1745: And that team, is that. Back tomorrow for the big one and the coronation of Camelot? Well the betting market suggests so. Has to be some value in the markets without the special one though.
1730: As the great - and not late - Roy Walker would say, it's good but it's not right. Thought Van Ellis was coming through to pick up Laffan but the leader was not for passing.
1st 10 Laffan (IRE) 7-1
2nd 1 Van Ellis 8-1
3rd 6 Prince Alzain (USA) 20-1
1716: I have more Oaks quotes that you can shake a stick at on my desk right now but my favourite is from Seamie Heffernan who said: "I have to thank my yoga teacher Lynn as she has been helping to keep me relaxed." Well done Lynn.
1715: Just watched the RUK video replay of the Oaks, they didn't go a gallop early on. Be interesting to see how that form stands up through the season.
1710: Well Van Ellis it's over to you now.
1705: It was a rough-old race for the Oaks. Four day careless riding bans for Joseph O'Brien and Darryll Holland but both end on the Monday before Royal Ascot.
1652: Hello to Amith in India who writes: "Nice win for Mr O'Brien. Hope he doesn't make Camelot win. Had made a small hedge on Was and Twirl each way via a friend in London as no access in India to betting shops."
1st 5 Producer 2-1 F
2nd 3 Justineo 11-4
1649: Long press-conference for the Oaks with the connections of Was. Aidan thinks Maybe needs to come back to ten furlongs, wouldn't be convinced of that myself having watched the race again.
1645: Balty Boys for Dave Ord and Sir Alex Ferguson pretty please...
1634: The Fugue team clearly unhappy with her passage through the race, she was interferred with at an early stage, and in turn took Maybe further back than she'd have liked.
1630: Aidan O'Brien is three-from-three in the British Classics this season and Ladbrokes go 4-6 he completes the Grand Slam.
1623: It's time for the Ords to club together. Michael says: "How many times does a second (or third or fourth) O'Brien horse win the big race? It seems like quite often.
"Unless a couple of mine trot in over the next hour I will be down to SteveOs for wine and food as the cupboards will be bare over the jubilee weekend; may need to gate crash a street party to feed the barns...."
There must be a melton mowbray pork pie with Ord written all over it on a street corner somewhere our kid.
1620: The strong-travelling Vow has run a huge race in fourth for one so inexperienced and Maybe is a fast-finishing fifth after finding herself with an awful lot to do.
1615: Little bits of money around all day for her and Was wins the Investec Oaks. Pleased Shirocco Star ran as well as she did given her antics beforehand and The Fugue endures a rough early passage through the race and runs with great credit. The debrief between William Buick, Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber and John Gosden comfortably the longest of the placed horses.
1st 14 Was (IRE) 20-1
2nd 9 Shirocco Star 16-1
3rd 10 The Fugue 11-4 F
1606: Well we'll soon know. The Fugue for me...
1602: Sadly Shirocco Star the negative, a real handful in the paddock for Darryll Holland. Twirl the pick of the O'Brien team on appearances for me.
1558: Maybe looks terrific but isn't the biggest. The Fugue, favourite, was fine if tending to get a little warm. Plenty of good judges in here very taken with how Vow looked.
1556: My lively outsider Shirroco Star is parading out of order and getting warm.
1555: Coquet on her toes as they head out to the track for the parade.
1553: A second, and angrier call, for the jockeys to mount. Few parish notices, William Buick and Jamie Spencer picked up two-day bans in our second race, both miss 15-16 June.
1550: Aidan O'Brien has removed his jacket as he meticulously saddles his five runners. Maybe looks half asleep as she walks round with her two handlers.
1545: The fillies look wonderfully well turned out as you'd expect, taking the preliminaries in their stride.
1540: Matt In Gloucestershire is with us. He says: "Afternoon great man, sweating quite furiously in the thought of The Fugue running in the next half hour or so, not sure weather it's the 12's that I have anti post on her, or the 40p that is currently running on her in the placepot. A victory would be perfect as Mrs. Matt has ordered me off with a rather expensive shopping list for the supermarket, and an arrangement of her finest wines seem to be on the top of the list, Sancerre being number one. So please if the is a God lift young William and The Fugue over the line.
