2021 Epsom Oaks Tips: O'Brien to claim ninth win in Classic

2021 Epsom Oaks Tips: A classy field of fillies do battle in the Group 1 feature.
2021 Epsom Oaks Tips: A classy field of fillies do battle in the Group 1 feature.

Steve Chambers picks out his best bet and the 1-2-3 for the Epsom Oaks, which takes place on Friday afternoon...

A stellar field of 14 fillies will line up for the hotly-anticipated Cazoo Oaks at Epsom Downs on Friday, and all eyes will be on the star man Aidan O'Brien, who is bidding for a ninth win in the Group 1 Classic, and the master of Ballydoyle will saddle a strong battalion in this year's contest.

Having trained four of the last six winners of this race, O'Brien will be looking to extend his fabulous recent record in the event, and he saddles the front two in the betting, and both Santa Barbara and Snowfall look to have a marvellous chance of claiming the win.

Santa Barbara has been one of the most talked about horses at Ballydoyle over the last six months, and despite having only had two runs during her career she will line up as the favourite for the Oaks. The daughter of former Epsom Derby winner Camelot. Santa Barbara produced a scintillating performance on her racecourse debut as a two-year-old back in September, as she claimed a fine win at the Curragh. Not seen again during her juvenile campaign, the three-year-old made her comeback run in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but she could only finish fourth.

Sent off a joint favourite that day, Santa Barbara was far from disgraced as she was just unable to quicken at a crucial stage, but the step up in trip should bring on significant improvement, and at a mile and a half, she will be tough to beat. You have to trust that the positivity around this filly is well warranted, as others could line up with stronger formlines, but she did shape like a classy performer during the Guineas, and with vast improvement to come on Friday she can storm to glory for the O'Brien team.

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O'Brien unleashes a five-pronged attack at this year's Oaks, and the second string, according to the betting, is the recent Musidora Stakes heroine Snowfall, who certainly has a different profile to her stablemate Santa Barbara. Highly tried as a two-year-old, Snowfall was seen in a number of elite races last season, but only managed one win in seven starts. That came in a Curragh maiden, but she failed to kick on and was well beaten in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Fillies' Mile. 

Stepped up in trip for the Musidora at York last month over ten furlongs, Snowfall relished the trip and shaped like the step up to the Oaks trip could bring on more improvement. However, having blown more cold than hot last season, she's one that can't be trusted and looks awfully short in a race with an abundance of strength in depth.

Of the other O'Brien contenders it looks like Divinely looks the pick over La Jaconde and Willow, and the former should improve for her fourth in the Lingfield Derby Trial, but this looks to be a task too tough for this Ballydoyle triumvirate, and they are there to make up the numbers.

Away from the O'Brien clan there's a major contender in the shape of Roger Varian's Zeyaadah, who lost her unbeaten record when second in the Cheshire Oaks, but she is sure to come on for that seasonal reappearance and looks to stand a great chance of making the frame. Unbeaten as a two-year-old, this daughter of Tamayuz will have to show she can produce the goods at the highest level, and while she may relish a bit of give in the ground she has shown to be a real likeable type and warrants respect.

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Two runners that could put pressure on Santa Barbara and Snowfall in this contest are the Varian-trained Teona and Jane Chapple-Hyam's Saffron Beach. Teona broke her maiden tag at the second time of asking over ten furlongs last season at Newcastle, so this trip should play to her strengths, and she warmed up for this event with a third placed finish behind Snowfall in the Musidora. She's entitled to improve for that outing, and she should have the ability to get closer to that rival again on Friday, and she could be a potential lively each-way play.

A winner of the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket last season, Saffron Beach has finished second on both occasions this season, and having kicked off with a second placed finish in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in her comeback run, she then chased home Mother Earth in the 1000 Guineas. That was a superb career best for the daughter of New Bay, and while the step up in trip could test her stamina, she is a classy performer who is entitled to run well here, and she could well be another bidding for the place money in a race that can go the way of the favourite.

Cazoo Oaks 1-2-3 Prediction

  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Teona
  3. Saffron Beach
2021 Cazoo Oaks Tip
Santa Barbara silk

Santa Barbara

2021 Epsom Derby Tips
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