Friday Epsom Tips: Tree could be a Peach of a bet in the Oaks

Epsom racecourse
TC has five bets at Epsom (above) on Friday

Tony Calvin makes the case for five bets at Epsom on Oaks day, including two long odds outsiders in the big race of the afternoon...

"This race is famed for throwing up big shocks and three 20/1 pokes have scored since 2011, allied to Qualify’s 50/1 success in 2015, so I am going to chuck two darts at the outsiders."

We may as well attack the Oaks card in chronological order, especially as I was seriously considering a tickle in the juvenile opener for once.

In fact, a rare 2yo bet was indeed in the offing in the shape of a small-stakes investment on Misty Grey at 5.04/1 or bigger in the Woodcote at 14:00.

But then the price crashed into 3/1 and shorter on the exchange during the day, so I have to now decline.

Misty Grey the likely winner but a no bet race for me

I don't normally like getting involved in contests like this as so much is unknown, but surely the selection was a tad overpriced on the available evidence.

He looked a bang-average colt over 5f at Lingfield on his debut, which must have come as something of a disappointment to connections given he is by Dark Angel out of the Irish Group 1 Pretty Polly winner Chinese White (a 5/1 chance when in midfield in the 2008 Oaks) and cost 72,000gns as a yearling.

But the penny seemed to drop as soon as he got on the rail at Ripon last time and he showed some newcomers (the second went off at 3/1 so presumably had showed something at home) a clean pair of heels throughout to score by 7 lengths over 6f in a fair time.

Well, a fair overall time compared to what the other winners in here have posted so far.

Of course, the four once-raced scorers are equally promising and unexposed - it is no surprise to see Pinatubo, who beat a subsequent winner in clear-cut fashion on his debut at Wolverhampton, head the betting - but Misty Grey looked the best bet to me before his odds ran away for me.

Trainer Mark Johnston has won this race three times in recent years - granted, Oh Purple Reign's trainer has, too - but I have to sit this one out now.

Masham Star stands out in competitive 14:35

I am going to have a pretty busy day on the betting/tipping front, and a fair few caught my eye in the Investec Mile at 14:35.

Hors De Combat and Rufus King have slipped to very winnable marks, and I tipped Greenside at Sandown last Thursday before he was pulled out on the morning of the race (due to the quick ground, which surprised me as he has won on fast), and so I went all the way around the houses here, including course scorer Arigato, before finally deciding.

As Al Pacino may have famously said if asked about busy Johnston handicappers, say hello to my little friend (again) - Masham Star at 11.010/1 better.


Along with recent Sandown third History Writer, Masham Star is due to go up 1lb in future handicaps, as well as being very well-treated on his past exploits.

Consistency is not usually his bag but a reproduction of any three of his last four starts - he finished last of six in the other - would see him very competitive, and he ran a cracker from the outside stall to finish second to an improver at Chester on Saturday.

He takes his racing well (luckily so, as he works for his keep, all right), so the quick turnaround is not a concern and I fancy him to run a lot better than he did when an admittedly fair fourth in this race last season.

He sweated up very badly that day - he really was awash with sweat - and I am hoping he can chill out beforehand, and get across from his wide draw in 14 and onto the front end, as there doesn't look to be too much pace in here (Arigato aside, perhaps).

He has finished runner-up on the two occasions Silvestre De Sousa has ridden him (including on Saturday), and hopefully the champion jockey can call the tune on the lead here.

Jazeel could upset fearsome rivals in the 15:45

I don't have any issue with the betting in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at 15:10and the nitty gritty of the 1m2f handicap at 15:45 interests me far more.

Old triple nipple himself, Mr Scaramanga, is a live 16/1+ chance after a good second over this trip at Windsor last time - he may be a busy handicapper but this is just his third start over 1m2f - and he races off the same mark here.

And, as there is such little pace in this race as well, David Egan could well get the run of the race from stall five if they decide to go forward on him again.

We may well come back to him in a moment but Jazeel has to be my main bet at 13/2 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook.

I tipped him to make a winning debut for Jedd O'Keeffe and the Quantum owners at Newmarket last time, and he failed by only a neck to get to Elector.

You have to fear both the winner (who did win a touch snugly, admittedly) and Mountain Angel here, but the handicapper has probably made a mistake in assessing that Newmarket handicap so kindly.

