Epsom Oaks Betting Tips & Predictions – Friday 31st May 2019

The stage is set for the third British Classic race of the season as some top class three-year-old fillies are pitted together in the Epsom Oaks. The contest also stands as the middle leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, although it’s a hat-trick of races rarely attempted these days.

The history of this superb event dates all the way back to 1779 and it didn’t take too long before it was recognised as one of the leading races for three-year-olds. Pink Dogwood is the favourite to be the next name on the long list of winners but we’re tipping the next in line, Mehdaayih, to steal the limelight this Friday.

Top Tips

Mehdaayih to win @ 5/2

Tarnawa each way @ 25/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

Handy types tend to fare best in this race due to the nature of the course at Epsom. All the fillies involved have to tackle a sharp downhill U-bend and as well as testing cambers and undulations. It’s a real test of physical ability and as we’ve seen over the years, many runners won’t be up to the challenge.

GoingDistanceGroupPrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good 1m 4f 6y 1 £523,730 14 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

It’s not necessarily a race in which you would expect surprises but there have been plenty in recent seasons. Four of the last eight winners set off at odds of 20/1 or greater and in this time we’ve spotted just the one victorious favourite.

Last year Aidan O’Brien claimed his seventh Oaks triumph but he still has a long way to go if he’s to match Robert Robson’s incredible record of 13 wins.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Forever Together 7/1 Aidan O’Brien Donnacha O’Brien
2017 Enable 6/1 John Gosden Frankie Dettori
2016 Minding 10/11 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2015 Qualify 50/1 Aidan O’Brien Colm O’Donoghue
2014 Taghrooda 5/1 John Gosden Paul Hanagan

Analysis: Gosden well prepared

John Gosden looks like being responsible for two of the top three names in the betting for this Oaks renewal. Both his entries, Mehdaayih and Anapruna, appear to stand a fine chance too after impressing in recent 1m 3½f trial events. Distance experience isn’t a necessity for this contest but the pair will have definitely both benefited from their longer trips. Also boosting their claim is the fact that Gosden’s three-year-olds have been in great form this season, posting a 25% win rate.

Dogwood lacking bite

Being the sister of Irish Derby winner Latrobe indicates that Pink Dogwood (9/4) might be the type of filly who can stay this distance here. When bumped up to 10 furlongs for the first time last month, the three-year-old held off the challenge of Encapsulation quite comfortably during the final furlong. It’s hard to say the then 4/5 favourite truly excelled though and there’s also the issue of the going. Previous efforts on good, or good to yielding turf, are yet to reap reward with the brown filly seemingly more suited to softer conditions.

Mehdaayih leads Gosden charge

There’s not a great deal to choose between Mehdaayih and Anapurna but the former does make the slightly more convincing claim. Not only does she boast more experience on turf but the way she dealt with Chester’s tough course earlier in the month suggests Epsom will cause few issues. The daughter of Frankel saw off some decent runners that day including Manuela De Vega who also runs here (10/1). Anapurna also put in a winning display just shy of a mile and a half earlier in the month but there’s less guarantee she’ll excel again.

Tarnawa a potential dark horse

Given the number of shocks there has been in recent Oaks renewals it would be foolish not to have a look further down the betting. It’s here where we find Tarnawa at a handsome price of 25/1, quite the large figure given she finished less than two lengths behind Pink Dogwood last month. Dermot Weld’s filly has raced once since then and it was a fine outing too as three-year-old won a Group 3 contest at Naas. Her pedigree suggests she might not last the distance here but her consistency tells us that she’s probably worth the gamble.

Final Verdict: Mehdaayih to win

The Aidan O’Brien factor has put Pink Dogwood at the top of the betting but Mehdaayih would be the more deserving favourite. She ticks plenty of boxes for this race and looks like one who will absolutely relish the Oaks test. Tarnawa might not find life quite so comfortable but at her fantastic price she’s fully worth backing for a seventh consecutive top three finish.

About

Duchess's Stand at Epsom Racecourse

There are five Classics on the British racing calendar, two of which tend to be the preserve of the colts, two which are open only to fillies and one which regularly sees the two sexes do battle against one another. Of those fillies-only affairs, the oldest, and most prestigious, event takes place at Epsom each year in June.

Held over a trip of 1m4f, this Group 1 event restricted to the three year olds is oft imitated around the world and offers £500,000 (2018) in total prize money. At least equal to that cash prize is the value in terms of prestige and breeding value bestowed upon the winner. Here we take a closer look at one of the true jewels in British flat racing’s crown.

