Manuela made for Epsom
Steve Hughes looks ahead to the best of the action on Oaks day
A cracking card on Friday to begin the weekend’s racing at Epsom. The Oaks itself looks very open and I have an each-way selection for the big race, plus two other recommendations elsewhere. Battaash was a winner in the previous column on Saturday (advised 11/10).
Epsom 3.45: Elector
We could have a royal winner in this handicap with The Queen’s Elector strongly fancied.
He showed a really professional attitude when scoring on his reappearance at Newmarket earlier this month over a furlong shorter. Always prominent, but well settled, he found plenty for pressure to defeat Jazeel a neck in a race already working out well (the fourth home won the Zetland Gold Cup on Monday).
Only up 2lbs for that we can expect more to come from the 4yo who looks a typical slow burner to come out of the Michael Stoute yard.
Epsom 4.30: Manuela de Vega
Bred to need every yard of this 12f distance on a stiff track, Manuela de Vega can give each-way punters a real run for their money.
She was all stamina in two runs last season, winning on the stiff tracks at Salisbury and Pontefract, the latter in a listed contest. She is a full sister to the stable’s Isabel de Urbina, who won twice at listed level in 2018 over 12f.
The track at Chester would not have been ideal last time and she did not get the run of the race, getting stuck behind tiring horses as the sprint to the finish unfolded. As such I think there is a realistic chance of her overhauling the 4l deficit to winning Mehdaayih that day.
Epsom 5.15: Urban Icon
Although beaten in both his starts so far this season, Urban Icon has caught my eye on both occasions and should be up to winning a race of this listed class at Epsom.
The colt won both his starts as a juvenile last spring, but was not then seen out until returning in the Greenham at Newbury last month. Travelling well that day, he seemed to have his finishing kick blunted by the rain softened ground, yet still ran well in third. He was drawn on the wrong side of the track when eighth in the 2000 Guineas.
This race represents a drop in grade and I also think a return to 7f will see him to better effect given how well he travels.
1pt win – Elector – 3.45 Epsom – 100/30 general
0.75pts each-way – Manuela de Vega – 4.30 Epsom – 12/1 general (Skybet, Betfred, Totesport 1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt win – Urban Icon – 5.15 Epsom – 9/2 general
Next column – Epsom Derby Day Saturday 1st June