on.

All Too Beautiful was poised on the outside and Jamie Spencer delivered her for a winning run, but he had no answer to Fallon, who was biding his time before throwing down his challenge.

The daughter of Cape Cross changed gears and sailed home from All Too Beautiful, with Punctilious a further three and half lengths back in third.

Frankie sides with Punctilious
Frankie Dettori has opted for the mount on Punctilious, who will face six opponents in Friday's Vodafone Oaks at Epsom Downs.

Leading Vodafone Oaks hopes stand their ground
Ten fillies, have stood their ground for the 350,000 Vodafone Oaks, to be run at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 4.

Godolphin duo head Oaks field
Godolphin hopes Sundrop and Punctilious head the list of 21 fillies who stood their ground for the Vodafone Oaks at Thursday's forfeit stage.

Rave Reviews for Ouija Board
Ouija's Board's Classic claims were enhanced after Rave Reviews and Sahool franked her form with a one-two at Newbury on Friday May 14.

Punctilious romps home
Punctilious staked a strong claim for the Vodafone Oaks by making all the running in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.


Frankie sides with Punctilious
Frankie Dettori has opted for the mount on Punctilious, who will face six opponents in Friday's Vodafone Oaks at Epsom Downs.

Dettori's decision to ride the Musidora Stakes winner instead of long-time ante-post favourite Sundrop was no real surprise after he had intimated that he was leaning that way following her win at York three weeks ago. However, the move has virtually ensured that Punctilious will go off favourite for Friday's race.

Kerrin McEvoy will now ride Sundrop, as he did in the 1,000 Guineas, while Jamie Spencer is on board All Too Beautiful, Johnny Murtagh on Necklace and Kisses For Me will be partnered by Paul Scallan.

The race itself has drawn a field of just seven runners, the smallest for 100 years, and just four stables are represented in the fillies' staying classic, prompting clerk of the course Andrew Cooper to say: "If you look back at the last couple of years we've had some big fields, and two years ago it was bigger than the Derby line-up.

"There aren't any leading candidates missing, and there were never any fillies who were likely to be supplemented. It's just the crop of fillies suitable for the race isn't that big this year."

John Dunlop-trained Hathrah will miss the race after not being quite 100% of late, while Clive Brittain's Menhoubah will go for the French equivalent instead.

Leading Vodafone Oaks hopes stand their ground
Ten fillies, have stood their ground for the 350,000 Vodafone Oaks, to be run at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 4.

They are headed by the Godolphin duo of Sundrop and Punctilious, with Sundrop currently the market leader. She was staying on well when beaten only half a length by all-the-way winner Attraction in the UltimateBet.Com 1,000 Guineas on May 2, giving every impression that the extra half mile of the Epsom Downs classic will suit her well.

Punctilious, whom Sheikh Mohammed bought out of Michael Jarvis' stable last year after she had won her first two starts, was very impressive when making all to win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on May 11 by six lengths from Glen Innes, and she also indicated that the longer trip of the Oaks will present no problems.

Ouija Board also had six lengths to spare when she won the Listed RL Davison Pretty Polly Stakes on May 2 at Newmarket, which saw her Epsom odds cut to about 20-1. She is now a 7-1 shot following news that Kieren Fallon, who rode Lord Derby's filly at Newmarket, will be her partner again for the Oaks. Rave Reviews and Sahool, who were placed behind Oiuja Board at Newmarket, gave the form a handsome boost when finishing first and second at Newbury next time out.

Hathrah, who was a creditable third in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, only half a length behind Sundrop, has also stood her ground for the Vodafone-sponsored Oaks. She won very easily at Kempton first time out when this week's Goodwood winner Halicardia was almost 10 lengths back in third.

Her trainer John Dunlop said today: "Hathrah has done very well since her run in the Guineas and it is definitely the plan to run her in the Vodafone Oaks. My only reservation is that she would not want the ground too fast; good would be acceptable but good to soft would be even better."

There is a strong representation from Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle stable, with All Too Beautiful, Baraka, Necklace and Kisses For Me, his possible contenders.

