Happily heads 23 Investec Oaks entries for O’Brien

Happily heads a massive 23 entries for trainer Aidan O’Brien out of a total of 60 contenders for the Investec Oaks at Epsom on June 1.

The dual Group One winner is ante-post favourite at 11-2 with Unibet, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, as Ireland’s champion Flat trainer chases his seventh victory in the fillies’ Classic.

The Ballydoyle contingent also includes Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf third September, Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Clemmie, Magical, I Can Fly and Sarrocchi.

John Gosden took the spoils with Enable last year and has five entries in 2018, led by Godolphin’s Aim Of Artemis (25-1), a one-million guineas purchase at Tattersalls in December after winning a novice contest trainer for Sir Michael Stoute.

Godolphin’s principal trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor have five entries between them. Appleby’s bid could be led by Prix Marcel Boussac winner Wild Illusion while Bin Suroor’s possibles include UAE 1,000 Guineas scorer Winter Lightning.

It has been 25 years since a French horse won the Oaks and their sole entry this time is the Francis Graffard-trained Homerique.

The daughter of Exchange Rate made an impressive debut at Chantilly last week when taking a 10-furlong fillies’ maiden by eight lengths.

Graffard said: “Homerique has come out of Chantilly really well.

“The plan is to run her next in the Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud on May 1, and we have made an entry for the Investec Oaks just to keep all options open for her.

“I think she is a better filly on good ground and I was quite surprised by the way she won at Chantilly.

“I knew she was a good filly, but I was not expecting her to win as she did on the ground because it was very soft. She can obviously handle all types of ground.”

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