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Khawlah May Opt for Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot


With the Epsom Derby meeting just a few short weeks away, there is still plenty of movement in the betting markets are the declarations are drawing closer and certain contender seem firmly pointed while others look to have their eye on other contests.

After grabbing all the headlines when storming home to win one for the home team in the Grade 2 UAE Derby at Meydan, Khawlah (Cape Cross) was expected to contest the Epsom Oaks and to draw a relatively strong amount of support from the betting public. She just got up to nip Master of Hounds (Kingmambo) by a nose after being sent off as the lukewarm 4/1 favourite.

However, the expected smooth progress into the Oaks could be impeded by the presence of Godolphin's other sharp female contesting middle-distances – the extremely likable Blue Bunting (Dynaformer). Conquering the Qipco 1000 Guineas sent a very bold declaration to the rest of the three-year-old fillies division and it came in he seasonal debut after scoring at listed level in the penultimate contest of her two-year-old campaign.

The presence of Blue Bunting has caused Khawlah's 10/1 price tag to drift higher as the race draws nearer and a recent statement to the media has failed to clarify things regarding Khawlah's chances. Godolphin's racing manager Simon Crisford declared “Blue Bunting is being aimed at the Oaks and the only other possibility is Khawlah who won the UAE Derby, but she has only recently arrived back from Dubai and the alternative for her would be the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.”

It would certainly add an additional element to the race if Khawlah and Blue Bunting were to face off in the Oaks as it would represent another classic encounter between the two Godolphin conditioners.

Khawlah's price has drifted to around 12/1 today while Blue Bunting continues to take money with a 9/4 ante post price tag. The main rival to Blue Bunting appears to be 4/1 Wonder of Wonders (Kingmambo) who made her statement by conquering the Cheshire Oaks on May 4.  

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