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Forest Fairy leads Ralph Beckett’s four-pronged assault in Betfred Oaks

Forest Fairy leads Ralph Beckett’s four-pronged assault in Betfred Oaks
Forest Fairy leads Ralph Beckett’s four-pronged assault in Betfred Oaks

Ralph Beckett is responsible for four of the 12 runners declared as he goes in search of a third victory in Friday’s Betfred Oaks at Epsom.

The Kimpton Downs handler has saddled two previous winners of the fillies’ Classic, with Look Here’s triumph in 2008 followed by the success of Talent five years later.

This time around he fires a four-pronged assault, with the Cheshire Oaks first and third, Forest Fairy and Seaward, joined by the Lingfield Oaks Trial winner and fourth, You Got To Me and Treasure.

The latter carries the royal silks of the King and Queen and while Beckett was initially leaning towards saving the daughter of Mastercraftsman for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, he has ultimately decided to allow her to join her three stablemates on the Surrey Downs.

Trainer Ralph Beckett at York
Trainer Ralph Beckett at York (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’ve done quite well in the race before, but it’s a long time since I won it last with Talent, and since then nobody but Aidan O’Brien and the Gosdens has won,” he said.

“We’ve had plenty of tries since, but this feels like our best chance. I think the market has them about right in terms of preference, although it got it wrong in 2013 (shorter priced stablemate Secret Gesture finished second).

“I may have had three runners in a race a few times, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had four before. Let’s hope one of them is competitive!”

Aidan O’Brien, who already has 10 Oaks wins on his CV and has struck gold six times in the last decade, is this year doubly represented, with Ylang Ylang and Rubies Are Red both prominent in the betting.

Ante-post favourite Ylang Ylang steps up in trip after being beaten just a length into fifth place over a mile in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, while Rubies Are Red made late headway to finish a half-length second to You Got To Me at Lingfield three weeks ago.

Ezeliya is another leading contender from Ireland, having won two of her three starts to date for Dermot Weld.

The master of Rosewell House is an infrequent visitor to Epsom, but he won the Oaks with Blue Wind in 1981 and a Derby with Harzand 35 years later.

He said: “I’ve had 24 winners of English and Irish Classics, but Blue Wind was the first and so that was a very special day for me. She was a very good filly who went on to win the Irish Oaks and ended the season the champion filly of Europe.

“I’ve only had a few runners at Epsom, but it’s been lucky for me. I also won the Derby with Harzand and we were second in the Oaks with Tarfasha.”

Dance Sequence (Charlie Appleby), Making Dreams (Karl Burke), Musidora winner Secret Satire (Andrew Balding) and War Chimes (David Menuisier) complete the line-up.

Emily Upjohn winning last year's Coronation Cup under Frankie Dettori
Emily Upjohn winning last year’s Coronation Cup under Frankie Dettori (Mike Egerton/PA)

A smaller field of five runners remain in contention for the other Group One on Friday’s card – the Holland Cooper Coronation Cup.

The hot favourite is last year’s winner Emily Upjohn, trained by John and Thady Gosden, while O’Brien saddles three-time Group One winner Luxembourg.

Pascal Bary sends Feed The Flame from France and Juddmonte have supplemented Harry Charlton’s high-class filly Time Lock, who is fitted with cheek pieces for the first time.

The quintet is completed by the William Haggas-trained Hamish, who was has won 11 of 19 career starts including eight Group Threes, but his participation will be ground dependent as he does need an ease underfoot.

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