"In the Derby team Balding and the fantastic Jimmy Fortune to lead Bonfire home first in the Derby. Think I may get all emotional as no jockey deserves a classic more than Jimmy, one of the very best, and if he has Bonfire there or thereabouts in the last furlong it will take a very strong one to get by him. Sorry for the delay in getting aboard the blog today, but this wine list is scary!!!"
You need to take two words with you to the supermarket Matt. Blue and Nun.
1537: Steveo is turning to me and another Big O at his time of crisis. He writes: "I put the bet on 5 and a half months ago. Who would have thought she would have been pulled out with just an hour to go. Mrs Steveo heartbroken and a little confused. Roy Orbison use to sing about experiences like this."
And no-one has ever done it better S.
1533: There've been false dawns but dare I suggest we've cracked the game? Clearly must be the case. The Fugure over to you for confirmation....Very clever ride from David Probert there and the Balding team going from strength to strength.
1st 5 Highland Knight (IRE) 13-2
2nd 15 Mawaakef (IRE) 20-1
3rd 10 Unex El Greco 10-1
4th 12 Deire Na Sli (IRE) 33-1
1510: Just realised I need Andrew Balding's weekend to continue on an upward curve with Highland Knight in the next.
1506: Frustrating for Mr and Mrs Steveo but confirmation Kissed does miss the Investec Oaks.
1505: Nothing official yet on Kissed.
1505: Many thanks to Martin Damm in Germany who says: "Always nice to read your blog and all the interesting entries. But one statement may not stand uncommented:
"Monsun liked to hear his feet rattle". If there is one horse I know well it is Monsun whom I followed throughout his racing career from his first start in Cologne including his unfortuante second in the German Derby to Lando. And Monsun loved a cut in the ground and normally his progeny, too. it was Lando who ran his best races on good to firm."
Cheers MD - thanks as ever for your input.
1500: It seems he's going to be to Kissed fans too. Reports circulating here that she's going to be taken out of the Oaks.
1457: Aidan O'Brien has completed his circuit of the track. Sir Mark Prescott greeted him with a double thumbs up sign as he passed the knight of the realm. Aidan was on the phone and merely waved. Reminds of the exchange between the two after Mediterranean had won the Ebor. The Newmarket handler leaned over his rival and said: "Oh master trainer, you are a nuisance".
1456: Nearly but not quite. Mirco Demuro and Worthadd take up the running over a furlong out but are run down by Side Glance and Dance And Dance. Could be the start of a very big weekend for Andrew Balding.
1st 5 Side Glance 4-1
2nd 3 Dance And Dance (IRE) 5-1
1440: Going down for a very trappy Investec Diomed Stakes. Can't have Worthadd at odds-on in what could be a very tactical affair. Dance And Dance for me - but the runs in Meydan a worry. Any chance of St Moritz nicking it from the front?
1435: Team O'Brien are turning for home on their walk of the course. Aidan travelling very well within himself.
1430: Cracking email from Brian in Chumphon Thailand on Kailani in the Oaks. He says: "Quite a few people are making the assumption that unbeaten Kailani needs easy ground simply because she won the Pretty Polly in soft ground.P>"It is true that we know very little about her from her two runs but everything I see about her (her action, her pedigree and her conformation ) tells me she will be a better filly on a firm surface. Her German Dad, Monsun liked to hear his feet rattle and ( I just checked ) most of the prize money earned by his offspring has been on the firm side of "good". Her Mum Kazzia won the Oaks on soft ground but the firm going at Newmarket was not a problem when she won the 1,000 Guneas.
"I am interested in the family because her paternal grandsire was Zinaad, a son of Time Charter ( who's owner's slightly changed colours were worn by Lay Time's jockey in the first ), and he cost me a fortune when his career while in the Stoute yard collapsed due to a dodgy temperament that stopped him using his considerable ability. He did enough to get into the stallion ranks but only in Germany.
