Epsom Oaks 2024

This year’s Epsom Oaks might not have the wow factor compared to previous renewals, but it’s certainly shaping up to be a wide-open contest with no standout contender.

Here’s my runner guide and tips for the race, starting with the favourite.

Epsom Oaks Runners Guide

Ylang Ylang

A winner of three of her six starts and the only one of these with Group 1-winning form, courtesy of her success in the bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket in October. 

Despite being slightly impeded over a furlong out from the finish, she finished her race off to very good effect, and that is probably the benchmark piece of form for the rest to aim at here. 

Her fifth-place finish in the 1,000 Guineas at the same venue on her return was eye-catching, as she made late gains from the rear of the field without ever looking like she would succeed. 

Aidan O’Brien’s horses often need their first run of the season, and this filly could find improvement now, stepping up in trip to a mile and four furlongs. 

She should be able to cope with the mechanism of Epsom’s undulating track, and, mathematically, based upon a reading of her form, she is the one to beat. 

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Rubies Are Red

Stable companion of Ylang Ylang and has displayed race-by-race progress, placing in all three starts to date. She looked slightly unlucky when third on debut, having been denied a clear run before picking up well to be nearest the finish. 

She then returned a beaten favourite when finding Galileo Dame too good when upped in trip at Leopardstown. The winner has let the form down since, but this daughter of Galileo subsequently finished second in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield.

To some extent, she raced further back than ideal and did very well to make up a considerable amount of ground inside the final couple of furlongs to only be beaten a half-length by the winner, who was allowed to dictate matters. 

Having said that, this is a big step up in class, and I’m not quite sure she has the same natural quality as some of the yard’s previous winners of this contest. She’s plenty short in the betting considering she’s yet to win a race of any kind. 

Ezeliya

Dermot Weld knows what it takes to win a British Classic, and his sole representative impressed when beating Purple Lily at Navan in April. The form of her previous win over Wendla has also been positively advertised. 

Although another personal best will be required for her to come out on top in this company, she should relish the step-up in trip based on the evidence of her strong-finishing efforts in each of her three starts.

Her handler believes she is a Group 1 filly in the making, and there’s plenty to like about her profile. She’ll need to raise her game to beat the favourite, but that certainly isn’t inconceivable, and she’s a leading contender. 

Forest Fairy

Perhaps the main player of the British-trained battalions, who is unbeaten in two starts and represents a trainer with a fine record in the race, having won it twice in the past.

This daughter of Arc winner Waldgeist returned a six-length winner over this trip on debut at Wolverhampton in February before battling to a head-success in the Listed Cheshire Oaks. 

She travelled into the race nicely and knuckled down when needed to, eventually seeing off the very game Port Fairy, with favourite Galileo Dame well adrift in fourth.

This will be a stiffer race up against a higher-quality opposition, but she’s done little wrong in winning both of her starts and will not lack stamina. She has each-way claims. 

You Got To Me

Stablemate of Forest Fairy and has two wins from three starts. Following her defeat of an odds-on favourite on debut at Kempton, she didn’t seem to handle Newmarket’s course that well when only fifth in her next start. 

However, she was given an enterprising ride in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield in her most recent start and did well to fend off all challengers to score by a half-length. But I doubt she will be allowed a soft lead this time.

Secret Satire

Not without a chance for team-Balding in spite of needing improvement. At first glance, it appeared this filly caused a surprise when winning the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York at 22/1, with her main rivals running below their best.

Nonetheless, she actually won that race, going away at the end, and she did that despite pulling hard throughout. Not many horses are capable of doing what she did in that race, so there’s reasoning to suggest she could potentially benefit from this longer trip. 

She beat Classical Song with plenty to spare and has peculiarly been overlooked in the market. The bookmakers presumably think she cannot repeat that showing here, but she’s in-form, and her handler trained the winner of this race in 2003, and she is interesting. 

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Dance Sequence

Won her first couple of starts and looked unlucky to lose her unbeaten record when a neck-second on her seasonal debut in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes. 

She could only finish ninth in the 1,000 Guineas when last spotted, but I suspect she’s better than that and could run well for the boys in the blue if the step up in trip works the oracle. 

Treasure

Another debutant winner, who succeeded at Nottingham on testing ground and recently shaped well to finish fourth in the trial race at Lingfield behind stablemate You Got To Me. 

Should improve, but there’s no proven evidence that she’s capable at this daunting level, so she can be passed over. 

Caught U Looking

Shaped quite encouragingly when sixth on debut at the Curragh behind Ylang Ylang before recording back-to-back wins, including a Group 3 success at the Curragh in September. Since then, she has been well-held in two starts and is likely to struggle. 

Making Dreams

Four-time winner for Karl Burke and bolted up by six lengths in a Group 3 race at Saint-Cloud in her penultimate start but struggled in a Group 3 race last time out and will find this tougher. 

Seaward 

One win from four starts and wasn’t far behind Forest Fairy on her return at Chester last time out when third. That said, she’s in the deep waters here, and it is hard to see her threatening the main principles. 

War Chimes

Two wins from six starts, but she has been found out in Group 3 and 2 contests the last two times, and it is hard to see her running a big race. Others have achieved a lot more. 

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Epsom Oaks Tips

Aidan O’Brien’s top two in the betting deserve the utmost respect, but I think they are vulnerable to potential improvers. One of those being the Dermot Weld-trained EZELIYA (tipped at 4/1), who makes the most appeal. 

Her strong finishing kick should come into play when the race begins to heat up, and her handler has expressed how much he holds this filly in the highest regard. She’s won her last two starts impressively, including a Group 3 last time out, and could be too good for these. 

Ezeliya, 2pts WIN, 4/1

The unbeaten FOREST FAIRY (tipped at 8/1) also makes plenty of appeal. Ralph Beckett has a good record in the race, and this filly showed complete professionalism when winning the Cheshire Oaks last time out. That race has predominantly been a cracking trial for this contest. 

She is a strong traveller and has plenty of gears in her locker. As well as those two attributes, she can battle like she showcased last time out and stays well. Evidently open to plenty more improvement, I can see her running a huge race. 

Forest Fairy, 1pt E/W, 8/1