Epsom Oaks

Epsom Ladies Day

Top class-horse racing combines with style on Investec Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs, with the best three-year-old fillies taking to the turf in the Oaks, the third British Classic of the season. The 2019 race takes place on Friday May 31, with a start time of 1630 BST.

The race dates back to 1779, with Bridget winning the inaugural running under Dick Goodisson, who rode the first three winners of the race.

The 12-furlong race is the second part of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, following the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and preceding the St Leger at Doncaster. This unique achievement hasn’t been attempted in recent years, with Oh So Sharp - trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil - the last horse to complete the treble back in 1985.

Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden between them have won the last five runnings of the race, but both have some way to go to catch Robert Robson, who trained the winner of the Oaks no less than 13 times.

The Ballydoyle trainer won the 2018 edition with Forever Together beating the Prix Marcel Boussac winner Wild Illusion into second and stablemate Bye Bye Baby back in third.

Horses who win the Oaks often attempt to win the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, with Enable most recently completing the Oaks double in 2017.

Earlier on the card, the Coronation Cup sees the older horses race over the Oaks (and Derby) distance, with Gosden’s Cracksman narrowly defeating Salouen in the 2018 race. This year, Gosden again has a leading contender in Lah Ti Dar (7/2) but O’Brien’s Kew Gardens currently heads the market at 2/1.

Epsom Oaks Tips

Similar to the Epsom Derby, many of the horses in the race will have never run over this distance and therefore the winner can often be overlooked in the market.

Only one of the last 10 winners had been favourite at the off, with Minding returning the 11/10 winning market leader back in 2016. Recent winners at double-figure prices include Qualify, Talent and Dancing Rain (all 20/1).

One of the key trials for the Oaks is the 1000 Guineas, won this year by Hermosa - who would go on to take the Irish equivalent last weekend en route to the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Other key trials include the Musidora Stakes at York, the Cheshire Oaks at Chester and the Salsabil Stakes at Navan.

Epsom Downs is a unique test of a young thoroughbred and features an ascent to the top of the hill followed by a sweeping left turn at Tattenham Corner as the horses descend towards the straight, with a sharp climb in the last 100 yards then testing their stamina to the maximum.

Here at The Winners Enclosure, we study every single runner and look to profile them all in our race guides, which can be found in the days up to any high-profile meeting.

Our tips and selections are all researched and backed up by our experienced team of betting tipsters. They can be found on our main daily horse racing tips page.

2019 Investec Oaks Main Contenders

Current market leader Mehdaayih warmed up for Epsom with victory in the Cheshire Oaks while nearest rival Pink Dogwood took the Salsabil at Navan.

Interestingly both Mehdaayih and Pink Dogwood are yet to win a Group Race of any kind. That said, Forever Together had not won a race of any description before taking the 2018 renewal for Aidan O’Brien and son Donnacha.

Investec Ladies’ Day dress code

On Investec Ladies’ Day, the dress code depends on the enclosure you choose to enter. In the Grandstand Enclosure, guests are encouraged to dress smartly throughout the festival with no sportswear or sleeveless vests allowed. Smart denim is allowed (no ripped jeans though!) but guests are not permitted to wear trainers.

In the Queen's Stand, male racegoers are required to wear either black or grey morning dress which should include a top hat, service dress or full national costume.

For ladies, formal day wear is required, and this can include a formal day dress or a tailored trouser suit, with a hat or substantial fascinator.

However, in the Lonsdale, Upper Tattenham and Hillside enclosures, Epsom has no dress code but asks that racegoers dress appropriately.

Ladies are also encouraged to enter the Style Awards, with a chance to win various prizes on the day!

Betting on the Epsom Oaks

As mentioned earlier, the Gosden-trained Mehdaayih currently heads the market at 9/4 after a convincing four-length success in the Cheshire Oaks. She was rated just 86 two starts ago but has improved considerably over the winter and looks like another outstanding Classic prospect for a trainer who is hoping to win this race for a third time.

The O’Brien-trained Pink Dogwood (3/1) is the second favourite and has been off the track for 33 days, the longest gap between races of any of the horses in the race. She struggled over shorter trips as a two-year-old but looked to relish the 10-furlong trip at Navan in April and will surely improve for another two furlongs at Epsom.

Looking further down the field, Maqsad (7/1) is the highest rated filly (109) expected to run in the 2019 race, with Hermosa and Iridessa both being ruled out it confirms the field will feature 14 runners. The William Haggas-trained filly only won a Yarmouth novice race in April but showed much improved form to demolish a decent field in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, a race that has thrown up Oaks winners such as Taghrooda back in 2014.

She seemed to improve markedly for the 10-furlong trip that day, and if seeing out the extended trip on just her fifth start, she must have an excellent chance of giving Haggas a second Oaks victory.

Many bookmakers will be offering free bets and extra places on the race, so keep your eyes peeled and check HERE for any special offers.

Epsom Oaks Winners

With just under £300,000 to the winner, the Oaks always attracts a stellar field with the winner often going on to further Group One success later in the season.

The all-conquering Enable won this race in 2017 before claiming the Irish Oaks, King George, the Yorkshire Oaks, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly and Longchamp as well as the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

2016 winner Minding had Group One success at shorter distances after victory in the Oaks, winning the Nassau Stakes at Newmarket and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes when taking on male opposition for the first time.

Placed horses in the Fillies’ Classic also tend to enjoy further victories, with 2018 runner-up Wild Illusion going on to win the Nassau Stakes and the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp.

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