"I backed Time Charter every time she ran ( on her pedigree ) including first time out and I suffered a huge disappointment at Longchamps when she failed in the Arc. For me, her Champion Stakes win when Billie Newnes barged her through a non-existant gap on the rails was my happiest racing day. Once clear she destroyed a good field ( I think Kalaglow was fav and I was standing next to Guy Harwood in the head-on stand that is no longer open to the public ) and I did shout rather loud in those days. I am,of course, on the magnificent Henry Candy's Rugged Cross ( from the Warrsan family ) tomorrow."
Wonderful contribution as ever B!
1420: And the gods are back in their heaven. Very encouraging performance from the winner there who passed all his rivals down the home straight. He's not finished improving by a long chalk.
1st 10 Gatewood 9-4 F
2nd 1 Ottoman Empire (FR) 20-1
3rd 14 Borug (USA) 10-1
1415: Aidan O'Brien just walked into the media centre by mistake. You've never seen anyone exit a place quicker! The Ballydoyle team about to walk the track Kissed fans.
1410: The 1-1000 chance is landed again. The winning jockey in the first, Luke Morris, says the ground is "perfect". William Buick feels it's "good to firm", Tony Hamilton "quick but no jar", Neil Callan "lovely, beautiful ground" and Jimmy Fortune "fairly quick but a bit loose on top".
1407: I'm getting a little obsessed with Gatewood. Awful lot to like about him in the parade ring. Looks the sort to progress through the season and the ranks.
1405: Frankie Dettori just gone to post aboard Rumh. He's making all the headlines at the moment and forget about his appeal to the general public etc. He remains the best big-race jockey in the business full stop. Will be interesting to see how things develop over the next month or so.
1403: Damon In Selby writes: "Come on Dance and Dance in the 2.50 at Epsom today,hes due a change of luck today Dave and a win" I'm with him too D...apologies.
1402: It will take more than one reverse to stop me here. But defeat for Gatewood would not be welcomed.
1400: The new media centre is on the inside of the track. To get to the parade ring etc you have to cross the course. That involves crouching underneath the running rails. "Go on sir, you're nearly there" the helpful advice from the security guard just now. It did take about three minutes to regain my balance.
1355: Many thanks to Sam Barnard for a Sandown update. He reported: "I was in a RUK-less pub..wasnt happy. watched when I got in. Deffo worth a watch, CH was very classy as was Opinion Poll...Sir Prancealot was most impressive for me though, for a 2 year old to be towards the rear, have to be snatched up and checked 2 maybe 3 times then run away from a quality field of its peers by 8+ lengths..great performance. cant wait to see him at Ascot."
1350: Richard Fahey pleased with Barefoot Lady who is another who didn't handle the camber here. She'll go to Royal Ascot for the Windsor Forest.
1345: A somewhat predictable start to proceedings...Clinical wins well under a good Luke Morris ride, Joviality would have won had she handled the track and Barefoot Lady is ready to peak again. Lay Time? One of the first beaten.
1st 3 Clinical 7-1
2nd 4 Joviality 9-2
3rd 1 Barefoot Lady (IRE) 4-1
1332: Well Lay Time certainly looks ready for her reappearance. I think she'll win. So does Ben 'Value Bet' Linfoot. He's a big Balding (Andrew) fan. And he's big and balding.
1330: Ryan Greenaway is back and says: "From the man who bought you losers for Cheltenham from Adelaide and losers for Aintree from Vietnam, I now bring you the Oaks loser from...drum roll...Somerset. That's right, after gallivanting around the world and studying form from numerous exotic places, I'm back in Wurzels country for a short while at least. I should be able to give you some Royal Ascot losers from America though, so don't fear.
"Anyway, today's cursed four-legged friend having to heave the burden of my selection around the undulations and curvatures of Epsom is Kailani. Plenty of question marks over this one, but she looked impressive in disposing of decent opposition, coming from the back in a fairly slowly run race, but if the ground and course can suit, which we hope they will, the boys in blue may not have quite as empty a cupboard as some thought."
