/ Racing

Exciting Shamkala set to sidestep Oaks in favour of Prix de Diane

Updated: Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:08 | Comments

Marvellous, who landed last week's Irish 1000 Guineas on just her third lifetime start, has been well supported for the Oaks
Marvellous, who landed last week's Irish 1000 Guineas on just her third lifetime start, has been well supported for the Oaks

Shamkala is likely to remain on home soil than travel from France to contest the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday week.

The Sea The Stars filly, trained in Chantilly by Alain de Royer-Dupre, has been prominent in the betting for the Classic since she coolly won the Group Three Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud on 17 May.

Shamkala still holds an entry in the Epsom Oaks but connections of the Aga Khan-owned three-year-old are instead keen to run in her the Prix de Diane at Chantilly a fortnight later.

Georges Rimaud, French racing manager for the Aga Khan, said: "Things are evolving on many things, and Epsom is still in our thoughts.

"But the principal goal for the filly is the Prix de Diane at Chantilly."

Aidan O'Brien could have up to five runners at Epsom, staged this year in memory of Henry Cecil.

Ballydoyle's battalion will be spearheaded by Marvellous, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh last Sunday.

Stablemate Bracelet was well beaten in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month but she, too, could feature.

O'Brien said: "Bracelet is a possible. There's also Tapestry, Marvellous and I suppose the filly (Dazzling) that ran in the trial in Navan.

"We'd be looking at four or five possibles at the moment."

Tarfasha, an accomplished winner of the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, has also been aimed at the Epsom race. 

Trainer Dermot Weld will, though, consider other alternatives if the ground further deteriorates.

He said: "I'm very happy, but she's a fluid-moving filly and likes top of the ground.

"If the ground was good to yielding I would be very happy, but if it turned up soft I don't think we'd run.

"She'd then go to Royal Ascot or the Irish Oaks."

Frankie Dettori was encouraged by Amazing Maria when the horse cantered at the 'Breakfast with the Stars' morning at Epsom on Thursday.

Ed Dunlop's filly looked impressive in the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last season but faces the Oaks without a prep run.

Dettori said: "When you miss a trial it's important to get her here (to Epsom) and stretch her legs.

"The rain's quite good, she raced on it before and she likes it. I was very pleased.

"We know she's definitely got natural ability.

"It's different going from a mile to a mile and a half, but Ed has been here and done it before."

Stablemate Island Remede also worked at Epsom to confirm her place in the line-up.

Oaks ante-post favourite Taghrooda similarly engaged in a solid piece of work.

John Gosden's filly - like Tarfasha owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum - won Newmarket's Pretty Polly Stakes by six lengths and is thought likely by her trainer to appreciate the mile-and-a-half trip.

Gosden said: "Soft ground's not her favourite, but she handled it and I feel the step up in trip will help her.

"It looks a race of great depth and I think you can make a case for at least half a dozen."

William Buick rides Musidora winner Madame Chiang, owned by Kirsten Rausing, in the Oaks as Kieren Fallon is due to partner Godolphin's Ihtimal.

Trainer David Simcock said: "It was as much Miss Rausing's decision as mine to bring her here and hopefully next week will be as wet as this."

Simcock is likely to be doubly represented by Momentus, who was third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial.

Ralph Beckett, who won the Oaks last season with Talent, revealed connections of Honor Bound will supplement her for the race.

The Authorized filly claimed the Lingfield Oaks Trial on May 10 and is poised to be joined in the field by stablemate Regardez, third in the Musidora at York.

Beckett said: "We'll run Regardez, all being well.

"She'll do a bit (of work) this weekend, and we're going to supplement Honor Bound as well.

"Jim (Crowley) rode Honor Bound in work (on Wednesday) and I think he'll ride her.

"Richard Kingscote has ridden Regardez before and his style of riding will suit her."

Yorkshire is to be represented after connections of Lily Rules opted to take the £30,000 supplementary route.

Trained in Malton by Tony Coyle, the Aussie Rules filly enjoyed the step up to just over a mile and a quarter when she finished second in the Musidora.

Coyle said: "The odds are stacked against her, but she'll hopefully beat more horses than what beat her.

"She's not guaranteed to get the trip, but she loves soft ground."

Michael Stoute has won the Oaks twice, but his sole representative this season, Psychometry, will not be declared.

Cambridge has also been ruled out of the equation by trainer Charlie Hills.

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