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Epsom Oaks Position Map Preview: Tactics Crucial For Wand

By the time the Oaks is run at 4.30pm on Friday afternoon, the going description at Epsom will almost certainly have ‘soft’ in it, as at the time of writing the current ground is soft, and there is a threat of further showers on Thursday afternoon.

Epsom Oaks Position Map Preview: Tactics Crucial For Wand

By the time the Oaks is run at 4.30pm on Friday afternoon, the going description at Epsom will almost certainly have ‘soft’ in it, as at the time of writing the current ground is soft, and there is a threat of further showers on Thursday afternoon.

Magic Wand
Magic Wand Picture:Singapore Turf Club

With that in mind, the pace of the race could prove crucial, as it can sometimes be hard to make up ground in more testing conditions, especially for a set of relatively inexperienced horses. The pace map below shows that Bye Bye Baby Horseform, Magic Wand Horseform and Wild Illusion Horseform have all shown a tendency to race prominently, and it may not be a coincidence that those three currently sit towards the top of the betting.

 

Oaks Pace Map Timeform 2018


 

There was plenty to like about Bye Bye Baby’s win in the Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh last time, going with zest on the front end and keeping on well to win by two lengths. That was a much-improved display, on heavy ground, too, and she seems sure to make a bold bid from the front in conditions that will suit; she also seems sure to appreciate the step up to a mile and a half.

Out of Aidan O’Brien’s five runners – which includes Bye Bye Baby – Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Magic Wand, who took a big step forward when making all to win the Cheshire Oaks at Chester last time by three and a half lengths from her stablemate Forever Together. Admittedly, Magic Wand received the perfect ride from Moore, always travelling well and kicking clear three furlongs out, but she idled in the closing stages and left the impression she would improve plenty for the experience. Closely related to the Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, she is very much bred for this test, and though easier ground is a slight question mark – she ran creditably in heavy ground on her reappearance – she should get a perfect toe into the race and a big run is expected.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Wild Illusion won the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly on good to soft going last season, and connections have stated that she will be suited by cut in the ground. The only Group 1 winner in the field, she rightly sets the standard on form, and looking at her pedigree – out of a winner at up to two miles – this significant step up in trip should also play to her strengths. She has been ridden close to the pace in all but one of her races so far, and she is another who will likely be well positioned to pounce in the straight.

Perfect Clarity had Flattering two and a half lengths back in third when winning the Oaks Trial at Lingfield last time, and created a good impression on just her second career start. The one worry here is if she gets too far behind, and her lack of experience could also play against her chances. Give And Take is another who won’t be inconvenienced by soft ground, and deserves to take her chance having won the Musidora at York last time. That being said, it wasn’t a great renewal of the Group 2 contest, and she could find a few too strong in this line-up.

Conclusion

A strong tempo is predicted, with five Ballydoyle runners likely to ensure the race is run to best suit them, and Bye Bye Baby is expected to take the field along under Wayne Lordan. She has sound form claims in her own right, but, having idled last time, Magic Wand is expected to be ridden with a little more restraint, and this well-bred filly is fancied to show marked improvement on just her fourth start, particularly now stepping up to a mile and a half. While the k(K) and r(R) symbols – denoting how a horse travelled and responded - have been synonymous with Oaks winners, as you might expect, the race has often been won by horses coming from a little off the pace, with three of the last five winners having a 4 or 5 as their EPF position (other two had a 2).

Recommended bet:

Back Magic Wand to win the 2018 Epsom Oaks at 9/2



Timeform




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