The second fillies classic of the English flat season is upon us and, despite only 11 runners, this year’s Oaks is a fascinating contest full of potentially top-class fillies.
The oaks is also a race that no trainer, jockey or owner has dominated in recent years, with only trainer Aidan O’Brien winning it twice.
It’s possible to make some sort of case for 9 of the 11 runners – so here’s our analysis and big race tip.
Ryan Moore stays loyal to this year’s 1,000 Guineas winner, which is hardly surprising given the way she outstayed her rivals over a mile there. Although not proven over further than 9-furlongs she is bred to get the 12-furlong trip. Her draw in stall one is a concern though, and she has been beaten by one of her rivals. The Wachman stable has had 3 winners from their last 12 runners.
Crystal Zvezda 4/1
There was a wheelbarrow full of ante-post money for her before she annihilated a 98-rated rival last time out, and she could be anything. Michael Stoute hasn’t trained the winner since 1987, but 4 of his last 5 runners this week have obliged. Richard Hughes takes over from Ryan Moore and will be looking to deliver her in the last furlong.
Jack Naylor 7/1
A strange name for a filly, but she’s got plenty of talent. Won’t mind if it rains either as she beat Legatissimo over a mile on good to yielding ground. Fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas should have put her spot on for a trip she’s bred to prosper at, and the Harrington stable has had 2 winners from their last 11 runners.
Diamond and Rubies 12/1
Proved her stamina with a win at Chester on good to soft ground, but the fact that Together Forever ran in the more prestigious Musidora trial at York, and Joseph O’Brien doesn’t ride her, suggests Together Forever may be the stable number one.
Together Forever 10/1
Promising and progressive 2-year-old career, and just failed to give Star of Seville 4lb over 10-furlongs at York. Another who looks bred to excel at the trip and Joseph O’Brien rides.
Jazzi Top 14/1
The choice of Frankie Dettori and she’s one of the more unknown factors in the race having been kept to lesser company so far. Not raced on slower than good to firm so any cut could be a worry.
Star of Seville 16/1
Overlooked by Frankie Dettori and, though her stamina looks assured, she may lack the finishing burst of some of her rivals.
Lady of Dubai 12/1
Trainer Luca Cumani likes to bring his horse along slowly, and she was very well-backed before romping in at Goodwood on her last start. Form not as strong as some of her rivals but has obvious potential.
Al Namaah 18/1
Andre Fabre sends over a runner just to make the race even more intriguing but, whilst she could be anything stepped up in trip, it’s impossible to gauge the merit of her form.
Free Horse Racing Tip
It really is impossible to dismiss any of the 9 runners we’ve mentioned, but Crystal Zvezda looked to have a turn-of-foot capable of mowing down anything if Richard Hughes doesn’t get her stuck in too much traffic.