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Racing: O'Brien's Mona Lisa is aiming to put herself in Oaks picture.


AIDAN O'BRIEN already has the leading contenders for both the Vodafone Oaks and Derby but he can add to his armoury with Mona Lisa this afternoon.

The daughter of Giant's Causeway will no doubt be thrust into the forefront of the betting should she win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York this afternoon. And judged on her fourth in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot last autumn she should certainly have a big chance of that.

She was last seen when down the field in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park at the end of her twoyear-old campaign, but her current odds of 33-1 for the Epsom fillies' Classic will tumble if she impresses today.

O'Brien already has the market leader for the Oaks in 1,000 Guineas heroine Virginia Waters, who is generally 3-1.

O'Brien expects Mona Lisa to come on for today's run. He said: 'We gave her a lot of time to recover (after she ran in America) and this will be her first start of the season.

'She's been working away the last couple of months.

She's ready to start and will improve for the run.'

Mona Lisa will face five rivals in the Group Three contest over an extended 10 furlongs.

Apart from Mona Lisa, the only other Musidora runner entered in the Oaks is the impeccably-bred Quickfire.

By Dubai Millennium out of a Sadler's Wells mare, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly is a 33-1 chance for Epsom after victory in a seven-furlong maiden at Kempton last September on her second start.

In tomorrow's totesport Dante Stakes at York Frankie Dettori comes in for the ride on Jeremy Noseda's Derby hope Proclamation due to the Eddie Ahern's suspension.

Once Ahern's 14-day ban was confirmed the Newmarket trainer moved to put the champion on the three-year-old.

Dettori is not needed by Godolphin as their Dante entry Belenus will miss the Group Two contest. Noseda has been aiming the grey son of King's Best at the Derby trial for some time. He said: 'As a seasonal starting point, this race has been the aim all through the winter.

I've been happy with his preparations and he should be well suited by the trip. Having won on soft ground on his first career start, the prevailing conditions ought not to be a problem. Frankie Dettori takes the ride.'

Proclamation is a 12-1 chance for the Derby.

Meanwhile Luca Cumani sees Michael Jarvis's Rakti as the one to beat in Saturday's Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Recent Leicester scorer Le Vie Dei Colori is his representative in the Group One feature, but he rates the current favourite Rakti as the most likely winner.

Cumani said: 'Rakti is the horse to beat in this race - if the right Rakti turns up, then he is the winner, that's for sure.'

But the Newmarket trainer believes his horse, the 5-1 second favourite, is not without a chance of upsetting the odds.

He added: 'I am happy with him - he deserves to be in the field.

'Of he wins it is another matter, we will see on Saturday


Aidan O'Brien
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 11, 2005
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