AP O'Brien Set To Dominate The Oaks & The Derby Once Again

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11 wins combined from the last nine renewals of the races, it's probably not an understatement when we say that AP O'Brien has dominated the Epsom Oaks and Epsom Derby and this weekend looks set to be no different with the Ballydoyle trainer saddling the top two in both of the antepost markets.

We'll have a look at the main head to heads in both races and take a little look in to whether any British horses could mount a serious challenge to any of his charges.

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Santa Barbara vs Snowfall - Epsom Oaks

The first head to head comes in Fridays Epsom Oaks as the Ballydoyle pair of Santa Barbara and Snowfall look set to battle it out in the Epsom Oaks.

A maiden winner over a mile on debut at The Curragh as a two year old, the half sister to multiple Group 1 winner Iridessa and Breeders Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia was sent off as 5/2 joint favourite in this years 1000 Guineas but could only manage fourth despite being a fairly tough ride after hanging left when it mattered inside the final furlong.

She's clearly bred for further having come out of 2012 Derby winner Camelot so it's easy to see why she's the more favoured of the two in this field.

Snowfall meanwhile has been a bit more of a surprise package compared to her stablemate. Third on debut then eighth of ninth on her second start, she made it third time lucky when winning at The Curragh over 7f.

She was then thrown into Group company however she couldn't manage a place on any of those starts before thriving off the step up to 10f in the Musidora Stakes at York to make all and win by over three lengths.

The experience and form is solely with Snowfall however with big improvement on the cards from Santa Barbara, it's easy to see why she is the more favoured of the two.

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Bolshoi Ballet vs High Definition - Epsom Derby

Now the biggy, the race every middle distance horse wants to win, the Epsom Derby. Once again, it's no surprise to see Aidan O'Brien dominating the market in a race in which he was won six times from the last nine renewals.

At the top of the market is his Group 3 winner Bolshoi Ballet. By Galileo and full brother to Group 3 winner and Irish St Leger place Southern France, he was third on debut before getting off the mark in emphatic style at the second time of asking when bolting up by four lengths.

He was fifth of eight in Group 1 company at Saint-Cloud on his final outing of 2020 but he has since landed back to back Group 3s at Leopardstown both in relatively easy fashion and both over 1m 2f.

The turn of foot he showed last time out in a Derby Trial suggested that the 1m 4f trip won't be a problem for him and he's clearly a horse with bags of potential.

His stablemate HIGH DEFINITION has gone about things rather differently however. He was unbeaten over a mile on his first two starts as a two year old last season and when sent off at 13/8 in the Dante, he showed that he's going to need much further than the 1m 2f distance he ran over on that occasion.

He struggled to keep up with the pace but he finished by far the best and if the race hasn't gotten away from him already, expect him to handle that Epsom climb better than any other horse in the race and he's the one we really fancy to upset the odds.

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Where Can The Brits Upset The Odds?

In the Derby it looks set to be all in the hooves of Frankel colt Mohaafeth. The William Haggas charge has excelled of late on firmer ground winning on all three starts so far in 2021 and he's likely to get that ground this weekend despite course officials confirming that the track will be watered. He's yet to run over 1m 4f similar to most of his rivals but the way he ran on when getting off the mark in Listed company last time out suggests that 1m 4f probably wont be too much of a problem having not come off the bridle.

In The Oaks meanwhile, the main threat to O'Brien's charges looks like to be another Al Maktoum type in the shape of the Roger Varian trained Zeyaadah. Unbeaten as a two year old from three starts last year, she ran on well late on to finish a close second behind Dubai Fountain on her first start of 2021 at Chester. That course is extremely flat compared to Epsom so whether she will cope with the hill is a big worry but if she does handle it better than expected, she could well push Santa Barbara and Snowfall all the way.

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