Talent, Epsom Oaks 2013 PreviewThe Epsom Oaks – the third classic of the British flat season – kicks off at 16:00 on Friday May 31st and we’ve picked out a 16/1 (17.00) chance (pictured, red cap) with Totesport that we fancy will run a big race. Check out our full 2013 Oaks preview for more information.

As ever, we’ve looked over recent winners of the Epsom Oaks and picked out the key trends, building a profile of what is needed to win the famous Group One race for three year old fillies. Here’s what we discovered:

Key Epsom Oaks Trends

Breeding

  • All of the last 12 Oaks winners were sired by a horse with a stamina index of 7.8 or better
  • 11 of the last 12 winners were born in February, March or April
  • 10 of the last 12 Epsom Oaks winners were sired by a Group One winner

These Epsom Oaks trends tell us that we are looking for a classy sort with a certain degree of stamina in her pedigree. We should also look to avoid the more immature fillies, who may not be as well developed physically.

Recent Form

  • All of the last 12 Epsom Oaks winners had run in the past 35 days
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had run once or twice that season before the Oaks
  • 13 of the last 16 winners had finished 1st or 2nd last time out

These Oaks trends speak for themselves; we want to back an in-form filly that’s fresh enough to win the race.

Past Form

  • All of the last 12 Oaks winners had tasted success over at least 1m
  • All of the last 12 winners had raced at least twice in their careers
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had run no more than 6 career races prior to Epsom
  • 8 of the last 10 Oaks winners had finished 1st or 2nd in a recognised Oaks trial

These Epsom Oaks trends suggest that our selection should have a certain amount of racing experience, without being campaigned too hard. The filly should also have proven form over at least a mile, preferably having put in a good performance in a recognised Oaks trial race prior to Epsom.

Summary

By applying all of the above trends to the 2013 Epsom Oaks field, there are just two clear contenders: Michael Stoute’s Liber Nauticus and the Ralph Beckett trained Talent.

The former won the Musidora Stakes at York, but there are valid questions about the strength of that form; it’s clear that she didn’t beat much on that day. But connections have offered a variety of excuses as to why she didn’t win the race more impressively, with everything from the ground, the trip, the pace of the race and the fact that it was only her second ever career run getting a mention. Despite all that, I still like her chances of winning the Oaks and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Sir Michael Stoute’s filly if they wanted to, at a current best price of 7/2 (4.50) with Totesport.

However, due to the doubts about the strength of the Musidora form, I would prefer to back something at a bigger price (besides, in recent years, we’ve seen two Epsom Oaks winners returned at 20/1, as well as a 33/1 shot back in 2008). So it’s quite fortunate that the other trends horse, Ralph Beckett’s Talent, is currently a best price of 16/1 with Totesport.

The chestnut filly won the Pretty Polly Stakes – again, not the strongest looking of race – but jockey Jim Crowley reported that she was still “quite fresh” as it was her first run of the season, adding that “a better race with more pace would help her to settle better”. The Oaks is certainly a better race.

A further positive for our selection is that the aforementioned 33/1 Oaks winner, a filly called Look Here, was also trained by Ralph Beckett.

Advice

The 2013 Epsom Oaks
Friday May 31st, 16:00

Talent (Each-Way) @ 16/1 (17.00) with Totesport

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