Based on the reaction of bookmakers it seems the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York on Wednesday may not have unearthed the Oaks winner. It may not even have unearthed an Oaks runner.
That will be decided following discussions between Give And Take’s trainer William Haggas and owner-breeder Nicholas Jones. In such times of uncertainty and confusion, both parties will have to show a little give and take.
Epsom quotes ranging from 12-1 to 25-1 were produced after James Doyle had guided last month’s Sandown novice second to a driven-out defeat of Dancing Brave Bear and Ejtyah.
Now connections must decide whether it would be wisest to run the daughter of Cityscape in the Investec Oaks – whose latest forfeit deadline is noon today – or instead head to Longchamp on Sunday week for the Prix Saint-Alary over the Musidora distance.
Ultimately Jones will have the final call. He also has the greater emotional bond having got Give And Take through the winding, teething and nappy stages. However, he pays Haggas for his expertise and admitted: “I take instructions from my wife, from my trainer, from everybody!”
Setting out his own argument, Jones said: “It would be lovely to have a runner in the Oaks but it’s nice to have options. The Oaks is the Oaks, and we’ll see what remains in that and the Prix Saint-Alary. We’ll then see who decides.
“She has a great staying family, as the dam is a full-sister to a Gold Cup winner in Fame And Glory and Legatissimo, who is a cousin of this filly, only got beat a short head in the Oaks. I’ve always been more sure about a mile and a half than William.”
Explaining why he has always been less sure about a mile and a half than Jones, Haggas said: “I think we need to think about it.
“I’m not convinced, and I never have been convinced, that a mile and a half is her go. Nicholas assures me it’s a good staying family and the one thing she will do is stay, but she has always showed me speed at home – so I’m not convinced.
“I have her in the Prix Saint-Alary next weekend. I know it’s quite soon but I’m going to look at that. I’m not convinced about the Oaks, but there’s only one Oaks and if Mr Jones wants to go for it, we will.”
In a nutshell, Haggas is not convinced. The trainers of the placed horses, however, are convinced they have smart animals for the future.
“She’s in the Ribblesdale and I’d have thought that’s where we’ll go next,” said Dancing Brave Bear’s trainer Ed Vaughan. “She’s an exciting filly and she’s going to continue to improve.”
David Simcock said of Ejtyah: “She could probably have done with another run under her belt, but what I’m most pleased with is she was probably the strongest filly through the line.”
But would Give And Take be the strongest filly through the line at Epsom, where her stamina would be examined like never before?“It’s a good problem to have, a high-class problem,” admitted Jones.
Formal discussions with his trainer have now officially begun..