As far as the British Classic meetings go, there are few more prestigious than the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs. Traditionally held on the first weekend of June, the two-day event plays host to the Oaks and the Derby itself — the third and fourth Classics of the flat season.
While the Derby is the premier race of the entire campaign, the Oaks has a rich history as well — dating back to 1779, making it the second oldest of the five Classics, while it is also one of the biggest races in the world for three-year-old fillies.
There have been some big talking points ahead of this year’s renewal of the one-mile, four-furlong race, none more so than the confirmed absence of long-time favourite Inspiral — who suffered a setback in training ahead of the 1,000 Guineas, another race the Frankel filly was backed to win by those who bet on horse racing exchange.
So, with the Derby Festival on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the market movers ahead of the Oaks.
The new short-priced favourite ishighly-rated Emily Upjohn, whoonce again proved her worth at the Dante Festival at York last month — annihilating the field in the Musidora Stakes, winning by over five lengths clear of Charlie Appleby’s Life Of Dreams.
Now unbeaten in three races under the rules, the three-year-old’s odds were slashed from around 4/1 to a general 5/4 following that recent victory at York — which was enough to see her jump over Aidan O’Brien’s Tuesday as the new favourite in the ante-post market.
Emily Upjohn is going to take all the beating in the Oaks, especially with six-time winner Frankie Dettori in the saddle of the John & Thady Gosden-trained filly.
Sticking with the Gosdens, Nashwa is a massive mover in the market for the father and son duo — who are on the hunt for their first Classic after announcing their joint licence last year.
Once a 40/1 shot, the Imad Alsagar-owned horse’s odds have been slashed drastically ahead of the Oaks. In fact, after winning the Listed Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury earlier this month, she is now as short as 5/1 — making her the third favourite in the tips for horse racing.
Hollie Doyle will likely be in the saddle after taking the reins for Nashwa’s other two races this season, which both ended in victory, and she’ll be hoping for a hat-trick as she targets her first Classic triumph.
O’Brien has mastered the Oaks in recent years, with six victories in the last 10 renewals taking his overall tally in the race to nine wins and he’ll be hoping to close in on Robert Robson’s record of 13 winners with a third successive Oaks victory this year.
He’ll have plenty of chances as well, with the aforementioned Tuesday his best chance at 4/1, as well as 10/1 shot Concert Hall — who has shortened from around 16/1 after winning on her reappearance at Navan last month.
But History is the Ballydoyle trainer’s latest entry to throw her hat in the ring. The three-year-old was way out at 100/1 not too long ago, but a win in the Group 3 Cornelscourt Stakes at Leopardstown has resulted in her being slashed to a general 16/1.