The Name Is Earl

The fact that this race has been with us since way back in 1779 is a good illustration of just how rich the heritage of the sport of horseracing is in Britain. Even that lifespan is not enough to make it the oldest of the Classics – Doncaster’s St. Leger predates it – but it does make it older than the Derby, albeit by just the one year.

The 12th Earl Of Derby, whose title is lent to what is probably still the most famous Classic in the world, did also have a role in the naming of this event; The Oaks being the name of a local estate owned by the Earl. Lord Derby certainly got off to a flier in the race he devised, landing the very first edition of The Oaks with a horse by the name of Bridget.

Fastest Oaks Winner

Horse Trainer Jockey Year Time
Enable John Gosden Frankie Dettori 2017 2:34:13

Of the Oaks records, this is the one to have been set most recently. Many great fillies have tackled the Oaks course and distance under its current format, but none have travelled from starting stall to finish line quite so fast as the John Gosden wonder filly, Enable. The subsequent dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner stopped the clock at a lightning quick 2m34.13s in 2017.

Largest Oaks Winning Distance

Horse Trainer Jockey Year Winning Distance
Sun Princess Dick Hearn Willie Carson 1983 12 lengths

The Oaks never fails to attract a field of the most talented middle distance three year old fillies in training, and there often isn’t too much to split the main challengers at the line. That wasn’t the case back in 1983 though when the Dick Hern-trained Sun Princess led her rivals a merry dance to scorch clear by a never equalled 12-lengths.

Longest Priced Oaks Winner

Horse Trainer Jockey Year Start Price
Qualify Aidan O'Brien Colm O'Donoghue 2015 50/1
Jet Ski Lady Jim Bolger Christy Roche 1991 50/1
Vespa H. Scott Jem Chapple 1833 50/1

Sometimes the market gets it right here, but there have been occasions when it has been way off the mark. Of Aidan O’Brien’s seven successes (as of 2018) in the race, the biggest surprise of all came in 2015 when Qualify came through with a late run to swamp all her rivals at whopping odds of 50/1. That price, which was also returned by Vespa (1833) and Jet Ski Lady (1991) is the biggest ever winning SP in this illustrious event.

Shortest Priced Oaks Winner

Horse Trainer Jockey Year Start Price
Pretty Polly Peter Gilpin Willie Lane 1904 8/100

At the other end of the spectrum there have been plenty of bookie-bashing occasions when the most likely winner of the race has been well known to the odds compilers and betting public alike. Having landed the Triple Crown in 1904, the great Pretty Polly quite rightly now has a race named in her honour and is comfortably the shortest priced winner in the history of this race. Having already put on a show in landing the 1000 Guineas, defeat in this race was thought to be out of the question and she duly delivered at odds of just 8/100!

Emperor of Trainers Rules Epsom

The premier fillies’ Classic has been kind to a number of trainers over the years, with the above chart representing just a selection of handlers who have returned to claim the prize time and again. Leading the charge is a man known simply as the “Emperor of Trainers”. Saddling up his runners way back in the early 1800s, Robert Robson racked up a phenomenal record in this race, registering 13 wins in all, beginning with the win of Scotia in 1802 and culminating with the triumph of Wings in 1825. A formidable tally, and one which no one has as yet come close to matching.

Chart Showing the Trainers with the Most Epsom oaks Wins

Sir Henry Cecil is a man who will likely be most remembered as the trainer of the greatest racehorse of all time, Frankel, but during his career he was also equally noted for his prowess with fillies. It is therefore no surprise to see his name on the top trainers list here. The race was even titled the Sir Henry Cecil Oaks in 2014 in honour of the legendary handler who passed away in 2013.

If there is one current trainer who could potentially challenge Robson’s record then that man is undoubtedly Aidan O’Brien. The master of Ballydoyle is still relatively young and going strong and, likely to have a string of the most beautifully bred fillies at his disposal year after year, it would be a major surprise were he not to add to his current tally of seven before he calls time on his illustrious training career.

Buckle The Best In The Saddle

Much like the outstanding record for the top trainer in this race, we have to turn back through a fair few pages in the history book to find the all-time leader in the jockey standings. The likes of Lester Piggott (six wins), Kieren Fallon (four wins), Willie Carson (four wins) and Frankie Dettori (four wins) will likely be familiar to many modern racing fans, but all are put in the shade by a rider who plied his trade around 200 years ago.

Beginning with Nike in 1797, and ending with Zinc in 1823, Frank Buckle registered a race-leading nine successes in this race, showing his prowess in the saddle for five different trainers, including Robert Robson, who he successfully teamed up with on three occasions.

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