The Oaks: Ones to watch in latest British Classic

Adam Kirby riding Saffron Beach to win The Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies' Stakes

Adam Kirby riding Saffron Beach to win The Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies' Stakes during day three of The Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket Racecourse - Credit: PA

The third British Classic of the season is the £395,000 G1 Cazoo Oaks staged at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Friday.

The contest, run over 12 furlongs, is staged at 4.30pm and will be shown live on ITV Racing, with the 5/2 market leader being Santa Barbara for Aidan O’Brien.

A smart winner on debut at the Curragh towards the back-end of last term, the daughter of Camelot ran with plenty of credit with a fourth-placed finish in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.

That was only her second career start and she looks sure to come on plenty for that assignment. Her pedigree suggests that she should get this trip and she is a leading player. 

Santa Barbara is looking to give the master of Ballydoyle his ninth win in the race and her stable companion Snowfall (4/1) looks perhaps the most notable challenger. She was awesome in the Musidora Stakes at York, her first run this year and given her stamina is assured, she has to enter calculations.

O’Brien’s quintet of runners are completed by Divinely (10/1) who was fourth in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield, Willow (50/1) and La Joconde (50/1).

The main British challenge is headed by Newmarket trainer Roger Varian. He relies on three runners, headed by 5/1 chance Teona who finished a good third in the Musidora at York.

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She lacks experience, but is a key player. Her stable companion Zeyaadah (6/1) is also interesting having finished second in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester behind Dubai Fountain (12/1). She did not get the best of runs on that occasion and cannot be overlooked. Varian’s trio are completed by Save A Forest (50/1) who looks a pace angle.

Others in the race include Saffron Beach (10/1) who finished a fine second in the 1000 Guineas and had an experience at Epsom with a racecourse gallop last month. Her stamina is a slight question mark, but she is a player.

A number of the field contested the Lingfield Oaks Trial which was won by Sherbert Lemon (33/1) and who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle in the Classic. That includes Ocean Road (20/1) who was a staying-on third and remains unexposed and Technique (50/1) who was well-beaten in seventh.

The field is completed by Mystery Angel who was supplemented for the race earlier this week.

Big-race verdict

Santa Barbara could well be the class act. She shaped with plenty of encouragement when fourth on just her second start in the 1000 Guineas and given the regard in which she is held, Santa Barbara is fancied to get the better of stablemate Snowfall, with Saffron Beach a possible each-way alternative.

1 Santa Barbara 5/2 Snowfall 4/1 3 Saffron Beach 10/1.

Selections courtesy of