John Gosden reveals his Oaks bound duo have never worked together and is unsure if recent Newbury scorer Nashwa will see out the extra Epsom trip.
A host of stars took to the track at the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning ahead of the Derby Festival over the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, including the Cazoo Oaks favourite, Emily Upjohn.
Gosden was pleased with the three-year-old after her piece of work and later reported she will line up for the first time alongside her stablemate Nashwa in the fillies Classic.
“They've never worked together and it wouldn't be my intention to do so,” said Gosden.
He continued, “This filly (Emily Upjohn) is guaranteed a mile and a half, with Nashwa the speed she shows it wouldn't be guaranteed, they’re two different types of fillies.”
The Musidora winner was top of the bill on track, completing her work first and in good style. Gosden communicated he only chose to bring the York heroine to the Surrey course because Nashwa would have had too quick a turnaround after her Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes victory.
“She only ran last Saturday and it was soon enough, I think it was a bit close to that race” Said Gosden.
Watching on, Gosden insisted it was not a case of putting her through her paces but to adapt to the conditions of the undulating Epsom track.
He said: “Frankie and I felt, for a filly she's had three races in her life, it would be nice to come here. Just to have a look at the track, have a feel of the track - that’s all you're really doing, you're not trying to do expiratory work other than just getting a feel for it.
“She behaved great, she moved very well. She got a lead coming down the hill and she quickened up nicely.”
The 71-year-old has saddled three Oaks winners and has used racecourse gallops like Monday’s assignment previous, citing that for younger horses it can succour their minds.
He said: “I think mentally (She’ll benefit) a lot really. She’s not exactly a filly who has raced a lot as a two-years-old. You can see by the size and frame of her, that’s why we gave her time and why we were patience.
“I think she rather enjoyed her morning out here.”
Gosden followed Emily Upjohn down the racecourse to the unsaddling enclosure whilst helping repair divots created by the filly down the center of the track. Commenting on the ground, he believes the straightforward daughter of Sea The Stars will cope with any surface presented on the day.
“She’d be happy like most horses on Good ground, because on good ground you don't get any jar and you can quicken. I hope we don't get torrential rain and it starts going soft in a hurry like it can here.
“That would be unfortunate because then it becomes who can handle it and who can’t. If we had anything Good, or Good to Soft that would be great” said Gosden.
She became a warm order for the Oaks after her success at York. She has always been well supported on her trips to the racecourse, apart from on her debut at Wolverhampton in November.
Gosden recalled, “We discussed it and Rab Havlin wanted to ride her at Wolverhampton. Martin Harley rode our other boy (Aerospace) and they were backing him but Rab was very keen to ride her, it wasn't pure chance.”
Despite returning a Tote win of £13.60, and debuting as a two-year-old in late November, Gosden insisted she has always shown star quality at home. He said: “Yeah, she's a big girl but she wasn't ready to run till late in the year.
“The one great thing I've found about the all-weather is you can get a two-year-old out late in the year. In the old days, come November or the end of October the ground had gone and you couldn't run them till the end of March or early April, so that’s the great thing about the all-weather for bringing those horses on.”
For her three-year-old debut she was sent to Sandown for a fillies novice stakes where she hosed up and declared her composition as a outstanding classic contender.
That Sandown drill was over a mile and a quarter, with the filly showing a good turn of foot to pull away from her rivals. Speed does not to be an issue for this filly, with her trainer certain she has plenty of it, He said: “She has the ability to quicken.
“She quickened well there at York, she did so at Wolverhampton. Obviously she sat very handy at Sandown and then lengthened off the front so she can do it either way, she has a change of gear.”
Taghrooda plotted a different route to Epsom via the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket before her impressive triumph in the 2014 Oaks. Gosden noted that Emily Upjohn was in the same league as dual Group One winner but didn’t see the likeness to all-time great mare Enable.
He said: “I think she's in the Taghrooda league.
“It would be silly to start talking about Enable, that would be completely over the top.
“The ability to travel and then quicken over a trip I think she has that. I know they were playing at half speed this morning but even the way she quickened today, at the three and the two, it was impressive.”
In contrast, a more compelling storyline would be if Nashwa could secure a first Classic for female rider Hollie Doyle.
Doyle enjoyed success at the highest level already riding three Group One winners including Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes, but reached beyond the boundaries of Horse racing in 2020.
The 25-year-old was nominated BBC Sports Personality of the Year after a stellar campaign in the saddle, where she finished third.
Gosden spoke of Doyle’s talent and told the story of how she became the retained rider for Nashwa's owner. He said: “Imad Alsagar asked me about Hollie two or three years ago. What do I think?
“I said I think she’s a superb jockey. She is very talented, horses run for her and she’s got an incredible work ethic. It’s a great idea if you retain her and so he did.
“She’s proven it internationally, let alone here, what a great rider she is. If it came up it would be wonderful (If she were to win the Oaks).”
Doubly charged in this year’s renewal, Gosden could be saddling his first Classic winner with his son Thady on the licence with him.
Not getting carried away with that possibility, Gosden said: “It would be great, we’ve had a lot of good luck together already and things go wrong but that's the nature of this game it’s never an even path.
“It would be wonderful but I tend not to think in those terms.”
It would also be a first Classic for Emily Upjohn’s Owners, perhaps not particularly synonymous with other equine superstars, Steve Roden has been a patron of horse racing for decades.
“They’ve had horses for years, they’ve won the Musidora before with Mark Johnson.
“They were great supporters of Henry Cecil when Henry went through his really dark days,” said Gosden.