Middleton Stakes, Sandown Classic Trial

Epsom Derby 2016: Soaring run by So Mi Dar means Investec Oaks aim

So Mi Dar put the colts in their place when, as the only filly in the £50,000 Investec Derby Trial at Epsom Racecourse, she won despite Frankie Dettori dropping his whip, on Wednesday 20th April.

Trained by John Gosden and owned and bred by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, the three-year-old daughter of Dubawi out of three-time Group One winner Dar Re Mi is now on target for the fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks, back at Epsom Downs on Ladies’ Day, Friday 3rd June.

The intention is to run her beforehand, with the Musidora Stakes (11th May) at York being mentioned by Gosden in comments after her neck triumph over Humphrey Bogart (12/1), with the third Viren’s Army (10/1) three and a half lengths in arrears and the same distance again back to the fourth, the 5/6 favourite, the Ryan Moore-ridden and Aidan O’Brien-trained Claudio Monteverdi, who failed to act on the undulating 10-furlong course.

So Mi Dar, sent off the 3/1 second favourite, led over a furlong out and was pushed out to see off the late challenge of the runner-up. Her time on soft turf came to 2m 18.97s.

Simon Marsh, racing manager for the Lloyd-Webbers, has always thought So Mi Dar could be a prospect for the Investec Oaks.

He said: “It was a very exciting victory. We had hoped she would be an above-average filly and up to Investec Oaks class but you never know until they do it on the track.

“Hopefully, we can now get to the Investec Oaks. Her mother, Dar Re Mi, was a mile and a half filly, maybe best over 10 furlongs, and Dubawi gets them over any distance so there is no reason why she won’t stay the Investec Oaks’ trip.

“So Mi Dar is very much like her grandmother, Darara, who won the Group One Prix Vermeille. I don’t see why she should not go on any ground, barring extremes.”

The winner of the Investec Derby Trial gained a wildcard entry to the Investec Derby, Britain’s premier Classic and richest race (£1,325,000), which is run on the second and final day of the Investec Derby Festival, Saturday 4th June.

However, Gosden indicated that the Investec Oaks will be So Mi Dar’s target.

The Newmarket handler commented: “We are delighted with her. She was a little gassy and Frankie dropped her out and settled her in. She came there nicely but then Frankie threw his whip away three out which was a very good idea as I did not want him to hit her. She took up the running well but was idling in front, which I took as a good sign, and he rode her out hands and heels.

“We are thrilled with her and came here to see how she would handle the track. She has handled the track well and with a bit of luck we will go to the Musidora and then hopefully come back for the Investec Oaks. The ground is soft enough today and she will be better on better ground.

“Frankie said she was idling in front, rather than running out of stamina. Her mother stayed well and Dubawi seems to get them to do anything.

“Investec are great sponsors and we are lucky to have them. They deserve all the support we can give them because they support us a lot.

“I could not get a handicap mark for this filly until yesterday, 81, after I had declared for this race and I stayed on the course we had determined. We had planned this for a bit.

“I think we will stick with the Investec Oaks, though I don’t have a Golden Horn for the Investec Derby this year.”

Dettori added: “I have ridden So Mi Dar work once and she gave me a very good feel. It was a big task taking on the colts today. She is very neat and compact and the track really suited her.

“She just ran a touch green at the three (furlong-pole) but then at the two I had them all covered. I lost my whip and when she was in front idling a bit she still had some left. If I could have given her a backhander, she probably would have pulled away.

“She is a quick learner and a good traveller. I am very, very pleased with her. She is entitled to go for the Musidora and hopefully the Investec Oaks. I think there is more to come from her.”


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