Horse Racing Tips: Runner-by-runner Guide toToday’s Yorkshire Oaks
The Darley Yorkshire Oaks, worth £400,000 in guaranteed prize money, is the second of three Group 1 races run at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Dual Classic winner Snowfall has looked nigh on unbeatable since stepped up to middle-distances this season but, at long odds-on, is Aidan O’Brien’s filly worth opposing?
Snowfall is justifiably odds-on
Snowfall won just once from seven starts as a juvenile, but belied odds of 14/1 to win the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, over 1 mile 2½ furlongs, here on her reappearance in May. She has since has made a seamless transition to the highest level, winning the Oaks by 16 lengths and the Irish Oaks by 8½ lengths in hugely impressive fashion. She sets a dizzying standard and, barring accidents, it will take an extraordinary performance to lower her colours.
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Wonderful Tonight needs rain
Wonderful Tonight has won both starts this season with plenty in hand, but has done all her winning on soft or heavy going, so looks an unlikely participant unless there is a drastic change in the weather on the Knavesmire in the next few days. If she does take part, she has to concede 9lb weight-for-age to Snowfall – who is officially rated 3lb higher in the first place – so may find a hat-trick beyond her.
Eshaada has done little wrong so far
Eshaada lost her unbeaten record when just edged out by the more experienced Loving Dream in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot but, provided she arrives fit and well after two months off, can reasonably be expected to reverse that form. Interestingly, both horses finished about as in front of the favourite, Noon Star, as Snowfall had done in the Musidora Stakes, but it may be dangerous to draw any direct comparisons because Snowfall has clearly improved by leaps and bounds in the meantime.
Albaflora looks up against it
Albaflora was soundly beaten on her only previous foray into Group 1 company, in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June, and it has been a similar story in Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, both Group 2 contests, since. She is well held by Wonderful Tonight on their running in both races and looks something of a forlorn hope back at this level.
No fairy tale for Ballydoyle makeweights
Aidan O’Brien also saddles two huge outsiders in the form of Divinely and La Joconde. The latter was good enough to win a Roscommon maiden in June, but undertook pacemaking duties for Snowfall at Epsom and the Curragh on either side of that effort. She can reasonably be expected to do so again and can probably be safely discounted. Obviously you write off any Ballydoyle runner at your peril, but a similar comment applies to Divinely, who has finished behind most of these at various points this season.
Snowfall has an outstanding chance which, unsurprisingly, has not gone unnoticed by the bookmakers. A field of seven limits each-way opportunities, too, but at the odds on offer a small each-way interest in the lightly-raced Eshaada might be the way to go. The daughter of Muhaarar remains open to significant improvement, which she’ll need to worry Snowfall, but second place would be good enough to turn a profit.
Selection: Eshaaad each-way (12/1 with Bet365)
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