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Richard Hoiles Betway blog: Epsom Oaks Friday 02 06 23

In his first weekly column for the Betway Insider, the racing broadcaster analyses the Oaks and highlights three horses to keep an eye out for on Friday.

01 Jun | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles Betway blog: Epsom Oaks Friday 02 06 23

Welcome to my first Betway blog and what a weekend to start with the Oaks and Derby at Epsom holding centre stage.

Frankie the one to beat in the Oaks

The Oaks (16:30, Epsom) has come alive during the trial season with three stand-out performances: Running Lion’s win in the Pretty Polly, Savethelastdance’s 22-length romp at Chester and finally Soul Sister’s success in the Musidora.

Of the three, Soul Sister’s looks the most impressive. She beat a good, solid benchmark horse in Novakai at York in dominant fashion and, crucially, it was achieved on ground similar to the conditions that she will face at Epsom.

She ran poorly first time out, but that was at a time when Gosden horses weren’t firing. The stable’s record in April was 10/55 with an actual:expected winning ratio of 0.8 coming in 20 per cent lower than expected based on SPs, as opposed to May when 21/77 won with a ratio of 1.3.

Savethelastdance looked a little outpaced early on at Chester and the race may have fallen apart given both horses from that contest to have run since have been well beaten. It was also run on ground that is the polar opposite to Epsom.

She was undoubtedly strong at the finish but was sent off at 20-1 for her maiden win first time out and just looks too short a price to get excited about.

Running Lion displayed a really good attitude at Newmarket but there are major questions about her ability to see out the trip and, again, there is some concern about the depth of the Pretty Polly.

Squeezing value out of a Frankie Dettori Classic mount in his final season may not be easy, but SOUL SISTER  looks the one to beat.

Elsewhere at Epsom


The best betting opportunities look to be towards the end of the card courtesy of Streets of Gold (17:10, Epsom) and Marley Park (17:45, Epsom).

STREETS OF GOLD  racked up a five-race unbeaten sequence at two which encouraged connections to have a tilt at a Guineas trial where he came up short. This is a far more realistic opportunity for a combination in Eve Johnson Houghton and Charlie Bishop who have an excellent record at the track (5/23 lifetime).

MARLAY PARK  is just an out-and-out course specialist – with form figures at the track reading 221321521 – and looks to have been set up for this. A few runs away from his beloved Epsom has seen his mark fall back to just 1lb higher than his last course win and there was plenty of promise in his Goodwood run where he was staying on nicely late.

Jockeys for courses

‘Horses for courses’ is a well-known racing saying, but I have long wondered whether jockeys get an extra spring in their step heading to tracks where they have done well in the past. Each week I will include a list of jockeys doing just that and will monitor whether it works out or not.

  • Epsom: Charlie Bishop
  • Carlisle: Franny Norton
  • Catterick: Zak Wheatley
  • Doncaster: Andrea Atzeni

Far from the madding crowd

Often the best value lies away from the major races and meetings so most weeks I will include a selection from the smaller tracks.

This week’s is a speculative one in EYE KNEE  (18:55, Catterick). Once again course form plays a major role in making a case for him (1214438) with the last run excused as he stayed over on a slower part of the track.

His recent form figures look unpromising after an unsuccessful foray over hurdles, but Seb Spencer is a capable trainer and he is worth chancing off a mark well below that of his last win (58 v 65).


SOUL SISTER (16:30, Epsom) 

STREETS OF GOLD (17:10, Epsom) 

MARLAY PARK (17:45, Epsom) 

EYE KNEE (18:55, Catterick) 

Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.