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Epsom Oaks: Runners and Riders

It's the showpiece meeting of the season at Epsom this weekend and a double helping of Classic action begins with The Oaks on Friday afternoon.

After final declarations it is Savethelastdance that heads a field of 11 for the The Oaks (4.30) as she bids to give Aidan O'Brien his fourth straight victory in the Epsom Fillies' Classic.

The Oaks can be viewed on the bet365 Sports Live Streaming Service, and here's our look ahead to the first of the Epsom Classics.

WhatThe Oaks
WhereEpsom Racecourse, Surrey
When4.30, Friday 2nd June
How to watchbet36 Sports Live Streaming, ITV, Racing TV
OddsSavethelastdance 11/10, Soul Sister 9/4, Running Lion 6/1, Eternal Hope 10/1, Heartache Tonight 20/1, Be Happy 33/1

The leading contenders

Savethelastdance @ 11/10

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore

Aidan O'Brien is fast-closing in on the record 13 Oaks wins after taking out the last three renewals to move into double figures.

Tuesday and Ryan Moore held on gamely last season to deny favourite Emily Upjohn for Frankie Dettori, adding to the wins of Love and Snowfall.

Savethelastdance, a daughter of Galileo, has been favourite for the fillies' showpiece ever since bludgeoning the opposition in the Cheshire Oaks in May.

She won at Chester by a staggering 22 lengths and, with the prospect of further improvement over the slightly longer trip, she's the one they all must fear.

Soul Sister @ 9/4

Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Jockey: Frankie Dettori

With his victory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Chaldean, Frankie Dettori signalled his intention to make this final year in the saddle a memorable one.

Few would dispel his chances of adding further Classic success at Epsom this weekend.

Frankel filly Soul Sister is clear second favourite after her impressive four-length win in the Musidora Stakes at York under Dettori.

On the Knavesmire, she readily dismissed fillies such as Novakai and Infinite Cosmos with a powerful move from two furlongs out after having been held up.

That was her first run beyond a mile and, like the favourite, she has plenty scope for more at this increased trip.

Running Lion @ 6/1

Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Jockey: Oisin Murphy

A second string to the bow of Team Gosden comes in the form of Roaring Lion.

She won the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket (1m2f, soft) in early May and, like the aforementioned pair, did so with plenty in reserve under Oisin Murphy.

The former champion jockey has won both starts since getting the leg up on this filly and, given his relationship with her sire, Roaring Lion, the pilot would dearly love to grab some Classic success on her back now.

With five starts (four wins) she has more racecourse experience than her two market rivals and, like them, is deemed very likely to improve further on this first attempt beyond a mile-and-a-quarter.

Eternal Hope @ 10/1

Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: William Buick

Team Godolphin haven't sampled Oaks success since Kazzia won for Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor 21 years ago.

It was Charlie Appleby and William Buick that ended their Derby famine with Masar in 2018 and they'll be looking to provide Oaks glory now with Eternal Hope.

Winner of last month's Lingfield Oaks Trial on the Polytrack, the daughter of Teofilo was then supplemented to run in this race.

She was comfortable at the line in repelling O'Brien's Be Happy at Lingfield but, with increased firepower from that source as well as Clarehaven, this is going to require further improvement under the champion jockey.

Heartache Tonight @ 20/1

Trainer: David Menuisier
Jockey: Cristian Demuro

Trainer David Menuisier has crafted a reputation as one to note and he saddles Heartache Tonight after she finished a close-up fourth in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp in May behind Jannah Rose and Elusive Princess.

That effort in the French Oaks trial was a step up on her previous Group 3 third at Saint-Cloud in April and, having won her maiden last season on testing ground, it also proved she can handle a faster surface.

Italian jockey Cristian Demuro – winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sottsass in 2020 – will bid for a maiden Group 1 winner in Britain.

The outsiders

That leaves a further six fillies in the mix for Oaks success and they include the aforementioned Be Happy (33/1) as well as Red Riding Hood (33/1) for Aidan O'Brien.

Seamy Heffernan rides the former, while Wayne Lordan gets the leg up on the daughter of Justify.

Jack Channon's 1000 Guineas fourth Caernarfon (33/1) steps up in trip from a mile for her first start since Newmarket, while Richard Hannon's Newbury maiden second Maman Joon (50/1) is the least experienced in the field with just that one start.

Sea Of Roses (40/1) for Andrew Balding and Karl Burke's Bright Diamond (66/1) complete the field that is set to contest the Epsom Oaks on Friday afternoon in pursuit of the £310,000-plus bounty.

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