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Epsom Oaks Day Preview

Epsom Oaks Day Preview

It's a massive weekend of action ahead at Epsom, with The Oaks on Friday and The Derby taking place 24 hours later. Alongside Friday's Fillies' Classic, they have the Group 1 Coronation Cup and the Listed Surrey Stakes on a seven-race Epsom card from 2:00pm-5:45pm, and the Racing Post previews the card.


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2:00pm - Cazoo Woodcote British EBF Stakes (Conditions Race, 6f)

On his third start, Commander Straker got on the scoresheet at Bath over the minimum trip a fortnight ago and has definite scope for further progress. Still, David Loughnane's colt adopted front-running tactics in that win and isn't done any favours by the widest draw here if hoping things will play out similarly.

Redcar winner Legends Of Xanadu keeps his partnership with in-form William Buick and is another with scope for better, while Estate was second to Commander Straker last time in what was only a second start for the Andrew Balding inmate.

BLATANT landed a Leicester maiden 11 days ago when upped to this 6f trip for the first time, and there could be more in the offing now from Eve Johnson-Houghton's Brazen Beau colt. He was well on top when passing the winning line and looks like a useful prospect.

Selection: Blatant

Next Best: Legends Of Xanadu

 

2:35pm - World Pool Handicap (1m½f)

A chunky field for a competitive handicap. BOWLAND PARK boasts C&D-winning form and could be one to go well at a price for the Kubler team. He won here last July off a mark of 80 and mostly held his form afterwards at this sort of distance.

The handicapper has eased him another 1lb in the ratings following an underwhelming comeback run at Redcar two months ago, and the return to this track could spark him into life with that run banked.

Corazon Espinado is another with plenty of Epsom form in the book already, and he could thrive back here, albeit his recent form is not that encouraging.

Trainer Richard Spencer will be hoping that Revich can be competitive after he looked like an unlucky loser at Chester last month, denied a run at a crucial point in the race; he's got to be on any shortlist.

With the George Boughey team in fine fettle, further improvement from Totally Charming is a possibility. It's been positive for him in four AW runs since joining this trainer (two wins), and he's unexposed on grass.

Selection: Bowland Park

Next Best: Totally Charming

 

3:10pm - Dahlbury Coronation Cup (Group 1, 1m4f)

The first Group 1 of the Epsom weekend has attracted a field of six to chase the top prize of more than £250,000, and they include the defending champion Pyledriver.

He rallied gamely to win this from favourite Al Aasy 12 months ago for regular rider Martin Dwyer, though he's got Frankie Dettori for company now. He was second in the Hong Kong Vase in December and again ran well in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March - under Frankie for the first time - when perhaps unlucky not to score. His claims are decent again.

Manobo and High Definition are the two 4YOs in the race. The latter remains a classy prospect for Charlie Appleby, but he can be keen in his races, and that's a worry on this first visit to Epsom.

Aidan O'Brien's High Definition hasn't won since his juvenile campaign of 2020 (was 2-2 that year) and has flattered to deceive in three UK starts previously. He ran a cracking second in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh recently but must back that up now.

Jockey Club Stakes winner Living Legend is up in class but considered, though Palavecino faces a tough examination in this company.

HUKUM is given the nod for Owen Burrows - who boasts a 50 per cent strike-rate with Epsom runners - and Jim Crowley.

He has excelled in Group 3s on British soil in the past, and his only top-level start here was in the St Leger of 2020. He won a Meydan Group 2 in the spring and was right on the heels of Pyledriver in the Sheema Classic when last spotted.

Selection: Hukum

Next Best: Pyledriver

 

3:45pm - Cazoo Handicap (1m2f)

Unbeaten in two since moving to William Knight, Moktasaab has landed prizes at Newbury and Goodwood with something in hand, defying a 7lb penalty in late April with something to spare. He's up a further 5lb here but has to be considered a key player, though perhaps his odds are short enough in a field as competitive as this one.

Cases can be made easily enough for the likes of Soto Sizzler, Caradoc, and last-time-out Newmarket winner Bad Company - second choice but perhaps likely to be facing a contested lead with the likes of Love Is Golden in the mix.

The speculative vote is given to ROYAL CHAMPION for the Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni team.

He's only had three starts since winning a Newmarket maiden (1m, good) on debut in September 2020, and they've all come at Group/Listed level. He wasn't unfancied for the Doncaster Mile on his comeback but was too keen and folded quite tamely.

He has been gelded since and goes back up in trip for this first foray into a handicap. There aren't a lot of miles on the clock, and he should up his game before long.

Selection: Royal Champion

Next Best: Bad Company

 

4:30pm - Cazoo Oaks (Fillies' Group 1, 1m4f)

Emily Upjohn has won both starts thus far and sets the standard for The Oaks, though not by an insurmountable margin. John & Thady Gosden's charge stormed clear in the Musidora Stakes at York in May and has an excellent chance of giving Frankie Dettori a fourth win in this race in the last six years.

Aidan O'Brien saddles Thoughts Of June, Tuesday The Algarve and Concert Hall. Ryan Moore elects to partner Tuesday, second in the Irish 1000 Guineas last month. She has the look of a filly that will improve again up in trip. Cheshire Oaks winner Thoughts Of June isn't to be dismissed after that gutsy front-running Roodee win, though this is clearly tougher.

With The Moonlight stepped up on seasonal comeback to win the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket and Charlie Appleby will hope there is more in the offing, but ROGUE MILLENNIUM is perhaps being underestimated by the odds-compilers.

Tom Clover's Dubawi filly won on debut at Wetherby as recently as April and has since gone and bagged the Lingfield Oaks Trial - a race won by Anapurna en route to taking this in 2019. There's scope for more, and she could be a fairytale winner for Jack Mitchell - who grew up in the shadows of this racecourse.

Selection: Rogue Millennium

Next Best: Thoughts Of June

 

5:10pm - Poundland Surrey Stakes (Listed, 7f)

Last year's Woodcote winner OSCULA can put her Epsom experience to good use here for George Boughey and William Buick. She went on to win a Group 3 in France after that and mostly held her form well before perhaps the busy campaign caught up with her at Saint-Cloud on her final start.

A spring visit to Riyadh is best forgotten, and with the Boughey team in exceptional form of late, we can expect to see the best of her back on the Downs.

Ever Given is another for whom this represents a drop-in class, and Hugo Palmer's colt has to be considered a player alongside Dawn Of Liberation, a winner at Goodwood five weeks ago. Bass Player made a winning start at Doncaster six weeks ago and quickly rises in class now for the Rogue Millennium connections. It will be interesting to see what the market has to say about her.

Selection: Oscula

Next Best: Ever Given

 

5:45pm - Cazoo Derby Festival Handicap (7f)

The get-out stakes for punters at Epsom on Friday is a devilish puzzle with 17 runners engaged over the seven furlongs.

POCKET THE PROFIT made a winning return at Pontefract early in the spring over 6f on soft ground, stylishly going clear, and perhaps things haven't just fallen right for George Boughey's 3YO since. He's got a light weight to carry now, and if Hayley Turner can secure a decent passage from a wide draw, it wouldn't come as a shock to find them in the mix.

Bowman was second at Kempton last time and gets a chance to build on that, while Nuvolari was a Goodwood eyecatcher a fortnight ago in fourth spot.

The Michael Bell-trained Natural Path has run two good races to be placed at Newmarket and Chelmsford so far this season and should continue to do well from an unchanged mark.

Selection: Pocket The Profit

Next Best: Natural Path

 

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