Epsom Oaks 2017: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

The Oaks is the feature race from Epsom on Friday
The Oaks is the feature race from Epsom on Friday

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to the Epsom Oaks on Friday.

"RHODODENDRON left the distinct impression that she would relish this stiffer test when chasing home Winter in the 1000 Guineas..."

Friday 2nd June, 16:30

1. Alluringly (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Showed ability in both starts as a two-year-old, but proved a different proposition when winning at Tipperary on return. Improved again when one and three quarter lengths second to Enable in Cheshire Oaks last time and remains with potential, though difficult to see her reversing that form.

2. Coronet (John Gosden/Andrea Atzeni)
Won both starts as a two-year-old, including minor event at Newmarket (by a neck from Cunco) in October, and shaped encouragingly when four and three-quarter lengths third to Sobetsu on return in Prix Saint Alary at Deauville. Left poorly placed given how that race developed and remains capable of better, with step up in trip expected to suit.

3. Daddys Lil Darling (Kenneth McPeek/Oliver Peslier)
Won two of her six starts as a two-year-old, including Pocahontas Stakes (dirt) at Churchill Downs in September, and proved better than ever when one and a quarter lengths second in Kentucky Oaks (dirt) at the same venue last time. Interesting raider from the US, but well below form on only turf start and has stamina to prove.

4. Enable (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
Looked good prospect when making a winning racecourse debut on all-weather at Newcastle in November and left that form well behind when two and a half lengths third to Shutter Speed on return in minor event at Newbury in April. Value for extra when landing Cheshire Oaks (eased near finish) last time and looks a serious contender, with the prospect of more to come stepping up further in trip.

5. Horseplay (Andrew Balding/Oisin Murphy)
Showed ability when fourth on debut at Ascot in July and confirmed promise of that effort with impressive victory in Nottingham maiden (by 13 lengths from a subsequent winner) in October. Took step up in class in her stride when successful on return in Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket (by three quarters of a length from Isabel de Urbina) and remains open to more improvement up in trip, so cannot be discounted.

6. Isabel de Urbina (Ralph Beckett/Fran Berry)
Won on debut at Ffos Las in September and showed much improved form when second to Horseplay on return in May. Represents yard that won this race in 2008 and 2013, but not certain to stay this far on pedigree and needs to take a significant step forward to figure here.

7. Natavia (Roger Charlton/Pat Smullen)
Shaped well when a half-length second to Dancing Breeze on debut at Newmarket in April and most impressive when going one better in listed race at Newbury (by three and three-quarter lengths from Flood Warning) last time. This a tough ask for one so inexperienced, but she could have more to offer, with the longer trip expected to suit, and is an exciting prospect.

8. Pocketfullofdreams (Aidan O'Brien/Donnacha O'Brien)
Ran as well as ever when a length and a half second to Hartford Dancer in Oaks Trial at Lingfield last time, but remains a maiden after five starts and difficult to recommend in this exalted company.

9. Rhododendron (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Won three of her five starts as a two-year-old, including Fillies' Mile at Newmarket (by two and a quarter lengths from Hydrangea) in October. Endured trouble in-running when two lengths second to Winter on return in 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, but stayed on strongly once in the clear and shaped as if this longer trip would suit. Sets the standard on form and looks the one to beat.

10. Sobetsu (Charlie Appleby/William Buick)
Improved on debut form when opening her account at Newmarket (by 10 lengths from a subsequent winner) in September and can be forgiven a blip when down the field in Filies' Mile at the same track in October. Bounced back with dominant victory on return in Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville (by three lengths from Vue Fantastique) in May and a serious challenger if lining up here, though reportedly has a preference for soft ground.

Timeform Epsom Oaks 1-2-3
1. Rhododendron
2. Natavia
3. Enable

Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
RHODODENDRON left the distinct impression that she would relish this stiffer test when chasing home Winter in the 1000 Guineas, a notion also backed up by her pedigree. She is taken to provide Aidan O'Brien with a seventh victory in this race. John Gosden's duo Enable and Coronet both merit respect along with Sobetsu, but impressive Newbury winner Natavia is the most appealing each-way candidate.

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