All Too Beautiful, a full-sister to the 2001 Vodafone Derby hero Galileo, has won on her only two starts, both this year, and scored as she liked in Listed company over a mile and a quarter at Navan last month.

Baraka readily upset the odds on Bowstring on May 8 in the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield on very soft ground after having proved disappointing in her only juvenile start, while Necklace is capable of far better form than she showed when well behind in the 1,000 Guineas.

Godolphin duo head Oaks field
Godolphin hopes Sundrop and Punctilious head the list of 21 fillies who stood their ground for the Vodafone Oaks at Thursday's forfeit stage.

Sundrop was staying on well when beaten only half a length by all-the-way winner Attraction in the UltimateBet.Com 1000 Guineas to earn her position at the head of the betting for the Epsom Classic.

Punctilious was very impressive when making all to win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York last week by six lengths to book her place in the line up for the 350,000 feature on June 4.

Their trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "Sundrop worked today over a mile with New South Wales and I'm very pleased with her.

"Punctilious also worked over seven furlongs with Opera Comique and it is so far so good with both of them. I could not be more pleased.

"Soon we will decide which one will be ridden by Frankie (Dettori) and which one by Kerrin (McEvoy) but they have both come out of their last races in very good form and I hope they both have good chances."

Ouija Board also had six lengths to spare when she won the Listed RL Davison Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, which saw her Epsom odds cut to about 20-1.

She is now a 9-2 shot with one firm following news that Kieren Fallon, who rode Lord Derby's filly at Newmarket, will be her partner again for the Oaks.

Rave Reviews and Sahool, who were placed behind Ouija Board at Newmarket, gave the form a handsome boost when finishing first and second at Newbury on Friday.

Hathrah, who was a creditable third in the 1000 Guineas, only half a length behind Sundrop, has also stood her ground for the Oaks. She won very easily at Kempton first time out when this week's Goodwood winner Halicardia was almost 10 lengths back in third.

Rave Reviews for Ouija Board
Ouija's Board's Classic claims were enhanced after Rave Reviews and Sahool franked her form with a one-two at Newbury on Friday May 14.

The two fillies were third and second respectively behind six-length scorer Ouija Board in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket in early May.

And Rave Reviews certainly did the form no harm at all when beating Sahool by three parts of a length in the Swettenham Stud Fillies' Trial over a mile and a quarter.

The pair finished clear of Crystal Curling and disappointing favourite Winds Of March, who was later found to have been in season.

Bookmakers were united in cutting the price of Ouija Board for next month's Vodafone Oaks after this race, with William Hill and Victor Chandler going 8-1 from 10-1, Paddy Power 7s from 10s and Coral now just 6-1 from 8-1.

Rave Reviews can be backed at 33-1 but Epsom may not be on her agenda.

" There's nothing wrong with her form and when you win a Listed race like this there is only one way to go, and that is up," said her trainer John Dunlop, the father of Ouija Board's handler Ed.

" She had half a length to make up on Sahool and she has done that, so that was very pleasing.

" But I'm not sure Epsom would suit her, so something like the Ribblesdale is going to be more likely.

" She really wants a mile and a half already and I am sure that stamina isn't going to be a problem for her."

Punctilious romps home
Punctilious staked a strong claim for the Vodafone Oaks by making all the running in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.

The 8-11 favourite pulled away from her rivals in the final furlong of the extended 10-furlong Group Three contest to score by six lengths.

Glen Innes was second, with Bay Tree a length and three-quarters back in third.

Frankie Dettori set a sensible pace on the Godolphin-owned filly and steadily increased the tempo in the straight.

Glen Innes, owned by Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed, was the only one to put in a challenge, but she was brushed aside in the closing stages.

Godolphin bought Punctilious out of Michael Jarvis's stable after she was third in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot last September.

The Dubai outfit look to have a strong hand in the Oaks as UltimateBet.com 1000 Guineas runner-up Sundrop is a leading fancy for next month's Epsom Classic.

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