The Oaks has lost its star quality this year because of the absence of Magical and Lah Ti Dar, who was long time favourite for the race, from the field. There is no stand out filly this time like there was two years ago when, 1000 Guineas winner, Minding bolted up. Realistically, every single horse could win the race this year. It is likely that the winner will come from Aidan O’Brien’s yard as he has five of the nine runners.
Based on jockey bookings, it seems that Magic Wand is the best of the Irishman’s string. She broke her maiden last time out at Chester in the Cheshire Oaks over one mile three and was going away from the field on that occasion so she will stay the trip. Forever Together finished second in that race and ran into lots of trouble in running. She has to be checked a few times but when she got open space, she absolutely flew. She is still a maiden but the extra distance will help her.
Seamie Heffernan rides I Can Fly, who was unplaced last time out in the Guineas. She is yet to run in a race over a mile. Her dam ran six times over a mile but didn’t win any of them and she is by Fastnet Rock, a sprinter. She is most likely in this as the pace maker but you never know with Aidan’s horses. Flattering could also be a pace angle. Now that the rain is coming up soft, this filly’s chances will improve a great deal. Her only win has come on soft ground and she won it by ten lengths. Last time out, she was third on good to firm ground behind Perfect Clarity in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield. It didn’t help her, when push came to shove, that Ryan Moore dropped his whip. She didn’t seem to enjoy the going and will much prefer this.
Bye Bye Baby has won three of her eight starts. She is a listed and group three winner in Ireland and the Goup Three win fame on soft ground so she has a good chance based in that.
Perfect Clarity won the Oaks Trail at Lingfield and is the only unbeaten runner in the field. She won her maiden and then bolted up at Lingfield. She showed a good change of gear at the two furlong marker and ran on well so the trip shouldn’t be an issue.
Give And Take handled a massive step up in grade when landing the Musidora at York. The trip is an unknown but she saw out the one mile two trip well and will continue to improve from that. Ejtyah was third in that race but was left one-paced in the final furlong. That race will have set her up nicely for the rest of the season. It is unknown whether she will stay the longer trip as she is by Frankel and out of a mare who ran three times and won none of them.
Wild Illusion completes the field for William Buick and Charlie Appleby. She has won on soft ground and, last time out, she was fourth in the 1000 Guineas. This is a big step up in trip for her but Buick said in an interview with the Racing Post, “She’s very stoutly bred on the dam’s side and being by Dubawi, she has a great pedigree. You’d like to think the distance won’t inconvenience her- she seems straight forward and ticks a lot of boxes.”
To Win- Forever Together (stayed on well last time out. Would’ve been a lot closer if she hadn’t been checked a few times.)
Each Way- Flattering (Won a soft ground maiden by ten lengths so won’t mind the cut in the ground. She’s at a brilliant price!)