Epsom Oaks betting and odds
The Oaks betting preview
Before the Epsom Derby takes centre stage on Saturday, thirteen fillies will contest the Investec Oaks twenty-four hours earlier, writes Mikey Mumford. This Group One event over a mile and four furlongs sees Godolphin’s Blue Bunting head the market after her success in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month. Mahmood Al Zarooni’s charge has been the ante-post favourite since that race but she faces stiff competition from Aidan O’Brien’s four entries from Ballydoyle. Free £25 bet from William Hill on any race at Epsom.
The John Dunlop stable has won this twice before in 1984 and 1990 and Beatrice Aurore represents good each way value (16/1). It was clear this three-year-old filly needed the run on her reappearance at Doncaster in April and she proved this when scoring by two lengths at Goodwood next time over a mile. She ran on well to notch another win at the same track two weeks later over a slightly extended trip and should go well now fully tuned up. Unraced beyond a mile and two furlongs is the nagging worry but kept on well at Goodwood on her penultimate start and should appreciate the extra distance.
One of the rank outsiders for this stiff assignment, Barry Hills has never won this renewal and Blaise Chorus (66/1) is unlikely to put a halt to that. She finished second on debut at Lingfield albeit in much weaker company but ran a cracker behind Wonder of Wonders next time in a listed event at Chester. Still has a lot to do up in grade once more and is drawn widest of them all; likely best watched this time unless market confidence suggests otherwise.
Blue Bunting defied odds of 16/1 to land the 1,000 Guineas last time and had Havant and Misty For Me well behind that day, who she will meet again on Friday. This three-year-old American filly only defeat to date came on his racecourse bow at Newmarket where she bumped into a progressive sort in Theyskens’ Theory. Since, she has won over a mile at Doncaster but is unraced beyond this distance. Frankie Dettori will once more take the ride on the favourite (2/1) and good ground with a little cut should see her thereabouts.
Lightly raced Dancing Rain landed the spoils in an average Newbury race on her penultimate start despite being headed three furlongs from home. William Haggas’ runner went for a listed event over the same course and distance next time but was headed in the closing stages. Yet to race at 1m4f, she should relish the longer trip and could be one to follow the leaders home at 14/1.
Raced on a variety of surfaces, one of Aidan O’Brien’s four chances lies with Eirnin (100/1). She won a weak contest over a mile at Navan on ground described as yielding but makes a massive step up in class here. Will probably take up the running should things turn tactical but should soon fall away.
After winning on her debut at Haydock last year Fork Handles (66/1) has struggled to impose herself upped in both trip and grade. Mick Channon’s filly finished a comfortable third last time behind both Wonder of Wonders and Blaise Chorus but needs to improve significantly to reverse that form. She often gets restless in the stall and gets held up; not one to have much confidence in.
Unbeaten prior to her last start in the 1,000 Guineas, Havant (11/2) failed to land a blow in that race labouring into sixth. That was on good to firm ground and Sir Michael Stoute’s representative is at her best on a softer surface. The way she won on debut at Newmarket and again next time in a similar race over seven furlongs was most impressive. However, her ability to see out the 1m4f has to be taken on trust; one for the shortlist though.
John Gosden’s in decent form ahead of Izzi Top’s (25/1) attempt in the Oaks. She just touched off Dancing Rain at Newbury latest and justified favouritism to land a weak Windsor fillies’ maiden in April. Difficult to know what that bare form amounts to but a consistent sort nevertheless who hasn’t finished outside of the top three in her four career starts; chance.
Misty For Me (13/2) is probably Ballydoyle’s second string in the race behind Wonder of Wonders, but she can go one better than her stablemate on her recent Curragh win in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She had an off day in the English 1,000 Guineas on her only run on British Soil but better can be expected this time if handling the surface. Prefers good ground but unsure whether she’ll appreciate further than a mile.
Jessica Harrington’s Siren’s Song (20/1) bumped into a useful type in Mesariya on her debut at Leopardstown in March. She franked that form by winning over 1m2f next time at Navan last month and is one of the more interesting contenders bred for further than 1m4f in time. It’s more than likely she’ll meet some much more fancied types but not without a chance if taking to the course around Epsom.
Aidan O’Brien has won this three times in the last thirteen years but Mickael Barzalona’s mount Why (100/1) does not rank amongst his previous winners Imagine and Alexandrova who scored in 2001 and 2006 respectively. Why has been kept busy over in Ireland only just landing a poor Leopardstown maiden. Massively up against it and the likely pacemaker for Wonder of Wonders and Misty For Me.
American filly Wonder of Wonders (7/2) has come into herself in 2011 for the team at Ballydoyle. She won easily at Tipperary over 1m4f before proving equally as effective on good to firm ground at Chester latest. She beat Blaise Chorus and Fork Handles that day and they will do well to pass her at Epsom over a trip she sees out. Kieren Fallon has been booked to take the ride and everything is in place for a bold show.
Everyone is looking forward to seeing if Zain Al Boldan (10/1) can maintain her untarnished record at Epsom after a trio of highly impressive wins for Mick Channon. This filly gets on very well with jockey Sam Hitchcott and a repeat of her six length win in the Oaks trial at Lingfield must put her bang there. The manner in which she quickened up over the 1m3f left a lot to be desired and connections quietly fancy her to run another cracker on Friday; highly fancied.
Another fascinating fillies’ renewal to kick start the Epsom Derby weekend and plenty should go well. Havant’s last run can be forgotten so expect her to go well, likewise Misty For Me who can outrun Wonder of Wonders for Ballydoyle. However, it could take a lot to knock ZAIN AL BOLDAN off her stride and she can maintain her 100% record; look out for Izzi Top who can sneak into the places give trainer John Gosden a first win in this.
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By Mikey Mumford
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