Investec Oaks
Group 1, Epsom 16:30
£500,000 added,
3yo fillies only,
1m 4f 10y, Class 1   
Friday 2nd June 2017

First run in 1779, a year before the Investec Derby, the Group One contest, worth £500,000, is staged over a mile and a half and has 54 three-year-old fillies engaged. 

Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien has won the latest two renewals of the Investec Oaks, with Minding (2016) and Qualify (2015), and been successful six times in all. He has the most entries (12) of any handler in 2017. 

Rhododendron
© Caroline Norris

Rhododendron
Heading the Ballydoyle contingent is Rhododendron, who ended 2016 by taking the G1 Dubai Fillies' Mile at Newmarket in October. The three-year-old daughter of Galileo, out of three-time G1 scorer Halfway To Heaven, is the current Investec Oaks favourite in the ante-post betting market.

Another leading contender from Ballydoyle is Hydrangea. She too is a daughter of Galileo and finished second to Rhododendron in the Dubai Fillies' Mile. Hydrangea was triumphant on her reappearance at Leopardstown on April 8 in the G3 Ballylinch Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs at Leopardstown, where she beat stable companion Winter by a head, with Promise To Be True and Rain Goddess further back. 

Longing has also been out in 2017, making a promising debut when third to Bengala (John Oxx) in a 10-furlong Leopardstown maiden on April 5.

O'Brien's son Joseph, who partnered two Investec Derby winners when a jockey, could have his first Investec Oaks runner as a trainer in 2017 with his two entries including Intricately. The daughter of Fastnet Rock caused a 25/1 shock when getting the better of Hydrangea and Rhododendron in the G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh in September and came home fourth behind Hydrangea at Leopardstown last weekend.


There are 20 Irish-trained entries in total and the hopefuls include Tocco D'Amore (Dermot Weld) and Angel Island (Fozzy Stack) who have made eye-catching debut victories in 2017.

There could also be a rare US-trained runner in the Investec Oaks as Daddys Lil Darling (Kenny McPeek) has been entered. The Scat Daddy filly landed the G2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs in September and rounded off her 2016 campaign with a good fourth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita, both on a dirt surface.

She has already made an appearance in G1 company this season, when a staying-on half-length runner-up in the Ashland Stakes over an extended mile on dirt at Keeneland on April 8. 
 
Urban Fox
© Racehorse Photos

Urban Fox
Newmarket trainer James Tate could have his first Investec Oaks runner this year with Urban Fox. The Saeed Manana-owned filly acquitted herself well in several Pattern races last season and ended the campaign when third behind Rhododendron in the Dubai Fillies' Mile.

Urban Fox was also third behind Rich Legacy (Ralph Beckett) in the G2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster in September, with the biggest of her three successes coming next time out in a valuable seven-furlong conditions race at Newmarket.

Tate said: "Urban Fox is good. She has done well over the winter and our three-year-olds have made a good start to the year. 

"Urban Fox had a small foot problem about a month ago which means it is only 50-50 whether she makes it to a trial next week. We will know more after we work her at the weekend but, at the moment, she is heading towards the QIPCO 1000 Guineas (G1, 1m, Newmarket, May 7).

"Having stayed a mile well in good company as a two-year-old, it made sense to give her an entry in the Investec Oaks. I think she will definitely stay 10 furlongs.

"She was quite busy last year because she took her racing so well, although she never travelled too far from home. I think the furthest she went was probably Goodwood.

"She was a light, narrow-looking filly whereas now she looks like a big, strong three-year-old."

Another Newmarket-based trainer, John Gosden, enjoyed Investec Oaks success in 2014 with Taghrooda and he has another strong hand this year with six entries. 

The pick of the Gosden fillies at this stage looks to be unbeaten Dubawi grey Coronet, successful in the 10-furlong Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in 2016, while Shutter SpeedAstronomy's ChoiceEnable and Precious Ramotswe were all maiden scorers on their only starts last year. 

Eight Investec Oaks entries are in the ownership of Godolphin, headed by Wuheida (Charlie Appleby). The Dubawi filly, unbeaten in two starts last year, triumphed from Promise To Be True in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac over a mile at Chantilly in October. 

Other leading contenders for the Maktoum family's operation include Really Special (Saeed bin Suroor), a Newmarket Listed scorer in 2016 who landed the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial on dirt at Meydan in January, and Sobetsu (Charlie Appleby), who was the 10-length winner of Newmarket maiden in the autumn but finished a disappointing fifth in the Dubai Fillies' Mile. 

Ralph Beckett has an excellent record in the Investec Oaks with two winners, Look Here in 2008 and Talent in 2013. Besides Rich Legacy,the Hampshire trainer has entered maiden winners Camerone,Crimson Rock and Isabel De Urbina

There is a scratchings deadline for the Investec Oaks at noon on Thursday, May 18 with the six-day confirmation stage and £30,000 supplementary entry stage following on Saturday, May 27.

