Crystal Clear Bet For The Oaks
An outstanding weekend of racing awaits, kicking off on Friday with the Investec Oaks (4.30), where David Wachman will look to take on the British contingent with his 1,000 Guineas winner, Legatissimo (3/1).
Legatissimo To Record Guineas/Oaks Double?
This filly won a Listed event over an extended 1m1f prior to that famous win at Newmarket a month ago (1m, good to firm), and with plenty of stamina on the dam’s side, there is every chance this step back up in trip could suit. The form of that victory also looks solid, and sets a good standard as favourite, but she will need to be the first 1,000 Guineas winner to follow-up in the Oaks since Kazzia back in 2002.
Jack To Go Up Hill
Jessica Harrington strengthens the Irish challenge with Jack Naylor (7/1), who twice gave the impression she needs further than 1m when third in the French 1,000 Guineas, prior to finishing fourth in the Irish equivalent. The manner in which she powered into fourth at the Curragh, and the fact she has an abundance of stamina on her dam’s side, suggests we may see improvement at Epsom.
Zvezda’s Case Looks Crystal Clear
Standing in the way of an Irish victory, however, is Sir Michael Stoute’s, Crystal Zvezda (7/2), a winner of two of her three races to date, including a much improved Listed win at Newbury last month (1m2f, good).
Having previously won over 7f, the step up in trip really suited Crystal Zvezda, who stretched over 3l clear in the manner of a good one.
There looks to be bags of improvement to come, and the fact she avoided Group 1 company last time has proven a good omen.
Of the last 10 Oaks winners…
10 ran over 7.5f-1m2f last time
10 arrived via a Group 3/Listed event
10 were beaten no more than 3l last time
9 had 2-5 career runs
9 made the top two last time
9 ran during the last 16-30 days
Ralph Beckett and Aidan O’Brien won it twice apiece
Aidan With Three-Pronged Attack
But, let’s not forget Aidan O’Brien, who has won the Oaks twice since 2005 and has a live contender in Together Forever (10/1). A Group 1 winning juvenile over 1m in October, she returned with an excellent runner-up effort behind Star Of Seville (10/1) in York’s Oaks Trial (1m2f, good). There is reason to believe Together Forever can reverse that form at Epsom, as she was giving the race-fit winner weight, and is by Galileo, who won over 1m4f at Epsom.
O’Brien also has Diamondsandrubies (7/1), who improved in each of her four career outings, culminating in a 6l Listed win at Chester a month ago (1m3f, good to soft). Stamina clearly won’t be a problem for Diamondsandrubies, and the firmer ground should suit even better.
A fascinating conundrum for punters to crack, but one in which Sir Michael Stoute may finally break his Oaks duck with Crystal Zvezda, who looked really impressive at Newbury and is bred to improve over 1m4f.