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Strong Mind focused on Oaks triumph

By Frank Brownlow

Aidan O'Brien has revealed that Ballydoyle will miss the Investec Oaks at Epsom - leaving the door wide open for stablemate Minding.

Ballydoyle will instead go to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Cup or the French Oaks at Chantilly next month.

Ballydoyle, who was a 4-1 shot for the Oaks behind 5-4 chance Minding, missed the Irish 1,000 Guineas last weekend due to an unsatisfactory blood picture two days before the race.

"Ballydoyle won't be going to Epsom. Her bloods have improved but she wouldn't be ready for the Oaks," said O'Brien last night.

"We have two options for her next month if she continues to progress - the Coronation Stakes or French Oaks."

Ballydoyle finished second to Minding in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month.

Minding's bid for the Newmarket-Curragh Classic double was thwarted by Jet Setting last weekend, but she could still end up a dual Classic winner.

Minding, beaten a head at the Curragh, was found to have a swelling on the side of her face and a cut on her nostril after banging her head leaving the stalls.

"She's had an easy week and seems to be fine," O'Brien said.

"The Oaks is still the plan once everyone is happy with her and with her work early next week."

Meanwhile Majoris, the second offspring of the mighty Frankel to grace the racecourse, showed promise when a staying-on sixth in division two of the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes at Haydock yesterday.

The John Gosden-trained Cunco had given Frankel a winning start to his career as a stallion when making a successful debut at Newbury two weeks ago, but trainer Hugo Palmer was not expecting fireworks first time out from Majoris.

However, he looked as though he would come on a bundle for the experience.

Last early on and very green, he appeared to get the hang of things in the closing stages to take sixth place under a sympathetic ride from William Buick.

Sent off third best in the betting at 13-2, having opened at 9-2, Majoris was six and a half lengths behind the winner, the Kevin Ryan-trained Dream Of Dreams (2-1 favourite).

He showed the benefit of his debut second six weeks ago to win by half a length from Waqaas.

"He's grown up a lot since his first run. He was a lot more mature and galloped all the way to the line," said Ryan's son and assistant Adam.

"The ground could be the key to him - he likes to get his toe in. He looks like a horse who will get seven furlongs in time."

Belfast Telegraph


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