It is Oaks day at Epsom and a severe weather warning in place for the region could create havoc for punters and racegoers alike this afternoon.
The thundery showers are more than likely to miss the racecourse as they are predicted to be very “isolated”, but, should one hit, localised flooding has been forecast, which could turn conditions extremely testing.
The Oaks is, of course, already a stern test of stamina for young fillies and the big question mark over the warm favourite’s chances are whether or not she will see out the trip. Rhododendron certainly has the best form heading into the race, but it is hard to back her at a shade of odds on given those doubts.
There are also a lot of fast improving fillies in the race for her to beat, making it a very solid looking renewal of this famous contest.
John Gosden, in particular, has a strong hand and we would suggest backing his pair against the field.
Back ENABLE to win – her victory in the Cheshire Oaks marked her down as a filly to follow and she has a quality pedigree to match.
Stablemate CORONET is more of an each way option. She beat the colts in the Zetland Stakes at the backend of last season and ran well enough behind Sobetsu on her comeback at Deauville.
If the rain stays away and there is firm in the going description anyway, then also back Aiden O’Brien’s second string, ALLURINGLY, each way. She also has the perfect pedigree for this and she and Enable were well clear of the rest at Chester. It wouldn’t be the first time O’Brien has won this race with an apparent second or third string.
|Enable (win)||4.30 Epsom||7/1||Bet365|
|Coronet (ew)||4.30 Epsom||12/1||Bet365|
|Alluringly (ew)||4.30 Epsom||25/1||Bet365|
Investec Woodcote Stakes
The meeting kicks off with the Woodcote Stakes for 2 year olds over 6f. The draw can be crucial here and the warm favourite is stuck out wide. We think he is worth taking on, therefore, and any rain certainly wouldn’t harm the chance of ZAP, who won well on debut despite being green in the preliminaries.
He looks the pick of the Richard Fahey pair as the northern handlers looks to break the stranglehold Messrs Johnston and Hannon have had on this famous race is recent years.
|Zap (ew)||2.00 Epsom||9/2||Unibet|
Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap
Next up is the Investec Mile and we think Gosden and Fahey have big chances again here courtesy of REMARKABLE and SPRING OFFENSIVE.
Remarkable has suffered bad luck in running on a few recent starts, including in the Victoria Cup last time out. He surely has a race in him off of his current mark and he doesn’t mind some give underfoot.
Spring Offensive has been running consistently well for a while without getting his head in front and if he again takes to the demands of this unique track today could be his day (he was a close 6th in this race last year).
Sky Bet are offering 4 places for each-way bets on this race.
|Remarkable (ew)||2.35 Epsom||10/3||Sky Bet|
|Spring Offensive (ew)||2.35 Epsom||8/1||Sky Bet|
Investec Coronation Cup
The day’s other Group 1 is the Coronation Cup and we are going to stay on the Gosden bandwagon here and recommend his top class mare, JOURNEY. This horse really improved last year, culminating in a very easy and impressive win in a Group 1 on Champions Day at Ascot in October. If she can bring that level of form to this race then she will be hard to beat with a mare’s allowance giving her a further edge.
At a big price, AIR PILOT is also worth backing, especially if we get some rain. His form isn’t far behind many of these and he seems to be improving. His yard is in terrific form too.
|Journey (ew)||3.10 Epsom||5/1||Bet365|
|Air Pilot (ew)||3.10 Epsom||40/1||Bet365|
Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap
The other race on ITV is the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap. Previous course form is more valuable here than at almost any other venue and there are a few previous Epsom winners in the line-up here including IMSHIVALLA, who won this last year. Her form hasn’t been great since, but the return to this track and the fitting of a hood could spark a revival.
EXAMINER won on this card last year, albeit a different race over slightly shorter. He probably needs further now and has a big chance if the rain stays away.
The other one we like is ABAREEQ, who ran better than his finishing position would suggest when he ran in the C&D handicap run in April. He has a tricky draw to overcome, but we like Mark Johnston’s runners in these races and this horse looks the pick of his pair.
|Imshivalla (ew)||3.45 Epsom||9/1||Bet365|
|Examiner (ew)||3.45 Epsom||12/1||Bet365|
|Abareeq (ew)||3.45 Epsom||16/1||Bet365|