The classics are back! The attention turns to Epsom Downs, home to Derby and the Oaks. The Oaks field once again contests a strong group of fillies, spearheaded by Ballydoyle’s Rhododendrum. Aidan O’Brien’s star is an odds on favourite to give him a third straight win in the race.
Watch Rhododendrum fly home to grap second in the 1000 Guineas. Video by Racing UK
Rhododendrum set to blossom over longer trip
The big Ballydoyle hope, and well-fancied to give Aidan O’Brien his third classic of the season.
The three-year-old had brilliant juvenile form, most notably winning the Fillies Mile in brilliant style. She was short of room when second in the 1000 Guineas, only losing out to stablemate Winter who has since gone on to win the Irish edition.
That form is terrific, the stable are flying, ridden by the best jockey in the world, she should win.
Aidan O’Brien is also represented by Cheshire Oaks runner-up Alluringly, who may struggle to reverse the placings with Enable.
The Ballydoyle handler runs outsider Pocketfullofdreams, who has been a runner-up on his last four starts.
Enable leads British raid for John Gosden
Enable winning the Cheshire Oaks. Video by Podzie Eyeballs
After an impressive win at Chester, this Juddmonte filly has been named as the leading British hope to take on Rhododendrum.
She won a key trial in good style, beating a Ballydoyle rival in convincing style and deserves her place here.
John Gosden’s three-year-old has got a bit to prove on her first start in group company, and with the testing Epsom track.
Extra two furlongs gives Coronet upper hand against Prix Saint Alary champion Sobetsu
Sobetsu wins the Saint Alary, ahead of fast finishing Coronet for John Gosden. Video by Luke Humpreys
Sobetsu was the winner of the Group One prize in France, finishing just under five lengths in front of John Gosdens Coronet.
The pair clash again, but Coronet may have the advantage over this longer trip. She had previously won both her two starts prior to the French outing, but requires some improvement like others.
Sobetsu is the only Group One winner as a three-year-old, but whether the Godolphin filly will appreciate the fast ground is a small concern.
Impressive Newbury winner Natavia hoping for classic glory on third outing
Roger Charlton’s Natavia was one of fancies on Lockinge day, and duely delivered when winning the listed contest by just under four lengths.
This is a big step up in class and requires more, but she seems a progressive winner and can certainly challenge for each-way money.
Balding’s one to follow Horseplay renewals rivalry with Isabel De Urbina
The three-year-old backed up maiden success winning a 1m2f listed contest at Newmarket, ahead of Isabel De Urbina.
The form of that race hasn’t been tested yet, but as for many the Oaks looks much more competitive than the trial.
Daddy’s Lil Darling flies flag for America
American trainer Kenneth McPeek is hoping to cause a big suprise with this entry.
She’s boasted some good form in the USA, finishing second in two Grade One contests but whether she can handle the undulating track of Epsom is an unknown.
She finishes fast, so could scoop up some prize money late on in the race.
VERDICT: Rhododendrum (16/19) looks extremely hard to look past, and quite frankly it would be a big surprise if she was beaten. For us the market of betting without the short-price favourite is much more interesting. We select Natavia (11/2) for that, she won at Newbury very easily and looked to have a lot of class that day. The rest of our tips are available on the site