Ryan Moore: Exclusive views on my Epsom Oaks day rides
Ryan Moore has four rides on Epsom Oaks day, including Magic Wand in the big race at 16:30. Here the Betfair Ambassador discusses the form and chances of each...
"Outside of Wild Illusion, it is wide open, and I don't think the Godolphin filly is unbeatable."
Soft ground an unknown for Hannon youngster
14:00 - It's The Only Way
I rode the winner in the race that he finished fourth in at Newbury last time. It felt like a decent enough race, and he went into that on the back of a couple of victories. We don't know about his ability to handle this softer ground - a comment that applies to a few of these bar the likes of Marie's Diamond, who finished just ahead of him at Newbury, and Cotubanama - but we do know that Richard has an excellent record in this race in recent years. It's just a matter of whether he goes in the ground, as well as if he is good enough. Your guess is as good as mine.
Idaho very impressive last time but Cracksman the one to beat
15:10 - Idaho
You don't need me to tell you that Cracksman will probably win if he runs up to the form of his Ascot win last autumn, or his Ganay victory on his return. I rode Rhododendron to finish fourth in the French race and he looked a serious horse once again there. But everyone has an off-day and Sheema Classic winner Hawkbill and Idaho are Group 1 horses.
Idaho would probably prefer better ground but he finished second to Harzand in a heavy-ground Derrinstown, he finished third in a Derby here, and I thought he was very impressive in the Ormonde last time. Let's see how we get on.
The German horse probably shouldn't be dismissed out of hand either; it looks like he will get his preferred conditions and the ground could be a leveller here, I suppose, for all Cracksman's best form to date has come on soft at Ascot.
Conditions to suit but possibly in handicapper's grip
15:45 - Dark Red
Ajman King is probably the one we all have to beat but Dark Red has enough going for him if you wanted an each-way bet, I guess. He has won over course and distance on soft ground and is a horse I know well. It looks like he didn't run up to his best on the all-weather last time but he earlier ran well for me when second at Chester, and trip and ground are in his favour. It's just a matter of whether the handicapper has him at the moment. I suspect he has, to be honest, and actually I am not entirely sure this course suits him, thinking about it.
Don't dismiss anything in wide open Oaks
16:30 - Magic Wand
I am sure a lot of people see this as not the most exciting of Oaks, and there are a fair few notable absentees, but Classics are never easy to win. It may be a cliché, but it's true.
What we know for sure is that Wild Illusion sets the form standard going into the race on her Boussac win and 1,000 Guineas fourth, she is bred to be suited by this trip, and the recent rain has been in her favour. She brings proven Group 1 form to the table and is the one we all have to beat.
What will win if she doesn't is a different matter altogether, though. I genuinely think any of the field can win. Certainly, Aidan's five all deserve to be there. I ride Magic Wand, who was obviously very impressive when beating Forever Together decisively in the Cheshire Oaks but you couldn't be confident of her confirming the form with the runner-up, given that she was having her first run of the season - Magic Wand had the benefit of an outing - and met a lot of trouble in running at Chester.
But will that pair enjoy this softer ground? That is no problem for Bye Bye Baby, and she is bred to for this 1m4f trip after winning the Blue Wind from the front last time against smart fillies.
I Can Fly has a fairly good level of ability and ran a good race first time out, but she has to prove she can stay and bounce back from her 1,000 Guineas run.
I rode Flattering to finish third to Perfect Clarity in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, and I think that form needs improving on a fair bit here. Of course, that is a distinct possibility when you are dealing with lightly-raced fillies and Flattering will like the softer ground here. I have seen worse outsiders in a Classic than her.
Similar comments apply to the Musidora form, in which Give And Take won, and Ejtyah finished third on her reappearance. In isolation, I don't think it was the strongest of races to be honest, but it's all about the progress these fillies have made since their last runs. Outside of Wild Illusion, it is wide open, and I don't think the Godolphin filly is unbeatable.