x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Godolphin's Khawlah to be sidelined for the Oaks

The absence of Khawlah, who has had complications with her programme, means Blue Bunting is Godolphin's only horse in the Oaks at Epsom next week.

LONDON // Godolphin will rely solely on Blue Bunting in the Oaks at Epsom a week from today as Simon Crisford, the racing manager to the Dubai-based operation, ruled out Khawlah for the fillies' Classic.

Blue Bunting won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month despite being considered more of an Oaks type by her trainer, Mahmood al Zarooni.

Khawlah prepped for the race by becoming the first filly to succeed in the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night, but because of complications with her programme the daughter of Cape Cross will be set aside for Royal Ascot next month.

"Khawlah was a little bit behind schedule when she arrived from Dubai - she had to do a 30-day quarantine after World Cup night," Crisford said. "I think she will almost certainly go for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot."

Godolphin also will have one representative in the Derby a week from tomorrow as Crisford confirmed that Casamento and Genius Beast would be entered at the five-day stage for the 2,400m Classic but would not participate. Ocean War looks set to line up in the Dh7.5 million contest in their place. Frankie Dettori will be in the irons replacing Mickael Barzalona, who will ride Pour Moi, trained by Andre Fabre.

Casamento could not live with the pace and power of Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month and will head instead for the French Derby, run over 2,000m at Chantilly on the same day as the English equivalent. Genius Beast, who won the Classic Trial at Sandown but could subsequently only finish third in the Prix Hocquart 12 days ago, will follow Khawlah to the Royal Meeting.

"We are going to go with Ocean War at the moment," Crisford said. "The plan is to go for the Prix du Jockey Club with Casamento. He will only be entered into the Derby as a precautionary measure. Genius Beast will also be entered as a precautionary measure, but he will go for the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot."

Barzalona was also at Epsom's Breakfast with the Stars event before flying by helicopter back to France where he rode at Longchamp yesterday afternoon. Barzalona rode Ocean War to both successes at Newmarket this season, the most recent on 2,000 Guineas day in a Listed event that confirmed Al Zarooni's high esteem of both horse and jockey.

"Ocean War has come on a lot since his first win at Newmarket," Barzalona said.

"With each run he has matured so hopefully that improvement will continue."

Barzalona had never ridden around Epsom before but yesterday morning he acquainted himself with the track's layout when giving Pour Moi a spin around the course.

Pour Moi, who Fabre believes is his best chance of winning the Derby at his tenth attempt, sweated up badly when walking down to the start of his training run.

"The track is certainly not flat!" Barzalona said after his 1,800m canter. "Like the horse, I discovered the track for the first time. Everything went well.

 

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