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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Akdarena set for 'big day' at Epsom

Akdarena put herself in the frame for next month's Investec Oaks with a clear-cut success in the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes at Naas.

Jim Bolger's charge boasts entries in the Epsom Classic as well as the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and Darley Irish Oaks later in the season, and the trainer could now raise her sights to Group One level.

The Hernando filly made all when landing a narrow verdict over the re-opposing Unity at Navan last month and Kevin Manning adopted similarly aggressive tactics again.

Akdarena (7/2) was quickly away and, sporting her usual blinkers, she kept up her relentless gallop to triumph by seven lengths over Indiana Gal.

Grace O'Malley, the 100/30 favourite, was only third.

"There'll be no decision this evening but she's definitely in the mix," Bolger said.

"I don't do anything at home with her. She just canters and I try to make sure she is well.

"She seemed in very good form but you couldn't say she had improved until this evening and it appears she has.

"It's not often you see a race settled at halfway.

"The next day will be her big day."

Paddy Power make Akdarena a 16/1 shot for Epsom glory.

Henry Cecil believes the public have not seen the real Timepiece in her two runs this season.

The Zamindar filly was the winter market leader for the Oaks after a promising juvenile campaign but she could only finish fourth in the Feilden Stakes behind new Oaks favourite Rumoush and was a beaten odds-on favourite at Lingfield on Saturday.

With Aviate winning the Musidora Stakes at York, Cecil now looks to have a strong hand in the Investec-sponsored Classic.

"I've always been very pleased with her at home and she compared favourably with other Oaks winners I'd trained, but this year we just haven't seen it," said Cecil. "I don't know whether it was just the way the race was run, they went very fast and she had a really long blow afterwards.

"I thought she was very fit but it might have hurt her lungs a bit, I'm not sure. Both fillies will tell me what we should do."

Michael Jarvis has decided to miss Friday's Yorkshire Cup with promising stayer Opinion Poll as the ground is likely to be too quick.

Winner of a valuable handicap at Ascot last season, the four-year-old created a massive impression when claiming the Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham on soft ground.

However, Jarvis feels the son of Halling must have some give underfoot to show his true colours, and is now targeting the Henry II Stakes at Sandown on May 27.

"He's not running at York because of the ground and he won't be running anywhere until we get some ease in the ground," said the Newmarket handler.

"I suppose the Henry II at Sandown is the next suitable race for him. He's in at Newbury (Aston Park Stakes) on Saturday but that is looking like it will be too quick also.

"He's very ground dependent. Good ground is fine for him, but he wouldn't want the word 'firm' anywhere near him.

"He won't injure himself, but he just won't let himself down on it.

"We are just having a dry time at the moment but it can soon change."

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