This weekend is shaping up to be another incredible feast of action. The Derby and the Eclipse may take more of the column inches but Epsom plus host to another Classic. Three of the last six renewals of the Oaks have gone to the master of Clarehaven, John Gosden. Gosden holds strong claims once more in the 2020 Oaks with Ribblesdale winner Frankly Darling.
The rapid progression of a Gosden filly is nothing unusual. For Frankly Darling to produce such an authoritative performance in a Group 2 on just her third career start was quite something to behold.
It was only a novice event that she won at Newcastle on the opening day back from lockdown but she had looked a very smart filly there and seems to be improving at a rapid rate of knots.
A quirky track will be a different test for the daughter of Frankel. Gosden won this race in 2014 with Taghrooda, Enable in 2017 and Annapurna in 2019 so he knows exactly the type of filly needed to take on the undulations.
Clearly the main danger to another Gosden winner is the 1000 Guineas winner. Gosden said “Love looks a worthy favourite in what she achieved in the 1,000 Guineas. She’s a Classic winner with solid Group 1 form from last year whereas we are stepping up in grade.”
The advantage that Frankly Darling has is that she is already proven over this trip. The Ballydoyle filly steps up half a mile in distance and while she looks like she’ll get further than a mile, she does have to prove it to be so with her pedigree sending mixed messages.