Who will win the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday? Here’s a guide to all the leading contendersWild Illusion was fourth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and has plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of her pedigree.
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. General odds: 4-1
Signed off last year with victory in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac (Magical back in fourth) and was an encouraging fourth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her return. Should relish stepping up in distance – her dam was successful at up to two miles – and she looks a leading player.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 5-1.
Sister of Rhododendron, who was runner-up to Enable in the Oaks last year. Many fancy her to go one better but she has come up a bit short in Group 1 company on her past four starts, including on her return in France when tried in blinkers, and this will be her first attempt beyond a mile.
Well bred filly who stepped up significantly on what she had sown before (on heavy ground) when winning the Cheshire Oaks in decisive style last time, albeit enjoying the run of the race. This demands plenty more but likely to continue to go the right way for powerful connections and has to command respect.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 8-1.
SEA OF CLASS
Trainer: William Haggas. Odds: 7-1.
Well related and looked a class act in making when winning a Listed race easily over 1m2f at Newbury recently. Extra couple of furlongs should be no problem to judge by her pedigree but the form of that steadily-run affair not easy to assess and her trainer has expressed reservations about running her, believing she may need but more time to develop.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 7-1.
Sister of Fillies’ Mile winner Together Forever and, despite being beaten in each of her three races, surprise if we have seen the best of her. Poorly placed and met trouble in running when chasing home stablemate Magic wand in the Cheshire Oaks last time, hinting she would give the winner much more to think about another day.
Trainer: Clive Cox. Odds: 10-1
Created a good impression when winning her only start as a two-year-old and the daughter of Nathaniel confirmed herself a fine prospect when winning the Oaks Trial at Lingfield on her return. Her bare form does not compare with some but she looks a certain stayer and could have plenty more improvement in her. Had a spin at Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars last week and that experience should also help.
BYE BYE BABY
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Odds: 9-1
Upped her game when making all and beating the promising Jaega by a couple of lengths in a Group 3 contest over 1m2f at the Curragh last time. Plenty of experience and should stay the longer trip, but overall balance of form suggests she has bit to find and unlikely to be allowed such an easy time at head of affairs in this company.
GIVE AND TAKE
Trainer: William Haggas. Odds: 11-1.
Stamina should not be an issue – she’s from the family of top-class stayer Fame And Glory – and plenty to like about the way she knuckled down and won the Musidora Stakes at York last time. That possibly was not the strongest renewal of the race but she has a good attitude and has to be another tro consider.
Best of the rest: I Can Fly could be another Aidan O’Brien possible, although she was well held in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
Conclusion: Plenty in with a shout, reflected by the betting, but Wild Illusion and Magical are the pair with established Group 1 form and so it is no surprise they are at the top of the market. The former has solid prospects but will have to fend off a strong battalion trained by Aidan O’Brien, not to mention improvers such as Perfect Clarity.