Epsom Oaks Preview | 2nd June 2017
Racing expert Graeme Johnston previews the Epsom Oaks.
The first Friday of June means one thing, the fillies take centre stage for the Epsom Oaks in one of the biggest races in Europe.
A field of 10 are lining up with an odds on favourite so there will be plenty of each way value available for us and that’s where I’m going to look.
One of three running for Aidan O’Brien and looks a progressive filly. Shes only won once from four starts finishing second in the Chester Oaks last time out. She finished well clear of third that day and shapes although she will stay but she looks to be playing for minor honours here.
Won both her starts as a juvenile and returned with a third place in a French Group 1 last month. She was doing her best work close home there and should also come on for that race. The stable is no stranger to success in this race however Frankie Dettori has abandoned her and she may not be the stables main hope here.
Daddys Lil Darling
Adds an international feel to proceedings but this American raider looks out of her depth here. She is short of experience in turf, and despite having some solid dirt form to her name she isn’t likely to bring the trophy back to the states.
Looks like John Gosden’s first string and as is the mount of Dettori is sure to be popular. Last time she won the Chester Oaks being eased close home and she looks to be high on the shortlist for this. She has plenty of stamina in her pedigree and and I don’t have any concerns about the trip for her.
Shot to my attention when hammering in her rivals on soft ground in her maiden at Nottingham, and she returned last month where she won the Pretty Polly. That was on firm ground so she seems to handle all surfaces however it looks like she wants a bit of juice in the ground which she should get here. She stays well and is open to improvement and her connections are confident, she’s a big runner in my eyes.
Isabel De Urbina
Has only had two starts so far and is really unexposed. Last time out she chased home Horseplay and I feel that was a really good effort. Her trainer is in good form and has won this in the past but she is an unlikely winner in my eyes. She is however a really big price and in a small field she could run in to a place.
A very expensive purchase as a yearling and she is very well bred. Looking into her breeding I feel she may be stretched slightly over this trip and with plenty of stamina laden rivals he may struggle late on. However she looks a high class prospect and she is likely to have a very good career ahead of her.
A five race maiden who is the outsider of the field however she isn’t the worst outsider I’ve ever seen. Placed twice at Listed level she has plenty of stamina in her pedigree and could run better than her price reflects. I don’t think she will place however I also don’t think she will come last.
Favourite and has the best form on offer by some way and deserves to be favourite. She was beaten by Winter in the Guineas but that looks very good form. She shapes although this she will stay but this is a big step up in trip and she may be vulnerable to stronger stayers and at odds on is cramped odds.
Well beaten by Rhododendron in the Fillies Mile last year but is now a Group 1 winner in her own right. Her stable and jockey are flying and she looks sure to relish the extra distance today. She is high on the shortlist for me and looks a very good prospect.
In what looks a very interesting renewal there is plenty of value around because Rhododendron is such a short price favourite. Here’s my 1-2-3.