Timeform: Marvellous Oaks duel

Last Updated: 04/06/14 12:54pm

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Marvellous: Heads the Oaks betting

Marvellous: Heads the Oaks betting

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The experts at Timeform predict a tight finish to the Oaks between the two market leaders, Marvellous and Taghrooda.

The John Gosden-trained Taghrooda dominated the ante-post market for the Oaks following her emphatic Pretty Polly Stakes win at Newmarket, but she’s been usurped at the head of the betting and Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings for the race by Marvellous, winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas.

Timeform’s Flat Editor David Johnson said: “Marvellous didn’t so much creep into the Oaks picture as bulldoze her way into it. She produced the best performance in the Irish 1000 Guineas for ten years, and that’s a level of form which is good enough to have won each of the last four runnings of the Oaks.

“Although Marvellous isn’t guaranteed to stay a mile and a half given the speed on the dam’s side of her pedigree, she’s by Galileo and looked better the further she went at the Curragh, so it will be a surprise if she fails for lack of stamina.”

However, Johnson warned that even though she sets a clear standard on ratings, Marvellous isn’t guaranteed to have everything her own way.

“It’s vital to remember that running to a high level of form is as much about opportunity as ability in some instances. Ratings can only tell us what a horse has achieved in the past, not what it will in the future, and nothing in the Oaks looks open to as much improvement as Taghrooda.

“Ever since her debut she’s looked an Oaks filly, and she was most impressive in the Pretty Polly. Yes, a number of the horses she beat at Newmarket have performed poorly subsequently, but she has done all that has been asked of her and her pedigree strongly suggests she will be even better over a mile and a half.”

Taghrooda’s owner Hamdan Al Maktoum is also likely to be represented by the Dermot Weld-trained Tarfasha, winner of the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas last time. Johnson said: “Tarfasha is no mere second string, her win in the Blue Wind very much suggesting she’s capable of making the step up and competing at the highest level. She makes more appeal to get among the places than Ihtimal, who has similar form claims but looks an unlikely stayer on pedigree.”

Investec Oaks (all ratings weight-adjusted)

132p     MARVELLOUS (IRE)

126p     TAGHROODA

125p     TARFASHA (IRE)

125       IHTIMAL (IRE)

122p     AMAZING MARIA (IRE)

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