The Cazoo Derby Festival brings two magnificent days of Flat racing on the world famous Epsom Downs in the heart of the Surrey countryside.
Friday June 3rd is Oaks Day – also known as Ladies Day at Epsom.
It’s the second Classic Weekend in the British flat-racing season, with The Oaks on Friday for the fillies and The Derby itself on the Saturday.
Ladies Day at Epsom features a seven-race card from 2.00pm-5.40pm with a brace of Group 1 races to be won. The Cazoo Oaks over one-mile-and-four-furlongs is of course the star attraction – the best three-year-old fillies in Britain and Ireland coming together for their premier Classic of the season.
Earlier on the card there’s top-level action for the older generation via the Coronation Cup over the same course and distance as the Classics. The Friday card at Epsom also includes the Woodcote Stakes, Surrey Stakes and three tough handicaps from 7f-1m2f.
Oaks Day Betting Tips & Predictions
Note that the tips below refer to the 2021 running of the Epsom Festival; updated betting tips will be available at the beginning of June 2022.
Since 2014 The Oaks at Epsom has been utterly dominated by two trainers – Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden – winners of the last seven renewals between them, with the Irish trainer ahead four-three following last year’s demolition job from the outstanding filly Love.
The sheer quality of recent Oaks winners have been high, with the likes of Minding (2016) and Enable (2017) going on to record superb tallies of Group 1 wins. Plenty will be anticipating something similar from last year’s winner Love.
O’Brien once again has the ante-post favourite for the 2021 Epsom Oaks in Santa Barbara. The daughter of Derby-winner Camelot has raced just twice. She won a maiden last season easily and finished fourth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her seasonal bow recently.
She was fancied as 5/2 joint-favourite for that race and will have learned plenty despite being beaten on the Rowley Mile. Her Ballydoyle handler thinks Santa Barbara can be a bit special and we may will see her improving for this longer trip around Epsom. She heads the betting for The Oaks as the early favourite as her trainer bids to win this race for the ninth time in his stunning career.
Such is the depth of talent at O’Brien’s disposal, he also has second-favourite Snowfall, impressive winner of York’s Group 3 Musidora Stakes recently, in the mix for this fillies’ Classic.
The British challenge is led – on the betting at least – by Roger Varian. The Newmarket trainer has two chances to win a first Oaks, with Zeyaadah and Teona popular in the market.
The former was runner-up in the Cheshire Oaks to Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain – also an Epsom contender – while Teona was third at York behind Snowfall and Sir Michael Stoute’s Noon Star. Between them, that sextet are the only Oaks contenders currently at single-figure odds.
The other Group 1 on Friday has Al Aasy at the head of the betting for William Haggas. The Shadwell-owned runner has easily won successive Group 3s at Newbury this spring over the mile-and-a-half trip and looks every inch of a top-level performer in the making. O’Brien could send over Japan and Broome, while Pyledriver – luckless in last year’s Derby – and Hukum are amongst the potential home-based opposition to Al Aasy.
Check out each race below for in-depth tips and predictions:
Epsom Derby Festival Day 1 – Oaks Day Racecard June 3rd 2022
Epsom is the centre of the racing world for two days in June as the Surrey Downs stages the second Classic-weekend of the British season. Friday is Ladies Day at Epsom in every way, for both racegoers and the equine stars.
The Cazoo Oaks is the feature race, the 1m4f Classic providing a true test of stamina for the three-year-old fillies, a natural progression from Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas for some. The Oaks is the main event on day one at Epsom and is scheduled to go off as race five of seven at 4.30pm.
There’s also Group 1 action via the Coronation Cup and some competitive handicaps on Friday’s card at Epsom alongside the Woodcote and Surrey Stakes.