You keep on the move RG - enjoy your brief home comforts. Ground was my concern re Kailani but it's very fair to point out she hasn't had the chance to prove herself on it.
1325: Great to have Michael 'not my dad' Ord back. He writes: "Greetings young man; what a wonderful weekend ahead.....
"This is probably the most difficult Oaks for some years; but first I rather like Barefoot Lady in the first and have cry fury each way in the second In the third I wonder about the pilot's Epsom inexperience on the favourite and have had a small tickle on Dance and Dance instead
"The mile handicap is a killer for punters but a small e/w punt on both Capaill Liath and Prince Jock will hopefully give me a run for small money. Keiren at the bottom of the handicap... interesting....more going on the Jock....
"I'm sticking with Vow in the Oaks. I'm hoping the greenness she showed when wandering at Lingfield will be behind her now; she ticks a big box a far as I am concerned in that she is one of a few who have won over more than mile before coming here to go 12f. The outsider / overpriced horse looks to be Better,Better,Better who was unlucky in the Cheshire Oaks and whilst this looks as tough a race to predict as any I have it down to those two and The fugue. Tricast time (if so I may be retiring next week!).<
"Fallen for you is my banker of the day and in the last I will have a nibble at Compton in the e/wmarkets as he looks overpriced and leniently treated on handicap debut. Hope the Epsom nosh is up to standard. Happy punting."
Magnificent hand-carved beef the main offering our kid. Served with salad but you can't have everything. Well you can at certain carverys in the north of England.
1322: Sam Barnard is doing it tough and says: "Sandowns card last night has to be worth a mention? Bookies well and truly BASHED! Get in Carlton House, Opinion Poll & Cogito! Happy days! Frankie is still the master! And how impressive was Sir Prancealot?! Heavy odds on wherever that goes next I fear Gatewood & Maybe (without the fugue) double so far today...will have to get a PP on at dinner to see me through a wretched afternoon at work!"
Dig in SB - I need to follow you on Twitter too as it seems you're my latest follower. I need to tweet more. I really do. I missed all of Sandown last night having been stuck on the M25 for two hours (spent exclusively going anti-clockwise between junctions 16 and 12. Need to catch up on the old RUK video form. Was CH impressive?
1320: Catching Pigeons passed on a very strong word for Whitfield in the opener at Newcastle. Not got involved myself but talking of the away meetings....Lady Kildare runs on Derby Day...admittedly at Beverley but it still counts. If the ground stays quick she ought to run well too but the nagging doubt is she's run two lamentable races there before.
1310: William Buick on Sky Sports News now. I'm back on tomorrow morning Ord fans. Hope it's a bit cooler. And that I'm not asked to use danish pastries as a prop again.
1300: I know you won't believe me but I've had a stroll along the track here, it's in wonderful nick. The camber and undulations are remarkable and Lydia Hislop did a cracking piece on it in the Armchair Jockeys video preview.
1255: Was it know that Bonfire is being ponied to the start for the Investec Derby? Well he is...
1245: Not that anyone has asked...but watering could take place after racing with three millimetres applied to the home straight. A decision will be taken later. Quite muggy and cloudy here now.
1225: I think it's looking good for Mrs Steveo with her other half writing: "Any news on Kissed yet! I put an ante post slip in my better half's Christmas Card for Kissed in the Oaks at 16s. Aidan, for the sake of a million brownie points - please run her!!!"
Aidan and team expected to walk the track shortly Steveo. And that was one helluva christmas gift!
1220: Alex Dunigan writes: "The Oaks is a bit of a puzzle. Can't have Maybe (wouldn't stay in a horse box) or Kissed or Kailani (ground). I think stamina has been a major factor in recent runnings and for that reason I am siding with two who should relish the trip and are big prices. Step forward Shirroco Star and BetterBetterBetter. A good race before the Camelot crowning tomorrow."
Definitely an interesting renewal AD, fascinating to see how weak Maybe has been in the market over the last 24 hours or so.
1210: Master trainer Richard Fahey has just started to walk the course in company with Eamon Cullen. They were quickly passed by a jockey (unidentified) who is jogging the whole circuit here. Would have joined him but sadly forgot my PE kit...
