06/03/2003 11:00PM

Hi Dubai heads English Oaks


Ownership powerhouses Godolphin and Coolmore square off once again at Epsom on Friday in the 225th running of the Group 1, $675,000 English Oaks.

Hi Dubai, a full sister to six-time Group 1 or Grade 1 winner Fantastic Light, can give Godolphin its fourth Oaks victory at the expense of Yesterday, the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas.

Hi Dubai began her 3-year-old campaign with a win in a one-mile private trial at Nad Al Sheba, then followed with a victory in the listed 1 1/4-mile Pretty Polly Stakes on May 4, her first official victory in two official starts. She is a filly with a bright future and should add her name to those of Balanchine, Moonshell, and Kazzia as Godolphin winners of this 1 1/2-mile fillies classic.

Yesterday improved off her eighth-place finish in the English 1000 Guineas to defeat Six Perfections in the Irish equivalent on May 25. A daughter of Sadler's Wells, she should stay the 12 furlongs around Epsom's twists and turns, but she offers little value as the 2-1 choice in a field of 15.

Hanami, a daughter of French Derby winner Hernando, was a fast-closing fifth in the 1000 Guineas, and should be running late. Even more dangerous is the Darshaan filly Hammiya, winner of the listed Cheshire Oaks going 1 7/16 miles on May 7.

In the Group 1, $490,000 Coronation Cup, a 1 1/2-mile race for older horses, Black Sam Bellamy could win with a repeat of his Tattersalls Gold Cup victory at The Curragh on May 25 for O'Brien, but he is inconsistent and he will struggle to defeat the game stayer Warrsan. Zindabad and Bandari, both trained by Mark Johnston, should both improve off fourth-place finishes in Group 2 company last time.