With only four days to go until the start of the Derby Festival, the anticipation for the Oaks and the Derby is continuing to build.
The third classic of the season features on Epsom’s Friday card with the Oaks, while the Derby is pencilled in the following day.
John and Thady Gosden’s Emily Upjohn is the clear favourite for the former, with the Sea The Stars filly hovering around the odds-on mark.
Is the three-year-old a safe bet for the classic? The team break down all the info you need on the favourite.
ONLY TWO FAVOURITES HAVE WON THE OAKS IN THE LAST 12 RUNNINGS
It’s a stat that instantly instils a bit of worry – as only Love (2020) and Minding (2016) have delivered as the market favourite since the 2010 running of the Oaks.
Both could be argued to be more justified as favourites as well – Love was 6lb higher in the ratings heading into this race two years ago compared to Emily Upjohn while Minding was even higher with a 9lb difference.
SEVEN OF THE LAST 10 WINNERS HAD JUST ONE START THAT SEASON BEFORE RUNNING IN THE OAKS
This is an interesting stat, as it seems that early fatigue can play a part in this contest.
The likes of Snowfall and Love had only run once before heading to Epsom, with Enable being the last winner of the Oaks with more than one start the same year.
Emily Upjohn has run twice this year already, landing two easy successes at Sandown and York.
NINE OF THE LAST 10 WINNERS HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY EITHER AIDAN O’BRIEN OR JOHN GOSDEN
It’s a race that has been dominated by these two powerhouse stables in recent years and with O’Brien not supplying a clear challenger this year, it could well be the Gosden duo that land success here.
In fact, John & Thady Gosden currently hold the top two in the antepost market. Nashwa earned her chance after comfortably running out as the winner in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury earlier this month.
She is currently a 9/2 chance and holds a rating that is only 3lbs lower than the favourite and while her form isn’t as significant as her stablemate’s, Nashwa could be backed as she holds more value in comparison.
This year’s renewal of the Oaks is not as strong as it has been in recent years, which is potentially why Emily Upjohn carries an odds-on price tag here.
However, in comparison to previous winners around the same price mark, she’s not clear of her rivals and it doesn’t look like a straightforward task for her.
There is better value in the field and it may well be worth avoiding backing the favourite on this occasion.