Bunting leads Oaks contenders

Blue Bunting will take on 12 fillies in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

Blue Bunting will take on 12 fillies in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

Godolphin’s shining light has been the ante-post favourite for the mile-and-a-half Classic since claiming the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Mahmood Al Zarooni’s three-year-old faces stiff opposition from a predictably powerful Aidan O’Brien team, spearheaded by the progressive Wonder Of Wonders.

Ballydoyle also pitch Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Misty For Me into the race, alongside Why and Eirnin.

Irish interest further revolves around the Jessica Harrington-trained Siren’s Song, who broke her maiden in likeable fashion at Navan in April.

Havant, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was sixth in the Newmarket Guineas but has the pedigree to suggest a step up in trip will suit.

Mick Channon launches a two-pronged attack with the unbeaten Zain Al Boldan and Fork Handles, while John Gosden has given the go-ahead for Izzi Top to run.

The William Haggas-trained Dancing Rain was just behind Izzi Top at Newbury last time and will have the assistance of Johnny Murtagh.

John Dunlop’s Beatrice Aurore, owned by former Abba star Benny Andersson, is another interesting candidate following back-to-back victories at Goodwood.

Blaise Chorus complete the line-up following the defection of Charleston Lady and Look At Me.

Channon is delighted with his duo as he seeks a first British Classic success.

“They are ready to run, so roll on Friday – I’m very pleased with them,” said the West Ilsley handler.

“Obviously everybody is excited about the Oaks. We are chuffed with Zain Al Boldan, it was a great performance in the (Lingfield Oaks) Trial.

“That’s behind us now and she has to step up to the mark on Friday, but we are very pleased with her.

“She’s had a great preparation and I think she has improved.

“The same applies to Fork Handles – she had Group form last year.

“She was about six lengths behind Wonder Of Wonders in the Cheshire Oaks but our filly didn’t handle Chester.

“I’m not saying she’s going to beat the Irish filly but I think she will be a lot closer to her and if she (Wonder Of Wonders) is the wonder-horse they all say she is I don’t mind finishing second to her.”

Mickael Barzalona, the highly-regarded French youngster, will have his first ride for O'Brien aboard Why.

Kieren Fallon will partner stablemate Wonder Of Wonders, with Seamie Heffernan on Misty For Me.

Joseph O’Brien, the trainer’s son, receives the leg-up on Eirnin.

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