The full Ladies Day race programme is below.
|14:00||Cazoo Woodcote EBF Stakes||6f||2YO only|
|15:10||Coronation Cup (Group 1)||1m4f||4YO+|
|15:45||Cazoo Handicap Stakes||1m2f||4YO+|
|16:30||The Oaks (Group 1)||1m4f||3YO fillies|
|17:10||Surrey Stakes||7f||3YO only|
|17:40||Festival Handicap Stakes||7f||3YO+|
Race 1 – 14:00 – Cazoo Woodcote EBF Stakes (6f)
The Derby Festival gets underway with a two-year-old European Breeders Fund conditions contest over the six-furlong trip at Epsom. The Woodcote often attracts some of the sharpest early season sprinters in the UK and Ireland and it was first run all the way back in 1794.
|2021||Oscula||George Boughey||Mark Crehan||15/2|
|2020||Twaasol||Owen Burrows||Martin Harley||9/4jf|
|2019||Pinatubo||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle||1/1 fav|
|2018||Cosmic Law||Richard Fahey||PJ McDonald||10/1|
Dairerin is the standard-setter, Michael Bell’s colt only narrowly avoided making it 2-2 when he was second in a similar contest at Newbury three weeks ago. There’s more to come from him and he looks a key player. Raging, Flaming Rib and Oscula already know how to win and remain open to improvement but DUSKY PRINCE offers some value. Archie Watson’s charge was well backed on debut at Brighton in April and, after briefly looking outpaced, he really powered home to win going away. More to come from Hollie Doyle’s mount.
Selection: Dusky Prince @
Race 2 – 14:35 – Handicap Stakes (1m½f)
The first handicap of the Epsom meeting and it’s for horses aged four-years and older. A maximum field of 18 can go to post for the Handicap Stakes, run over a distance of one-mile-and-half-a-furlong. With the Derby Festival run on a single day in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, this race was omitted.
|2021||Corazon Espinado||S. Dow||Hollie Doyle||12/1|
|2019||Gossiping||Gary Moore||Andrea Atzeni||10/1|
|2018||Medburn Dream||Peter Hedger||Franny Norton||5/1|
IRISH ADMIRAL created a good impression on his first start for William Haggas after arriving from Ireland, scoring on Wolverhampton’s all-weather over this trip in April. He looked set to follow up at York for a winning handicap bow 21 days ago but just failed to get home over further. Dropped in trip; he’s the one to focus on. Muraad had a thankless task in an Ascot Listed race on seasonal bow and the Glorious Goodwood winner from last summer should outrun his price here.
Selection: Irish Admiral @
Race 3 – 15:10 – Coronation Cup (Group 1, 1m4f)
The Coronation Cup is the first Group 1 of the Epsom Festival and is run over the Classic course and distance of 1m4f on the Downs. It’s open to horses aged four-years and older. In 2020 it was won by Ghaiyyath (run at Newmarket) – the Godolphin horse forging a season that saw him rated the world’s best by the autumn.
|2021||Pyledriver||Muir & Grossick||M. Dwyer||8/1|
|2020||Ghaiyyath||Charlie Appleby||William Buick||11/10fav|
|2019||Defoe||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni||11/1|
|2018||Cracksman||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori||2/7fav|
Al Aasy has won successive Newbury Group 3s this season over this trip in supreme style and will be fancied by many to keep on that progress now in elite company. William Haggas’ charge is thriving and a massive danger but the odds are short. Brothers Japan and Mogul are dangers in a race Aidan O’Brien has won eight times in 16 years but ALBAFLORA is given a chance. Ralph Beckett’s filly was very good at Ascot on her return and gets Frankie Dettori for company now. She should have no worries at all on this faster ground and perhaps the market is underestimating her chance.
Selection: Albaflora @
Race 4 – 15:45 – Cazoo Handicap Stakes (1m2f)
The second handicap on the card is run over an intermediate distance of a mile-and-a-quarter and, once more, the race is open to horses aged four-years and older. Mark Johnson won this race in 2020 with Sky Defender on the rearranged one-day Epsom Festival in July.
|2021||Blue Cup||Menuisier||Oisin Murphy||9/2fav|
|2020||Sky Defender||Mark Johnston||Joe Fanning||22/1|
|2019||Mountain Angel||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni||11/4fav|
|2018||Ajman King||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni||5/4fav|
Blue Cup remains one that should have more to offer and is hugely respected, while Dream With Me is really pushing forward now and could grab yet another win. VICTORY CHIME’s aggressive style of racing pays off here and despite a 4lb rise for last month’s win, he might be able to make it 3-3 over C&D. HMS President and Waters Edge are well matched on Windsor form and the latter is a lively outsider who should be finishing off as well as anything.