The three G1 contests at the Investec Derby Festival - the Investec Derby, Investec Oaks and Investec Coronation Cup - all form part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. 

The Investec Coronation Cup, with prize money of £400,000, has been switched this year to the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, Ladies' Day, Friday, June 2.

The Investec Derby, the greatest Flat race in the world, has the highest prize money of any British contest, being worth £1,500,000, and the premier Classic is staged on Saturday, June 3, Derby Day.

Sports Betting - Betway

Investec Oaks
£500,000 added, 3yo only, 1m 4f 10y, Class 1
54 entries
Scratchings deadline May 18, six-day confirmations & £30,000 supplementary stage May 27, final declarations 10am May 31.

Horse
Owner
Trainer
AFTERNOON DELIGHT (IRE)
Tabor/Smith/Sue Magnier/Flaxman Stables
Joseph O'Brien IRE
ALJEZEERA
Al Shaqab Racing
Luca Cumani  
ALLURINGLY (USA)
Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, M Tabor
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
ANEEN (IRE)
Hamdan Al Maktoum
Kevin Prendergast IRE
ANGEL ISLAND (IRE)
Rebels With A Cause Syndicate
Fozzy Stack IRE
ASKING (IRE)
Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith/AnneMarie O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
ASTRONOMY'S CHOICE
Robin Geffen
John Gosden  
BEAN FEASA
Godolphin
Jim Bolger IRE
BENGALA (FR)
R S Evans
John Oxx IRE
BUTTERFLIES (IRE)
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
CAMERONE (IRE)
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Ralph Beckett  
COCONUT CREME
Normandie Stud Ltd
William Haggas  
CORONET
Denford Stud
John Gosden  
CRIMSON ROCK (USA)
H H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Ralph Beckett  
DADDYS LIL DARLING (USA)
Normandy Farm (Nancy Polk)
Kenneth McPeek USA
DOWAYLA (IRE)
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor  
EASY VICTORY
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor  
ENABLE
Khalid Abdullah
John Gosden  
FALCON CLIFFS (IRE)
A A Byrne & Mark Wellbelove
Joe Tuite  
FASHION THEORY
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby  
FLEABISCUIT (IRE)
Lucayan Stud Ltd
Hugo Palmer  
GRACIOUS DIANA
Al Mirqab Racing
John Gosden  
HORSEPLAY
Cliveden Stud
Andrew Balding  
HYDRANGEA (IRE)
Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
INTRICATELY (IRE)
Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez
Joseph O'Brien IRE
ISABEL DE URBINA (IRE)
Merriebelle Irish Farm Limited
Ralph Beckett  
KAZIMIERA
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby  
KEY TO MY HEART (IRE)
Sue Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith/M Jooste
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
LONGING (IRE)
Sue Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith/M Jooste
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
MELESINA (IRE)
Nick Bradley Racing (Lastroseofsummer)
Richard Fahey  
NATAVIA
Khalid Abdullah
Roger Charlton  
NESHMEYA
Hamdan Al Maktoum
Charles Hills  
POCKETFULLOFDREAMS (FR)
M Tabor/Sue Magnier/D Smith/M Jooste
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
PRECIOUS RAMOTSWE
Anthony Oppenheimer
John Gosden  
PROMISE TO BE TRUE (IRE)
Sue Magnier, M Tabor & D Smith
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
PROSPER
China Horse Club International Limited
Roger Varian  
RAIN GODDESS (IRE)
Sue Magnier,M Tabor & D Smith
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
REALLY SPECIAL
Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor  
RHODODENDRON (IRE)
Sue Magnier, M Tabor & D Smith
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
RICH LEGACY (IRE)
Qatar Racing Limited
Ralph Beckett  
SANSIBAR JEWEL (USA)
Moyglare Stud Farms Ltd
Dermot Weld IRE
SERENADA
Nurlan Bizakov
Roger Varian  
SHUTTER SPEED
Khalid Abdullah
John Gosden  
SOBETSU
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby  
TALAAYEB
Hamdan Al Maktoum
Owen Burrows  
TANSHOLPAN
Nurlan Bizakov
Roger Varian  
THAFEERA (USA)
Hamdan Al Maktoum
Charles Hills  
THE SKY IS BLAZING (IRE)
Markus Jooste
William Haggas  
TOCCO D'AMORE (IRE)
Moyglare Stud Farms Ltd
Dermot Weld IRE
URBAN FOX
Saeed Manana
James Tate  
VINTAGE FOLLY
R W Hill-Smith
Hugo Palmer  
WILD IRISH ROSE (IRE)
Sue Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith/AnneMarie O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
WINTER (IRE)
Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith
Aidan O'Brien IRE 
WUHEIDA
Godolphin
Charlie Appleby