Oscula makes swift return in search of Oak Tree honours

George Boughey’s ultra-consistent Oscula makes a quick return to the track in search of Group Three honours when she lines up in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday.

The battle-hardened daughter of Galileo Gold was a winner at this level in France last year in a productive juvenile campaign, and while a trip to Saudi Arabia in the early part of 2022 did not go as hoped, she has been a standing dish in the results section since making a belated return to action on home soil in the Surrey Stakes at Epsom last month.

Second on that occasion, she went on to land the Eternal Stakes at Carlisle before three more podium finishes and was seen in action as recently as last Saturday when only beaten a nose by Jumbly in the Valiant Stakes.

Although a high-class 17-strong field has been assembled, Nick Bradley, managing director of Nick Bradley Racing is adamant he would not swap his filly for any other contender.

He said: “She ran a great race at Ascot on Saturday and was fresh and well the next day, so we’ve decided to run again. She’s got a great draw. She’s a model of consistency, a dream to own and I think she has a huge chance.

“You don’t get to be involved with horses like her very often, she’s a dream to own and although there are some good fillies in the race, I wouldn’t swap her for any of them.”

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Bradley is also represented in the race by Karl Burke’s Honey Sweet and added: “She’s got a little bit to do at the weights with the best of them, but she’s got a nice draw, goes there fresh and should run a nice race. But Oscula will be the first string.”

Soft Whisper, here winning at Newmarket, is searching for a hat-trick in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood
Soft Whisper, here winning at Newmarket, is searching for a hat-trick in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood (Mike Egerton/PA)

Saeed bin Suroor’s hat-trick-seeking Soft Whisper is among the leading lights and the Newmarket handler thinks he has the four-year-old in fine shape to add to her most recent success at Chelmsford, where she accounted for the reopposing Bounce The Blues.

He said: “The filly is doing well, she has come back well from her last run at Chelmsford. She worked nicely in her last piece of work and we’re looking forward to a good run from her. She’s in good form.”

Royal Ascot winner Heredia drops back in trip having lost her unbeaten record at Sandown last time, while Primo Bacio is another to shift down from a mile and drop in grade having contested the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket most recently.

Another to drop back in distance is David Loughnane’s Hello You, with the trainer retaining plenty of faith in his charge despite a disappointing campaign thus far.

“This trip of seven furlongs and maybe even shorter is ideal for her,” said Loughnane.

“We thought she was going to be a miler, but she didn’t stay in the 1000 Guineas, so it is back to seven.

“She’ll be a lot more comfortable in fillies-only company and even though it’s a really competitive race, she’s a filly we think a lot of and she’s more than capable of holding her own.”

Francis-Henri Graffard’s Prix Volterra victor Samahram is an interesting raider from France and the mount of Frankie Dettori, while Roger Varian is double-handed in the race with She Do and July Festival scorer Miss Carol Ann.

“She Do is in great form and should be suited by the test,” said Varian. “She would prefer easier ground, but we will see how she gets on.

“Miss Carole Ann is also in very good form and she is coming off the back of winning a nice handicap at the July meeting. She will enjoy the fast ground and seven furlongs seems to be her ticket at the moment. I think she will run a nice race.

“It’s a big field and very competitive, but both fillies deserve their place in the line-up.”

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