Aidan O’Brien Launches Attack On Epsom Downs
Classic racing returns to one of Britain’s most unique racecourses on Friday afternoon with the Epsom Oaks taking centre stage ahead of what is sure to be another fascinating Derby on Saturday.
It will be little surprise that the record breaking Aidan O’Brien is launching a big attack on Epsom. O’Brien saddles five of the nine Oaks runners and it could be worth investing in one of his that are less prominent in the betting.
Grounds for concerns ahead of Oaks
The ground for the Oaks is likely to be softer than normal and depending on how much rain they eventually get on Thursday, it could be quite soft.
It is unlikely to be joined by the unforgettable thunder and lightning that arrived at post time for the Oaks last year but it is going to take a filly that gets through the conditions and Bye Bye Baby could be the one this year.
A recent Curragh winner for O’Brien, it was interesting to hear him speak after that race about how he never worries about their first run and that this filly would definitely go straight for the Oaks.
Bye Bye Baby’s improvement from her seasonal debut to that Curragh win was massive.
She can be expected to step forward again from that latest outing and her ability to handle the conditions has to be a major plus.
Bye Bye Baby is the mount of Wayne Lordan and on jockey bookings this year with Ryan Moore, Seamie Heffernan and Donnacha O’Brien, there would be every reason to suggest that Lordan’s booking makes Bye Bye Baby the fourth string of our champion trainer but that wouldn’t put me off the 6/1 shot.
Lordan won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Winter last year and with Magical a notable omission from the declarations, there is every chance that there is little to separate the Ballydoyle contingent.
Even Padraig Beggy will be fancying his chances on the Cork winner Flattering who is sure to also love the ground. The nod goes to Bye Bye Baby though in a wide open renewal.
Johnston has a Diamond in the opener
Marie’s Diamond looks to be the one to get favourite backers off to a good start this weekend. The Leicester winner showed an ability to handle heavy conditions to win over the minimum trip back in April.
He then ran with credit behind The Irish Rover a couple of weeks ago and that level of form should be good enough to win the opening conditons race.
Course and distance form is also a positive for punters at Epsom and as well as being a winner here before, Medburn Dream was also successful last time out and comes into the Investec Click & Invest Mile Handicap in good form for Peter Hedger and Franny Norton.
Another plus for the five-year-old is that despite winning on quick ground last time, he also won on much softer ground and he is one to keep on the right side of.
Marie’s Diamond (11/4) – 2.00 Epsom Downs
Bye Bye Baby (6/1) – 4.30 Epsom Downs
*Prices correct at time of publication