Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do trends provide the key to the Epsom Oaks?

There are plenty of key pointers that can be used to assist in selecting the winner of the Oaks and this is one Classic where the trends have held-up well in the past few years.

The first of the key statistics augurs well for the current favourite Blue Bunting – as six of the last 20 winners have finished in the top six of the 1000 Guineas. The 1M Classic has always had a big say in the Oaks and Blue Bunting will be attempting to emulate Kazzia, who won both races for Goldophin back in 2002. There are plenty of examples of fillies running well in the Newmarket Guineas and coming onto Epsom to score, so a good run in that race should be taken as a positive pointer towards their chance here and anyone following the Epsom betting should remember this.

Another strong statistic is that only two of the winners of the Oaks since 1983 have been beaten in a recognised trial for the race, there have been a couple of exceptions in recent years but if you make an exception for fillies running in the Guineas, the fact remains that victory last time out is paramount. The Musidora is usually the pick of the Oaks trials, but that form is not represented this year and probably the most eye-catching performance in any of the trials was that of Zain Al Boldan in the Lingfield version of the Oaks Trials.

The race has a good record as a pointer to the main event with Midday winning there two years ago before being narrowly beaten at Epsom. Wonder Of Wonders won the Cheshire Oaks but she would become only the second winner of that race in more than 30 years to come on and triumph here. Of more interest in having won a trial is the Irish 1000 Guineas winner Misty For me, two of Aidan O'Brien's three Oaks winners took the Curragh Classic before running at Epsom and she measures up well on the trials criteria.

Shocks in the race have been rare of late with fourteen of the last 20 winners having emerged from the top three in the markets. Look Here was a 33/1 winner in 2008, but Jet Ski Lady at 50/1 in 1991 was the only other winner returned at over 12/1 since 1980. In fact nine of the last ten winners were priced at 10/1 or shorter.

As with the Derby, this tends to be a market driven race and although 2008 was a trends buster, favourites and those priced in single figures tend to have very good record in the race. Finally a run within the last five weeks has been important with all of the last ten winners having run within five weeks or less of the Oaks.
Trends and statistics are there to be broken but often they can point the way to winners and in the case of the Oaks they provide a strong platform from which to start.

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