Epsom Oaks Preview: Queen the value play

Eight will go to post for the 2020 Epsom Oaks.
Eight will go to post for the 2020 Epsom Oaks.

Steve Chambers previews the 2020 Epsom Oaks, which will see a star-studded field line up for the Group 1 feature on Saturday afternoon, and he picks out his best bet for the race...

Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden have dominated the fillies' classic in recent years - both bagging three wins apiece in the last six years - and the star trainers will do battle once again at Epsom Downs on Saturday afternoon, with recent 1000 Guineas winner Love spearheading the O'Brien challenge, while runaway Ribblesdale Stakes winner Frankly Darling will fly the flag for the Gosden team.

Having shone as a juvenile - winning a Group 1 contest during her two-year-old campaign - Love was well-fancied for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, and the daughter of Galileo produced a fine, dominant display at Flat HQ, as she scooted to a four and a half length victory to claim the prize with aplomb. Showing a fine turn of foot to kick clear of her rivals that day, Love shaped like the step up to a mile and a half for the Oaks would potentially see some improvement, so it's no surprise to see her heading the Oaks betting at the time of writing.

A smooth traveller, Love is likely to be held up off the pace before she will be unleashed in the closing stages, and if she can replicate the turn of foot she showed in the Guineas, it's hard to not see her being in the frame - but in Frankly Darling she will face a rival that oozed class at Royal Ascot, and is a fascinating adversary for the Gosden team.

Having only broken her maiden tag at Newcastle at the start of June, Frankly Darling improved immeasurably for her third career start as she blitzed a decent field in the Ribblesdale Stakes, defeating fellow Oaks runner Ennistymon by one and three quarter lengths. The daughter of Frankel tracked the pace in the Ribblesdale before being sent clear by Frankie Dettori two furlongs from home. Having gained a few lengths on her rivals, Dettori was just forced to push her out and hands and heels in the closing stages, so there could be more to come.

Ennistymon ran an eye-catching race in second as she was the sole contender that was getting closer to Frankly Darling in the closing stages, so she can't be completely discounted in the Oaks. The daughter of Galileo was only making her third racecourse appearance, and is entitled to continue on an upward curve. If the going is a little quicker at Epsom on Saturday, she could well be a major player once again.

There's a huge chasm in the betting between the top three and the rest of the five runners taking their chance in the Oaks on Epsom Derby day, but with eight runners there could be some eye-catching each-way value for punters if one of the fancied triumvirate were to misfire, and Gold Wand has been installed as fourth favourite.

Roger Varian's charge lacks significant experience - having only made two starts to date during her career - but she was an impressive winner in a maiden event at Newbury last time out. However, this is a much tougher assignment for the daughter of former Derby hero Golden Horn, and she is best watched.

Varian's other challenger Queen Daenerys makes more appeal from an each-way perspective, as she looks to record a second career win. Second on debut to Cloak Of Spirits, who chased home Love in the 1000 Guineas, Queen Daenerys was a winner on good to firm ground at Newmarket, and was then handed the huge task of lining up in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile last autumn, in which she failed to land a blow.

However, she shaped with promise when second in the listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket last month, and now stepping up in trip once again the daughter of Frankel could be a lively outsider, and around the 25/1 mark at the time of writing, she can be the contender to take on the favourites with.

Love and Ennistymon may be at the forefront of O'Brien's charge at a fourth Oaks in seven years, but the Ballydoyle supremo will also saddle Passion, who was last seen finishing third to Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale. Unable to quicken like Frankly Darling, Passion may just lack the pace needed to be victorious in this company, and while O'Brien has won the Oaks with outsiders before (Qualify won at 50/1 in 2015), Passion looks unlikely to follow in her footsteps and be one of those shock winners.

Peter Chapple-Hyam's Bharani Star and the John Gosden-trained Tempo Vuela complete the Oaks octet, and both appear to face a significant uphill task to try and claim classic glory, and this year's renewal of the Epsom Group 1 could be a race fought out by the front two in the betting. However, with a slight preference for Love, there's no value in the O'Brien contender, so it could be worth taking a chance with Queen Daenerys - who is a filly improving with every run, and she could well run into a place.


Epsom Oaks - 15:40 Epsom, Saturday 4th July - back Queen Daenerys (each way) at 25/1

Epsom Oaks
Queen Daenerys silk

Queen Daenerys (EW)

Epsom Derby Odds

£20 Risk Free First Bet Money Back In Cash

New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
New customers using promo code C40 only. 1x per customer. Min £10/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets paid as 2x £15/€15 (expires after 30 days). Max £10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable amount £25. Casino bonus expires 72 hours from issue. Eligibility rules, free-bet rules, game, location, payment-method, currency restrictions, stake contributions and terms and conditions apply. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Welcome Offer
Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Bet £10 Get £30 + 60 Free Spins
New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.  Full T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £5 Get £20 In Free Bets
Min £5 bet on the SBK. Rewards valid for 7 days. Free bets must be placed at min odds of 1.5. Exchange free bet limited to certain markets. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 & Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
18+ new customers only. Deposit, opt-in and place a £10 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater. Plus, a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+ begambleaware.org
£25 Bet Bundle
UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards average stake. One offer per customer, household or IP address. Free bet expires after 7 days. T&Cs apply
Money back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses + £10 Casino
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Racing 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 35x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Racing bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. #ad