Love has major future targets after Epsom Oaks win

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Love

The three Group 1 races in the UK last weekend all have implications for ante-post betting on future races. The most significant market move is for Love to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which is now paying +400 at BetOnline. Serpentine has entered the picture for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at +700, while Ghaiyyath is prominent in the betting for both races and could turn out to be the best Flat horse in training.

Love not only won the Oaks but proved to be by far the best three-year-old filly in the UK and Ireland. She beat seven high-class contemporaries by nine lengths and more while producing a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 122. The +110 favourite ran clear inside the final furlong to deliver an impressive win for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. The second favourite, Frankly Darling, was over nine lengths adrift in third place but was not suited by the undulating track.

Love has now won Classics over one mile and over one mile and four furlongs. The Coolmore syndicate are sporting owners and might like the idea of going for the filly’s Triple Crown. The third leg is the St Leger at Doncaster in September, for which Love is on offer at +500 odds. Only nine female horses have won three Classics in the same season, with Oh So Sharp in 1985 the last to do so.

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However, the Arc looks the more likely target for Love. She gets the weight-for-age and fillies-and-mares allowances, which amount to 10 pounds. Enable won her first Arc aged three in 2017 with the same concessions. Fillies have an excellent recent record in the Arc and it would take an exceptional older male horse to beat Love while giving so much weight. The 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner has the right blend of speed and stamina to be competitive in the St Leger and the Arc. There is a three-week gap between the races this season and Love has the attributes to come close to winning both races.

John Gosden, Enable’s trainer, said he thought his horse was only 85% fit in the Eclipse, so to arrive inside the final furlong in contention and go down by only two-and-a-quarter lengths to Ghaiyyath was a decent effort. Enable had not run since finishing second in the Arc last October, so she produced a decent first run of the season. The long-term target is still a record third Arc and the best price for that outcome is +500.

As a colt aged five, Ghaiyyath would be conceding weight to Enable and Love. There are arguments for making all Group 1 races level-weight contests to identify the best horse, but the allowances are well established and have passed the test of time. The Arc takes place on the first Sunday in October, so the shape of the betting market will change. Love looks the most likely winner at this early stage, but other contenders could emerge over the next three months.

Ghaiyyath will have to give weight to the Classic generation and female runners in the King George at Ascot at the end of the month. However, Enable certainly and Love possibly could be aimed at other races. Ghaiyyath’s more interesting potential rivals are Serpentine and Stradivarius. The former stole the bizarre Derby with a positive ride from the front, while the latter won a third Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month. However, Magical did not run over the weekend. The filly gets weight from the colts and looks the standout bet to win the King George at +400.

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