06/01/2016 9:23AM

Minding heavily favored in English Oaks


Minding can become the first filly in 14 years to sweep the English 1000 Guineas and English Oaks when she starts as a heavy favorite in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom Racecourse south of London on Friday.

The $684,475 Oaks, run at 1 1/2 miles on turf, is part of a busy spring campaign for Minding, who is trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien. Minding won the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1 and was second by a head in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 22.

Minding, a filly by Galileo who races for Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier, has won 4 of 7 starts. In the Irish 2000 Guineas, Minding struck her head on the starting gate moments before the start, O’Brien said after the race.

As of Wednesday, Minding was the even-money favorite to win the Oaks, which drew a field of nine. O’Brien, who has won the English Oaks on five occasions, has three runners, including Somehow and Seventh Heaven. Somehow won the Cheshire Oaks at Chester Racecourse in England in her stakes debut May 4.

The last filly to sweep the 1000 Guineas and English Oaks was Kazzia in 2002. She raced for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing, which has a leading contender this year in Skiffle, trained by Charlie Appleby.

Skiffle began her career last month, finishing third in a maiden race at Ascot Racecourse on May 6. She won the minor Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on May 19, leading to the decision to try the English Oaks. Skiffle was supplemented to the race for $43,000.

Turret Rocks is another threat from an Irish stable, trainer Jim Bolger. Turret Rocks was second in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies in France last year and sixth in the English 1000 Guineas in her only start this year.