Heading the betting for the 2012 Epsom Oaks is the Aidan O’Brien trained Maybe
First run way back in 1779, the Fillies equivalent of the Epsom Derby, the Epsom Oaks, takes place this Friday on the tough but magnificent Epsom Downs Racecourse. The race is the second Fillies Classic of the season, following the 1000 Guineas and it is also the second leg of the Fillies Triple Crown with the St Leger still to come later in the season in September.
It is regarded as the most prestigious race for three year old Fillies in the world with a prize fund of £366,000 and comes on Day One of the two day Investec Derby meeting.
As always, the Oaks takes place amidst the colour and splendour of Ladies Day, regarded by most as the nearest equivalent to that of Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in June. With the men dressed in Top Hat and Tails, it is easy to see why that the two day meeting makes the Derby Festival the most traditional of all racing festivals held anywhere in the world.
Heading the betting for the 2012 Epsom Oaks is the Aidan O’Brien trained Maybe, unbeaten as a juvenile and who was third in the recent 1000 Guineas. However, the daughter of the incomparable Galileo, winner of the Derby in 2001, will be far more suited by the 1½ trip of the Oaks which makes her a leading fancy to give O’Brien a fourth success in the race and is an 11/4 chance to win.
Aidan O’Brien's Ballydoyle stable has a very strong hand, with several entries and is clearly intent on winning the race this year. Ballydoyle have already won the opening two Classics of the season, the 1000 & 2000 Guineas and they have the red hot favourite for the Derby in Camelot which takes place on Saturday. Which raises the question whether or not it is possible that they can claim the opening four classics of the season?
One filly that has been well supported in the market is the John Gosden trained, The Fugue, who finished just behind Maybe in the 1000 Guineas but subsequently won the Group 3 Musidora Stakes over 10 furlongs at York. She will be well suited by the trip and Gosden, although never saddling an Oaks winner, could have a Filly capable of ending that drought and is rivalling Maybe for favouritism at around 3/1.
There is also the William Haggas trained, Vow, who remained unraced as a two year old but has won both of her two starts at this season aged three, including a hugely impressive victory in the Lingfield Oaks Trial over a 1½ miles three weeks ago. She will clearly get the trip and is from the yard that won the race with Dancing Rain twelve months ago and can be backed at odds of 11/2.
Of the other Ballydoyle runners, Kissed, also a daughter of Galileo, is also considered to hold claims, although there are doubts about the going and she may not run.
Godolphin’s success in the Oaks race has been scarce with only two wins, with the last of those coming in 2002 with Kazia. However, they have been confident enough to supplement their unbeaten Filly, Kailani, at a cost of £20,000. Kailani somewhat coincidently is the daughter of Kazia and comes to the race having romped home over ten furlongs in a Listed race on soft ground at Newmarket last time out and rates a 9/1 chance.
The race takes place at 4.05 on Friday 1st June - for more information visit www.epsom-oaks.com
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