Balding bullish about Horseplay
Investec Oaks contender Horseplay delighted Andrew Balding as she enjoyed a gallop around Epsom at Tuesday morning's Breakfast with the Stars event.
The Cape Cross filly propelled herself into the Classic picture when running out a game winner of the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket's Guineas meeting.
Horseplay had previously won one of her two juvenile starts and Balding was pleased to get another racecourse spin into his Oaks hopeful.
Horseplay was partnered by Oisin Murphy as she worked in company with six-year-old Elbereth, who was second in Group Two company last time and also holds two engagements at the Derby meeting.
Balding said: "I'm very happy with Horseplay.
"She looked around a little bit, but she picked up well and Oisin was happy with her.
"We didn't want to overdo it as were not that far away from the race.
"Elbereth, the lead-horse, is no slough and has entries in the Coronation Cup and Princess Elizabeth Stakes.
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"She is in the form of her life having finished a good second in the Dahlia, having made the running."
Murphy felt the track presented few problems for Horseplay and was more than satisfied by her gallop.
He said: "We galloped her on grass about a month ago and she worked nicely, then she won at Newmarket nicely, not by a decisive margin, but it was on good to firm ground over a mile and a quarter.
"She is obviously not ground dependent and I thought she handled the track as well as any others that I have ridden here, so that is very positive.
"She was on top of Elbereth at the line and she took a bit of pulling up without pressing any buttons."
Horseplay was the only Oaks contender to work at Epsom, but trainer John Gosden was at the track and confirmed he will be double-handed in the 12-furlong Classic.
Gosden plans to run Enable and Coronet as his Musidora Stakes winner Shutter Speed will be heading to the Prix de Diane in France next month.
Enable won the Cheshire Oaks at Chester, beating the Aidan O'Brien-trained Alluringly to book her Epsom ticket, while Coronet was last seen finishing third in the Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville earlier this month.
Gosden said: "Enable and Coronet are both looking like they are going to run at Epsom.
"I have been happy with Enable since Chester, she put in a fine performance there and handled the track well.
"Coronet was slowly away in the Saint-Alary, but she finished very strongly to grab third on the line."
Alluringly was a length and three-quarters behind Enable at Chester and she is set to be one of two runners for O'Brien along with 1000 Guineas second Rhododendron.
The Ballydoyle handler said: "The plan is to go there with Rhododendron and Alluringly."
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