1200: My ramblings for the card are nearly complete but I do think Balty Boys will be hard to peg back in the Investec Surrey Stakes. This track could really play to his strengths.
1155: Highland Knight looks very solid each-way in the Investec Mile despite carrying Jeff Smith's second colours. Well it is only a red cap.
1152: Worthadd looks short enough in the Investec Diomed Stakes, especially as it threatens to turn into a real tactical affair. Dance And Dance would top my shortlist but he needs to bounce back from two average runs in Dubai.
1145: Looking forward to seeing Lay Time in action again in the opener. She was on a steep upward curve last season and only needs to return in the same form to win this...doesn't she?
1135: Jen from glorious BSE says: "A somewhat dull BSE greeting you this morning but at least we have proper ground for this fine meeting. How my selections have been running lately you would be better consulting the wandering fortune tellers but you have been warned. The last time Rumh ran over today's trip she won a listed event by 6 lengths on similar going so 20/1 in looks very generous. Meanwhile in the Oaks, The Fugue still has to turn around the Guineas form with Maybe though neither are guaranteed to stay. In view of this I'll take a chance on Colima as she is a big price compared to Vow who could take the Lyphard route.
"I've still got a little ante-post interest in Twirl although I'm not expecting to collect.Best of luck on the seasoned sausage front but I must tell you that my parents had great difficulty securing a genuine Cumberland ring for me when they visited my brother a couple of weeks ago, this is a deeply worrying development. Hope your accommodation comes with an acceptable cask ale."
Bottles of 6X was the only alea on offer Jen and the news of the cumberland ring is disturbing. No finer sausage in this great land of ours - improved only with a fried free-range egg.
1125: David M writes: "Good morning Davey Boy. I'm all over JUSTINEO in the 4:50 like a fat lass over a cream cake. Can't see this getting beat and even if JUSTINEO doesn't fancy winning today, I think Moore will hoist JUSTINEO up on his back and carry him over the line. The man is sensational."
He's certainly riding at the very top of his game right now DM.
1120: Chopper Harris has the game cracked. He says: "I feel the next 2 days the bookies will be taking a hammering. Load the gun for worthaad today, odds against is a steal for me. Then put the lot on the 2 certs of the meeting , St Nick & Camelot in a juicy double. Bank holiday is all paid for then, and you can feel like a king for a few days lol."
Now it does seem very easy at this stage Chopper...
1110: Word to the wise, the latest Catching Pigeons column is live, plenty of nuggets in there methinks.
1100: I wish I'd spoken to Thomas Fortune in Dublin earlier. He writes: "Top of the Morning to you Dave, Good work on predicting the lively outsider for Euro 2012. The Irish are all you need to talk about there!
"The only worry for us will be those notably pesky Germans in the Semis. To the Oaks and The Fugue certainly seems to be the talking horse of the race.
"I remain unconvinced, however, and will look to Ballydoyle for the winner. Assuming she runs, Kissed looks the one to be on for them- the "She could be anything" vibes from her handlers are enough for me. Maybe has too many presumptions surrounding her and I'm not sure she will stay.That old fox Johnny Murtagh is my primary concern on Vow.
"Medium stakes at best though- no sense in getting too worked up about a woman. Any sign of rain?? My rain dance failed to stretch across the Irish Sea it seems.
"Mickdaam (33/1) is my choice for the Derby tomorrow all the same- reading Richard Fahey's column over soggy corn flakes this morning only served to increase my enthusiasm for this one.Mind yourself Sir, happy blogging and Bon Chance."
Would love Mickdaam to run a huge race too TF. Makes a bit of appeal at around 10-1 in the markets without Camelot too.
1055:Mike who says: "I hope the Bacon mission is progressing well, I have just smashed my way through bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, black pudding and toast - hope this helps!
