1m4f Cazoo Oaks (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
The Epsom Oaks could prove to be a walkover if you believe the hype surrounding the chances of Santa Barbara. But she still has plenty to overcome as regards her relative inexperience, the undulations of the Epsom track and the fact she didn’t settle early on in her run in the 1,000 Guineas which creates a possible stamina doubt. And whilst she might overcome those obstacles, she is easily opposable at her current odds in what looks like a potentially wide-open race.
I really fancied Zeyaadah earlier in the week, on her bare form, and with just the general look of a filly that is straightforward and will progress this season. But I can’t get away from a pedigree that probably puts her more in the mile camp and with a potential preference for soft ground and a draw in stall 1 confirmed, it was the final nail in the coffin for a horse that now looks underpriced. Her conqeuror in the Cheshire Oaks was Dubai Fountain and although she now has to race on 3lbs worse terms to Zeyaadah, there is a fair chance the Mark Johnstone filly will uphold the form.
Ocean Road and Teona both have nice pedigrees and may not have shown their best form on track just yet so are entitled to improve.
But I am going to side with DIVINELY for the Ballydoyle team. The Coolmore second, third and fourth strings are generally dismissed at your peril in these Classics particularly with how much the Galileo’s can improve in their three-year-old seasons.
Divinely didn’t exactly show bundles of class in her juvenile campaign. But then again neither did Qualify (Oaks winner at 50-1) or Was (Oaks winner at 20-1) when they stepped up to win at this event. Divinely very obviously looks like she was racing over the wrong trip as a juvenile with five attempts over 7f-1m. The best of which was clearly a staying on success over a mile in a Group 3 at the Curragh on heavy going.
Divinely opened her season with a very close 4/8 in the Lingfield Oaks Trial where she looked like she badly needed the run after eight months off the track. I thought it was quite an encouraging run, all things considered, as she had a number of this field in close attendance, whilst shaping like she might contain the most scope for improvement.
Her middle-distance pedigree looks bang-on (by Galileo out of Red Evie mare) being a full sister to Arc winner, Found, and I am fully expecting her to leave all previous form behind when she steps up to the 1m 4f trip over faster ground at Epsom. Her healthy level of track experience should stand her in good stead and I think she is more than capable of running a massive race in this year’s renewal of the Oaks.
1pt each-way Divinely @14/1, 16:30 Epsom, Friday (1-4 places, 1/5 odds with several bookmakers)Leave a comment