Mick Fitzgerald: This 6/1 Oaks fancy at Epsom could power us into the weekend

The jury is still out on Oaks favourite Rhododendrum says the top ITV presenter and John Gosden's runner can take advantage in the Fillies Classic.


The ground is drying out all the time at Epsom and that will be crucial for so many horses this weekend.

We start off with the traditional Woodcote Stakes at 2pm over 6f. This is a helter-skelter ride for the jockeys and if you miss the break it can be game over very quickly particularly on fast ground.

There’s only seven runners though so there shouldn’t be too many traffic problems. I was at York and saw Zap win for Richard Fahey & Paul Hanagan and I was really impressed, Paul rode him like he thought he was a very good horse and he didn’t disappoint.

Richard Hannon’s De Bruyne horse improved so much from his first run to win at Ripon last time and the favourite is the obvious danger with Ryan Moore in the saddle.


Gallop over to all the latest betting on PaddyPower.com

The 1m handicap at 2.35pm is a chance for us to get some of the money we lost at Ascot back with Remarkable. He ran an okay race there, but looked rusty and John Gosden’s runner should be sharper for that outing now.

Jeremy Noseda’s Sixties Groove has shot up the weights with three wins last year – but can put up a good show on his seasonal debut.

Brother v Brother

It’s a family affair for the Group 1 Coronation Cup at 3.10pm with the ‘brothers’ and stablemates, Idaho and Highland Reel taking each other on.

Both are trained by Aidan O’Brien and Highland Reel finished second to New Bay in the French Derby rather than running against Golden Horn in the 2015 Epsom Derby. He has never run at Epsom and while we have to take it on trust that he will handle this unique track. He should be too good for these, especially with the ground drying out all the time.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Prize Money will be ridden to nick a bit of place money and  can hit the frame at a double-digit price.

The penultimate race of the day on the box is a tight 10f handicap at 3.45pm with Fidaawy the obvious one to look at here after a good comeback win at Doncaster in April. Eve Johnson Houghton’s team are going so well so her course specialist What about Carlo who was third in this contest last year, could be one for the places again at a price.

We round off ITV’s coverage with the third Classic of the season, the Oaks at 4.30pm.

Aidan O’ Brien has won it for the last two years and six times in all and his Rhododendrum is a very warm order on the back of what some people considered a slightly unlucky second-place finish in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

I still think Winter would have beaten her even with a trouble-free passage and that form got a mighty boost when her conqueror easily won the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh last weekend.

John Gosden’s Enable beat a highly-regarded filly Ballydoyle filly in Alluringly at Chester. I was really impressed with her and think she is good value to beat the favourite.

The big factor in the Oaks is what filly copes best with the unique nature of the Epsom track. Charlie Appleby’s Sobetsu got the run of the race in France when beating Coronet and if she copes with the course, mightn’t be too far away.

What do you think?