Selection: Victory Chime @
Race 5 – 16:30 – Cazoo Oaks (Group 1, 1m4f)
The main event on day one of Epsom is the Cazoo Oaks, the second fillies-only Classic of the British season. Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden have dominated this race in recent times, winning the last seven renewals between them with superstars like Minding, Enable and, last year, Love.
|2021||Snowfall||AP O’Brien||L Dettori||11/2|
|2020||Love||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore||11/10fav|
|2019||Anapurna||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori||8/1|
|2018||Forever Together||Aidan O’Brien||Donnacha O’Brien||7/1|
Santa Barbara didn’t quite live up to the hype in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but, on just her second start, that close-up fourth was hugely promising and she should be right at home over this extra half-mile now. She is the right favourite for a trainer with a cracking recent record in The Oaks.
Stablemate Snowfall is a player too under Frankie Dettori after her Musidora win at York, though she was allowed to dictate that race. Cheshire Oaks first and second, DUBAI FOUNTAIN and Zeyaadah are massive contenders too on paper.
Both will come on for that first run back. The latter was finishing well and had won all three starts previous to that, while she’s now 3lb better off. Mark Johnston’s filly however is a fair price. She relished the increased trip at Chester and won’t mind this faster surface. Her trainer has never won The Oaks but he’s got a really solid contender here.
Selection: Dubai Fountain @
Epsom Oaks Latest Betting OddsEvent finished - Check out the latest markets
Race 6 – 17:10 – Surrey Stakes (7f)
The Listed Surrey Stakes is a conditions race open only to three-year-olds and is run over seven-furlongs. It is the penultimate race on Ladies Day at Epsom and has been dominated by British-trained horses – with just one Irish winner since its inception in 1995. The 2020 renewal was opened to older horses owing to the pandemic.
|2021||Mehmento||Archie Watson||Hollie Doyle||11/8fav|
|2020||Safe Voyage||John Quinn||Jason Hart||6/5fav|
|2019||Space Blues||Charlie Appleby||James Doyle||6/5fav|
|2018||Lake Volta||Mark Johnston||Silvestre De Sousa||3/1|
MEHMENTO finished second behind Chindit in the Greenham at Newbury in April, a really smart piece of form, and his subsequent Group 1 flop in France is easily enough forgiven as it came on heavy ground. He’s dropped in class/trip and looks to hold first-rate claims. Last-time-out Goodwood Conditions race second Legal Attack is capable of a challenge with first-time cheekpieces deployed.
Selection: Mehmento @
Race 7 – 17:40 – Cazoo Derby Festival Handicap Stakes (7f)
The concluding act on Friday at Epsom is a handicap over seven-furlongs open to horses aged three-years and older. It’s often a tough puzzle for punters to solve on the final race of the afternoon at Epsom.
|2021||Rhoscolyn||D O’Meara||James Doyle||9/2|
|2020||Muntadab||Roger Fell||Ben Curtis||7/2fav|
|2019||Corazon Espinado||Simon Dow||Tom Marquand||7/1|
|2018||Shared Equity||Jedd O’Keefe||Jack Garrity||9/1|
A really competitive finale. Above has been gelded since last spotted and might do better, but a trio of last-time-out winners are feared in Dulas, Paws For Thought and RHOSCOLYN. David O’Meara’s Goodwood winner is fancied to emerge best. He posted a faster time than Dulas over the same C&D last month and the three-year-old showed he doesn’t need to front run. James Doyle’s mount could be well treated again.
Selection: Rhoscolyn @
*All odds correct at time of writing