Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Casual Has the Classic Look; Trainer Andrew Balding Has Filly to Emerge out from His Father's Shadow

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Casual Has the Classic Look; Trainer Andrew Balding Has Filly to Emerge out from His Father's Shadow

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

SIDESTEP the favourites and keep a close eye on Casual Look when Epsom puts on its best face for the Vodafone Oaks tomorrow. Nearly all the talk in the lead-up to this [pounds sterling]350,000 contest, which is due off at 4.05pm, has centred around Yesterday and Hi Dubai, a pair of impeccablybred fillies representing two powerful yards who have won the Oaks five times in the last nine years.

But don't be surprised if tomorrow's headlines focus on the up-and-coming trainer Andrew Balding, who has had this race in mind for Casual Look from the moment he replaced his father Ian at Kingsclere's historic Park House Stables earlier this year.

Yesterday has also been targeted at the Oaks all year by Aidan O'Brien and shot to the head of the ante-post market for the Epsom Classic after landing the Irish 1,000 Guineas two weeks ago when holding the luckless Six Perfections by a short head under a masterful ride from Michael Kinane.

She bids to go one better than her full sister Quarter Moon did in this race last year, while the lightly-raced Hi Dubai is looking to give Godolphin their fourth Oaks success on the back of a gallant second to Fidelite in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp.

I believe in Yesterday, who looks to hold the edge over Hi Dubai in terms of form and also shapes like a filly certain to relish the chance to tackle a mile and a half for the first time. It will take a mallet to keep her out of the money, but from a value point of view you have to take note of Casual Look,who is seven times the price of the favourite despite having beaten her fair and square in both their previous encounters. Consistency and a willingness to battle are the main attributes of this filly. She thrived on racing at two, signing off with two excellent seconds in high-class company, and her reappearance in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket promised even better to come.

No one who saw the Guineas will need reminding that it was a very rough race. …

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