Friday sees the third Classic of the UK flat horse racing season taking place – the Epsom Oaks.
Eleven horses are set to head to post in the final Classic of the season exclusively for the fillies, and it once more looks to be a high-class renewal.
And we’re taking a closer look at all 11 runners in our 2022 Epsom Oaks Preview.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has trained five of the last seven winners of the race, and his best chance of notching up another Oaks victory could well be Concert Hall.
She won the Salsabil Stakes at Navan before dropping back in trip when a strong-finishing 3rd in the Irish 1000 Guineas – she’s likely to improve over this new trip at Epsom at looks a solid each-way player.
Emily Upjohn is a perfect three from three in her racing career and blew the field away when landing the Musidora at York.
It’s hard to know her ceiling for improvement, but she’s a worthy favourite on what she’s shown so far, and John Gosden has trained three Oaks winners since 2014.
Kawida is bred for middle distances, but she did win over 7f and a mile as a two-year-old.
Her best piece of form so far was when she ran 3rd in a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud, but she’ll need to show plenty of improvement to trouble this field.
Moon De Vega
Trained by Ralph Beckett, Moon De Vega improved for every run last season, winning her final race at Doncaster over a mile.
She reappeared in the Cheshire Oaks at the start of May, running 4th despite finding trouble in-running so you can put a line through that run – an exciting runner if she stays the trip.
Nashwa offers jockey Hollie Doyle the chance to become the first-ever female jockey to ride a UK Classic winner, and this daughter of Frankel looks set to run a big race.
She’s more compact than stablemate Emily Upjohn so she should handle Epsom’s undulations and is bred for the trip – can go very close.
Rogue Millenium has won both her career races and was impressive when landing the Oaks Trial at Lingfield.
That performance bodes well due to Lingfield’s similarity to Epsom, but she will have to improve to be in the mix come Friday.
Another representative for trainer Aidan O’Brien but she looks out of her depth here, having trailed home well behind Emily Upjohn in the Musidora at York.
She looks likely to be in this as a pacemaker for her stablemates – expect her to be back-peddling as they head into the straight.
Thoughts Of June
Thoughts Of June is another runner from the Aidan O’Brien yard, and she landed the Cheshire Oaks under Ryan Moore.
Moore has chosen to abandon her for Epsom, though, and despite that Chester victory, others in the field have better form in the book.
Another trained by O’Brien – but this time by Joseph, Aidan’s son.
She put in an excellent performance when landing a Group 3 at Naas at the start of May, and a repeat of that run should see her run a solid race if taking to Epsom.
Tuesday has gone close twice this season – running 3rd in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and 2nd in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.
She was staying on at the Curragh, so the step up in trip in the Oaks should suit, and interesting that she’s Ryan Moore’s pick for the race.
With The Moonlight
Trained by Charlie Appleby, With The Moonlight landed the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket to cement her as a filly to follow this season.
That form has taken a knock in recent weeks, though, so she will have to improve if she’s to give Godolphin their first Oaks success since 2002.