The winner went up just 2lb for the win, and the selection 1lb, and surely that underestimates the strength of that form.

It was a bunch finish and the third, Vintager, was admittedly a little disappointing in Listed company at Goodwood at the weekend.

But the fourth has come out and been beaten just half-a-length at Chelmsford, and the fifth was sent off at 6/4 and won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar earlier in the week.

And a more detailed look at Jazeel's run in second there on his reappearance suggested we can expect last year's Silver Cambridgeshire winner to come on appreciably for the run.

First off, he was a fair old drifter - he went off at a Betfair SP of 18.75 (industry SP of 12/1) , having been single-figures in places in the morning - and the manner in which he stuck on for Antonio Fresu, perhaps on the disadvantageous far side, after he had to get after him, was very encouraging.

This new trainer-owner combo have been doing well after splashing the cash in the past year or so - they paid 130,000gns for Jazeel out of Mick Channon's yard - and their two other winners this season came second-time-out, too.

Hopefully, they left plenty to work on at Newmarket, and this is a horse who should relish the step back up to 1m2f, a trip he has already won over.

I was tempted to stick up Mr Scaramanga as well, but he could be facing three or four well-treated rivals here, so it will be tough for him.

Remember - the Oaks is famous for shock winners

Aidan O'Brien 956.jpg

On to the biggie, and there was a little shake-up in the Oaks betting on Wednesday morning when Frankie Dettori unexpectedly (though Betfair's ante-post market was giving some clues before the market was suspended at 10am) was put on Lingfield scorer Anapurna about the stable's other wide-margin trial winner Mehdaayih (it transpired the latter's owner simply wanted to stay loyal to Rab Havlin).

I think the Cheshire Oaks winner Mehdaayih should be favourite here - surely, the Camelot filly Pink Dogwood is the worst value in the race at 11/4 and shorter - and I couldn't put anyone off her now she has drifted a point or so and now around 10/3 on the exchange. I may well be having a small saver on her, personally.

But this race is famed for throwing up big shocks and three 20/1 pokes have scored since 2011, allied to Qualify's 50/1 success in 2015, so I am going to chuck two darts at the outsiders.

Oaks bet no. one - Peach Tree

I like Lavender's Blue and seriously considered total three-figure rag Blue Gardenia, but Aidan O'Brien, responsible for four of the last seven winners, is the go-to man for me (and it isn't with the Zoffany filly Fleeting who I so shrewdly tipped for the 1,000 Guineas, only to see her trail in last).

First up is Peach Tree at 46.045/1 or bigger.

The key to the Oaks - or one of them at least - is siding with an O'Brien-trained daughter of Galileo, and his offspring (the horse's, though his son Donnacha obliged last year, too) won this race with Forever Together last year, Minding in 2016 and Was in 2012 (with Rhododendron chasing home Enable in 2017).

Granted, Qualify was a Fastnet Rock, though the dam was by Galileo.

Peach Tree can't quite match the form of some of these (though she isn't far off on official ratings) but she was a Listed-race-winning and Group 3-placed juvenile at two, and she shaped pretty well when fourth to Tarnawa over 1m2f in the Blue Wind at Naas on her return, despite not getting a lot of racing room on the rail.

She actually beat Tarnawa pretty easily in a good time in that Listed race over a mile last season, so has pace, and this full Galileo sister to 1m4f winner Flattering (although there is plenty of speed in her pedigree) can hopefully step up as she races over this trip for the first time.

She has won with ease in the ground and on fast ground, so the weather (and watering) can do as it pleases, and Donnacha, unbeaten on the filly having been on board at Navan, could be in for another good spin round, re-united with the tactically-versatile filly.

Was won this race in 2012 after finishing third in the Blue Wind on her seasonal debut and my other tip in the race is the selection's stablemate who occupied the same position in that race this year, just a short-head in front of Peach Tree.

Oaks bet no. two - Delphinia

Delphinia doesn't have as solid as credentials, and she clearly goes well with dig, but she improved markedly in that third at Naas on good ground and this Galileo full sister to Irish Derby fourth Delano Roosevelt should be more effective over 1m4f.

Hopefully, it's all about that G-spot once again at Epsom on Friday, so back her at 60.059/1 or bigger.

I have massively over-written again, so I better stick to the ITV races and park it there.

Best of luck.


April 14 2017 to May 30 2019 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP)

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