Timeform’s guide to the 2021 Oaks at Epsom



Oaks
16:30 Epsom, Friday
Live on ITV

1. Divinely (Aidan O’Brien, Ireland/Seamie Heffernan)
Sturdy filly who is a sister to several winners, notably high-class Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Found. She was beaten on her first three starts in maiden company, but opened her account in the Group 3 Flame of Tara Stakes (1m) at the Curragh in August. She showed improved form when upped significantly in trip in the Oaks Trial (11.6f) at Lingfield last month, finishing a two-length fourth to Sherbet Lemon and leaving the impression she would be suited by a more truly-run race. Entitled to strip fitter now, but has plenty to find on known form.

2. Dubai Fountain (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton)
Won her first two starts in what was a busy juvenile campaign last year, her best effort coming when finishing one and a quarter lengths fourth to Pretty Gorgeous in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket (form which was boosted by Mother Earth’s win in the 1000 Guineas). Stood out on form and didn’t need to improve to make a winning reappearance when stepped up significantly in trip in the Cheshire Oaks (11.3f) last month. Will stay 1½m, but lacks the potential of some of these.

3. La Joconde (Aidan O’Brien, Ireland/William Buick)
Useful maiden who shaped better than the distance beaten suggests when eight lengths fourth to Dubai Fountain in the Cheshire Oaks last time, not seeing out the longer trip as well as expected after racing a shade keenly in the early stages. Remains with potential, but has a mountain to climb on form and will be an outsider if taking her chance.

4. Mystery Angel (George Boughey/Ben Curtis)
Strong, compact filly who gained her first listed success at the fifth attempt when making all in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket (1¼m) last month. That form doesn’t look too strong, though, and she seemingly didn’t have any excuses when four and a quarter lengths fourth to Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York last time. Has stamina to prove and lacks the scope of some of these.

5. Ocean Road (Hugo Palmer/Oisin Murphy)
Confirmed the promise of her debut run when getting off the mark in a 1m minor event at Lingfield in December. Upped significantly in trip and shaped with encouragement when one and three-quarter lengths third to Sherbet Lemon on her return in the listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield last time, just unable to sustain a promising forward move against race-fit rivals. Will go on improving, but this may come too early in her development.

6. Saffron Beach (Jane Chapple-Hyam/Adam Kirby)
Won a maiden and the Oh So Sharp Stakes (by half a length from Thank You Next) last season, both over 7f at Newmarket. Finished runner-up to Sacred in the Nell Gywn Stakes over the same C&D on her return and improved further when a length second to Mother Earth in the 1000 Guineas last time. Shapes as though she’ll stay beyond 1m, but her stamina for 1½m isn’t assured on pedigree. One of the leading form contenders, though.

7. Santa Barbara (Aidan O’Brien, Ireland/Ryan Moore)
Big, strong filly who created a deep impression when winning on debut at the Curragh (1m) last season. Was the subject of very positive reports heading into the 1000 Guineas, but she could only finish one and a quarter lengths fourth to stablemate Mother Earth. Her inexperience was evident, though, and she is likely to come on plenty for that experience, while this significant step up in trip is sure to bring about further progress. Remains with untapped potential and is an exciting prospect for top connections.

8. Save A Forest (Roger Varian/Callum Shepherd)
Has made good strides this year, winning a maiden at Wolverhampton (9.5f) before following up in a 1¼m handicap at Windsor in April. Saw out the longer trip well when a three-quarter length second in the listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield last time, but could be left behind by some more progressive types now.

9. Sherbet Lemon (Archie Watson/Hollie Doyle)
Landed the odds in good style when making a winning debut at Newcastle (1m) in February, but didn’t progress as expected when only fourth behind Noon Star at Wetherby next time. Well served by the step up in trip when winning the listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield (11.6f) last time, but that was a slowly-run race on soft ground. Conditions are likely to be different here, but she is open to further progress, and holds each-way claims.

10. Snowfall (Aidan O’Brien, Ireland/Frankie Dettori)
Highly tried but didn’t really make an impact in pattern company last season. Has clearly done well physically from two to three, however, and she showed much improved form when beating several of these in the Musidora Stakes at York last month. Very much had the run of the race, however, and it is unlikely she’ll get such a favourable set of circumstances here. Well-bred filly who will be well suited by the step up to 1½m, but she looks short enough in the betting for what she has achieved.

11. Technique (Martyn Meade/Sean Levey)
Not really fancied in the market but knew her job and made a winning debut at Wolverhampton (9.5f) in January, and she went very close to winning the Blue Riband Trial (1¼m) up against the boys at this course on her next start. Disappointed since on softer ground in the listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield, but will be suited by 1½m and is clearly effective on the track. It would be no surprise if she out-run her odds.

12. Teona (Roger Varian/David Egan)
Shaped well when runner-up to a promising sort on debut at Newcastle (1m) in October and beat a subsequent two-time winner by nine lengths in a 1¼m maiden at the same course on her next start. Came in for ante-post support for this prior to making her reappearance in the Musidora where she pulled too hard early and did well to finish third. Likely to be more tractable with that run and experience under her belt, so she is expected to fare much better now. Likely to stay 1½m.

13. Willow (Aidan O’Brien, Ireland/Wayne Lordan)
Given plenty of time to mature last season, and showed improved form to open her account in a 1m maiden at Leopardstown in October. Was well backed but disappointed on her return in a 1¼m listed event at Navan, and was only third in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas last time. Stable have better chances.

14. Zeyaadah (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley)
Progressed well last season, winning all three of her starts, notably a heavy-ground 1m listed event at Newmarket (by one and a quarter lengths from Mystery Angel). That form has worked out nicely and she shaped very well on her return when beaten a length in second by Dubai Fountain in the Cheshire Oaks last month. Was conceding 3 lb to that rival, and didn’t get the clearest of runs, either, having to wait for a gap when still travelling well entering the straight. Weighted to reverse that form now, and the step up to 1½m is sure to bring about more improvement. Plenty to like about her chances.