Oaks Blog – Minding On The Job?
IT was the defeat nobody saw coming. Least of all the ante post market for next month’s Oaks. But Minding’s shock loss by a head at the Curragh on Sunday has resulted in something of a tremor for the June 3 Classic. Aidan O’Brien’s super-filly, a general 8/13 shot before her Irish 1000 Guineas reversal, now finds herself trading at a huge best price 13/8 (at the time of writing) for Epsom. Throw in a cut to the side of her head picked up in the starting stalls in Ireland and all of a sudden the unshakeable market confidence pre-Sunday is on the walk.
Or is it?
As a punter, I love these kind of scenarios. A result where, to all intents and purposes, the market has completely over-reacted to one bare result and now offers us a great chance to make hay. Let’s examine Sunday’s defeat in more detail. Jet Setting, on all known form, had no right to get within the same postcode as Minding. But get near her she did and fend her off in a thrilling battle to the line. However, the fact that the rest of the field couldn’t get within 10 lengths of Minding is crucially being lost in the mire of the bare result. Is it disappointing for connections that she lost? For sure. But on any other given day this would have been yet another devastating performance to add to an ever growing list. In other words, the result needs some context applied.
It’s true that doubts surrounding her fitness are not helping her price. But listen closely to O’Brien and he seemingly remains confident that she stays on course. His Monday bulletin that the vet had checked her over and “seemed happy with her” said everything it needed to. It’s going to take a lot to keep the stable star in her box when a Classic is at her mercy.
Which brings me to the price. The drift to 13/8 has me in mind of the now infamous defeat that Faugheen suffered at the hands of Nichols Canyon. Cue the loopy reaction of Cheltenham ante post markets and ‘The Machine’ being offered up at a monstrous 7/4. Some months down the line he would succumb to injury on the eve of the Festival, but by then he was back in to long odds on after punters had got wise to that brief aberration from bookmakers.
To my mind, we have a very similar situation right here. If Minding lines up in the Oaks she goes off no bigger than 4/6. And yet here we are being offered 13/8. For me, this is not a bet about her ability to win the race (I have more confidence in her than ever). It now becomes a question of whether you think O’Brien will get her to the start line. For those sensing the potential value of the situation, the opportunity is clear. Whether you want to wager on a horse lining up is your call. But Minding at 13/8 would be value of the year if taking her place in that race – and right now it might just be an opportunity worth taking.