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Investec Oaks one-two head Darley Yorkshire Oaks entries

16 Aug 2013

Talent and Secret Gesture, who finished first and second in the Investec Oaks at the end of May, are amongst the 14 fillies and mares who have stood their ground in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on Thursday.

Talent after her brilliant Investec Oaks victory at Epsom when ridden by Richard Hughes. Image copyright of racingfotos.com.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is always a treat and Thursday’s card looks like it could be extra-special with an entry packed full of star fillies and mares in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, race six in the Fillies & Mares division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

A clutch of top class three-year-olds immediately take the eye, including the Investec Oaks one-two, Talent and Secret Gesture, both trained by Ralph Beckett.

Neither has tasted victory since Epsom, but Secret Gesture ran well in a narrow defeat in the German Oaks earlier this month.

Talent, meanwhile, was last in the Irish Oaks and needs to prove her impressive Epsom triumph was no fluke.

The runner-up in the Irish Oaks, Venus De Milo, who easily won a Group 3 race on her next start, could represent the Aidan O’Brien yard, while French raider Pacific Rim, winner of her last three starts, could run for trainer Mikael Delzangles. Both look high class fillies.

Riposte, trained by Lady Cecil, was successful at Royal Ascot before defeat in the Irish Oaks and is another three-year-old to look out for.

The older brigade will pose a potent threat, however. Luca Cumani has supplemented Emirates Queen, who won the Lancashire Oaks and ran well in defeat at Deauville since, and the four-year-old will have plenty of supporters.

The Fugue, trained by John Gosden, was second in this race last year and was only three and a half lengths behind Al Kazeem on her seasonal reappearnce in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

She flopped in the Coral-Eclipse, but back against her own sex after a decent break, she has to have a serious chance.

Wild Coco must also come into calculations. Like Riposte, she is trained by Lady Cecil and has won her last three starts.

She ran poorly in this race in 2011 and may need a longer trip to be seen at her best – her recent victories have all been over a mile and three-quarters or further – but there is no doubt that she has the quality.

The final declarations for this fascinating contest will be made on Tuesday morning.