Runner-by-runner guide to the Investec Oaks at Epsom

Thu 1 Jun 2017

Tom Peacock runs the rule over the perfect ten to Friday's Investec Oaks and delivers his big-race verdict - watch also Tony Calvin and Nicklightfoot's video preview to the fillies' Classic from The Betting Lab.

By Tom Peacock


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien; 6 Oaks wins: Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015), Minding (2016)

Jockey: Seamie Heffernan

General odds: 20-1

Has the right sort of breeding to be a contender and an easy maiden winner in April. Could not keep tabs on Enable during their meeting in the Cheshire Oaks and no immediate reason why she should reverse the placings. 


Trainer: John Gosden; 1 Oaks win: Taghrooda (2014)

Jockey: Andrea Atzeni

General odds: 10-1

Unbeaten at two and set a stiff task on reappearance when staying on for third in the Prix Saint-Alary. Looks as if she will handle another quarter-mile, ought to improve for the run and ranks as a worthy candidate.


Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Olivier Peslier

General odds: 40-1

Unprecedented to see an American filly in the race and brings perfectly respectable recent form to Epsom. The heart wills her to perform well but the head worries not only about whether she is quite good enough, but about the switch to grass, the long journey and whether she can stay 12 furlongs.


Trainer: John Gosden; 1 Oaks win: Taghrooda (2014)

Jockey: Frankie Dettori 

General odds: 11-2

From a solid staying family and so it proved as she won the Cheshire Oaks in convincing fashion last month. Possibly not as quick as some, although no runner should see out the trip better.


Trainer: Andrew Balding; 1 Oaks win: Casual Look (2003)

Jockey: Oisin Murphy

General odds: 12-1

Versatile regarding ground and defied her inexperience by landing the often-informative Pretty Polly Stakes. Trainer’s only previous Oaks runner was successful and looked in rude health on a recent gallop at the course.


Trainer: Ralph Beckett; 2 Oaks wins: Look Here (2008), Talent (2013)

Jockey: Fran Berry

General odds: 33-1

The only representative of a trainer who is highly respected in the division. Even so, she has a mountain to climb on the ratings, was beaten by Horseplay at Newmarket and has only a Ffos Las maiden to her name.


Trainer: Roger Charlton

Jockey: Pat Smullen

General odds: 10-1

Has made smart progress this season and looked one to follow when bolting up in a trial at Newbury. That was on soft ground, though, and there must be a real question mark over her stamina.


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien; 6 Oaks wins: (Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015), Minding (2016)

Jockey: Donnacha O'Brien

General odds: 66-1

Still a maiden after five runs, the latest in what did not look a desperately strong trial at Lingfield. Victory is hard to envisage.


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien; 6 Oaks wins: (Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001), Alexandrova (2006), Was (2012), Qualify (2015), Minding (2016)

Jockey: Ryan Moore

General odds: 10-11 fav

Has exactly the right sort of profile as a good Fillies’ Mile winner who had an unlucky run before taking second in the 1,000 Guineas. Her sister scored over a mile and a half and looks a very worthy favourite for top connections.


Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Jockey: William Buick

General odds: 8-1

Looked much-improved when winning the Prix Saint-Alary in fine fashion but while she has some form on quicker surfaces, her best efforts have been achieved on soft. verdict:

It would be brave to oppose Rhododendron, a filly who is highest-rated in the field, ticks virtually every box and represents the Aidan O’Brien juggernaut. This is still Epsom, though, and it is always tempting to take on a hot favourite. Perhaps CORONET is the call at the prices, as her trainer John Gosden is also at the top of his game and she shaped as if she could be a good deal better when third on her comeback in France. Horseplay, for the bang-in-form Andrew Balding yard, is another possible alternative.

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