Minding favourite for The Oaks despite stamina questions


Minding is the odds-on favourite to take victory in The Oaks on Friday, but approaches the third classic of the year with doubts over the filly's ability to last the distance at Epsom.

The three-year-old, trained by Aidan O'Brien, was triumphant in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month but was then beaten by Jet Setting in the Irish 1,000 Guineas 11 days ago having banged her head in the stalls.

Widely regarded as the best horse in the field, the sole concern surrounding Minding is that The Oaks will be her first test over a mile-and-a-half.

And jockey Ryan Moore has conceded her preparation has not been perfect, writing in a blog for Betfair: "It was a late decision to run in the race [to run in the Irish 1,000 guineas] after Ballydoyle was found to be off-colour and the fact that she banged her head coming out of the stalls didn't help.

"However, ultimately, I think that she just found the ground too soft for her against a filly who relished the conditions.

"So, yes, you could say that she hasn't had an ideal preparation for this race and that she would want better ground, though it can dry out very quickly at Epsom.

"She obviously has her stamina to prove but I think she will stay okay, and you have to look at the opposition when making those kind of assessments.

"In my opinion she will stay well enough in this company, as I think the form book tells you that she goes into the race as the best filly and, to be honest, I am struggling to see one that I am afraid of."

O'Brien has two other horses in the field in the form of Somehow and Seventh Heaven.

Having been supplemented into the field, Godolphin-owned Skiffle - who only made her debut in May - is well fancied to at least provide some competition for Minding.

But, identifying Minding's main competition as she bids to become the first filly since 2002 to do the 1,000 Guineas-Oaks double, Moore added: "Turret Rocks is the main form of danger to me.

"She ran well enough when sixth to Minding in the Guineas, but she has always been thought of as a good or fast ground filly so that would have to be a concern."