"Anyway enough breakfast gloating, what do make of Kailani's chances? I cant help but wonder why Godolphin have shelled out to supplement her for todays oaks if she doesnt have a chance. I know the ground is different to anything she has faced to date, and her ma won the slowest Oaks in many a year on very soft ground, but the boys in blue will have known the forecast when they supplemented her and reports after her 7 length win last time was that she wasnt fully wound up. Is this the best chance to snaffle a 10/1 winner you'll have in many a year? is it Dave??"
Not for me M - but that breakfast sounds right up Ord Street. Was it a seasoned sausage though?
1050: Brownie has me down as a younger man than I actually am. "Morning Dave, I thought basic parking was covered in the initial driving test, do we feel a refresher course is required?
"Onto today, and I feel I'm already onto a loser. Firstly, I'm having to take the wife to a hospital appointment at 2.30pm, just as the action gets going. Then upon my return I need to finish the packing as we set off for Spain early doors (Need to find bar and beer to compliment Camelot hosing up in the Derby once there!). Will be watching today's action at about 10pm tonight I feel!
"I'm liking Gatewood in the 2.15, took the 4's available first thing. Worthadd is the days banker, surely his form is too strong for the rest. As for the Oaks, pre York I thought O'Brien had it in the bag, but I'm a huge 'Fugue' fan now after the Musidora display, and it appears once I've added it all up that I've some significant monies riding on the Gosden/Buick hotpot!
"Good luck all, hope everybody has a great Oaks and Derby day!"
No parking element in my day B. Had there been the l plates would have become a permanent fixture.
1045: The greeting in Dave Lawlor's email worried me greatly! "Yo D-Bone.. Any news on Kissed's participation in The Oaks????"
Moving swiftly on not yet DL. Lovely day here now, warm and humid. Track in wonderful condition but no way is it an easier than when the declarations were made.
1040: Mark White writes: "First time mailer here but avid reader of your blog
I would like your opinion on the chances of Coquet, when she last ran Hugh Morrison was very negative about her chances but she duely won could this be the lively outsider that we all dream off, anyway i am on E/W Also get your money on Norse Blues, Kirk must love a punt as his horses are running well at a price. Off for me Bacon butty."
Welcome aboard MW. I actually quite like the other Morrison runner Shirocco Star in the big one. Liked the way she travelled at Newbers and she'll be ridden differently today.
1035: Battling demons down here - but I'm winning! John C writes: "I hope all is well in Ordland and you had some eggs with the bacon. I am guessing you are a rind eater too! Cannot decide who to back in the Oaks Dave. My early fancy was Maybe but the drift to 4s has put me off a little. Cannot wait for Camelot to hack up and think St Nick in a short price double is the way to go. What say you?"
No money for Maybe anywhere today JC. What do you make of Kissed? Warning she'd only run if the ground eased, it hasn't, and yet I think she's still an intended runner and Ryan Moore very bullish in his Betfair column yesterday.
1025: The Downs Flies seem even bigger this year. I swear you could put a saddle on the one that just collided with my left knee.
1015: Still no bacon but plenty of strong opinions on today's action. John Gosden will have a double with The Fugue and Gatewood while the best bet of the day is Van Ellis in the finale. There, you can't say you weren't told.
1000: Good morning and welcome to Epsom for Investec Ladies Day. Apologies for my tardy start but I had to do a 9.45 on Sky Sports News. That's how we speak in the TV game. I didn't know I was doing it until 0911 at which time I'd just exited the M23. What followed was some of the worst driving ever produced in a VW Golf.
Having found the press car park I was asked to re-park my ageing metal warrior by a fussy car park attendant three times. I then had to queue for my wristband and media centre pass and I arrived on set, with three minutes to spare, sweating.
David Craig kindly rearranged my tie, sat me next to the slim and suntanned David Stevens and then asked me about lively outsiders for Euro 2012. Bar England and Republic Of Ireland I couldn't tell you who's playing.
Anyway panic over, I'm now behind the keyboard in the new media centre and the sweat is now restricted to the back.
The going here is good, good to firm in places with no rain overnight. We're going to be dry and up to about 20 degrees celcius today. The sweat will return. As ever your emails are craved at email@example.com but first I must eat bacon. No I really must.