Tony’s Trends – Statistical Selections for Epsom – The Oaks Friday 3 June & The Derby Saturday 4 June 2022

The Oaks & Derby, 1Mile 4Furlongs, Epsom Friday June 3rd & Saturday June 4th 2022

A rather nice result for Trends followers last weekend, with Raasel winning the Achilles Stakes. He was available at 12/1 at the time the Trends went live, but was backed down to 9/1 on the day.

There were bookie offers with cash back as a free bet if your horse placed second, third or fourth. That type of offer is just one of the reasons I keep harping on about using to find those top bookie offers and Oddschecker to find the best prices before placing your bets. It’s the only way to maximise your chances of coming out ahead!

I mentioned when putting Raasel up, that I thought he won a tad too comfortably, before losing to another improver, Fine Wine, two runs ago. I also think he is a type that has still has more in the tank, so should be followed until he disappoints. Fine Wine is also declared this weekend, but is unlikely to be a decent price now he has franked the form.

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Epsom weekend

This weekend Epsom takes centre stage and we have the third and fourth Flat racing Classics of the season, namely the Epsom Oaks and the Epsom Derby. These races have a really long history, dating back to the 1770s and winners can become legends. Nijinsky, Mill Reef and the ultra-impressive Shergar are three winners who immediately come to mind, which shows my age!!!

The 3 mile, 4 furlong track at Epsom presents unique challenges, even for the most highly regarded three-year-olds. It’s a left-handed, U-shaped course, with steep undulations. The run-in has a pronounced camber, initially downhill, rising in the final furlong. So, it requires agility, speed and stamina to deal with the demands of these races.

Age and Weight

Both races are for three-year-olds, who all carry the same weight of 9-0, so two of our usual Trends criterion will not help in either race. As a point of interest, whilst the Oaks is for fillies only, the Derby can have runners of either sex, but the last filly to be entered was Cape Verdi in 1998.

The Epsom Oaks

The Oaks is a race for fillies only. Given the prize money on offer, the fields have not been large and since 2000, Aiden O’Brien has dominated with nine winners and John Gosden has achieved three in total. Between them, they have farmed the race, supplying ten of the last 16 winners, including the last eight.


No less than 27 of the previous 34 winners were sent off at 10/1 or less and since 1988 there have been 11 winning Favourites. Over the past 15 renewals, just three favourites have won and five winners returned at odds of 20/1 or more (although none greater than 50/1) so surprises are possible, but rare.

There are several key prep races supplying subsequent winners of the Oaks. These, in order of winners supplied, are the Musidora Stakes (seven), the 1000 Guineas (six), the Irish 1000 Guineas (four), the Oaks Trial at Lingfield (four), the Cheshire Oaks (three) and the Pretty Polly (also three).

All previous winners who were allotted an OR were rated at least 82.All previous winners achieved an RPR of at least 95, but not more than 122.All previous winners had raced between two and eight times.Since 2000, all but three winners placed in their final prep run. The three who did not place had run in either the UK or Irish 1000 Guineas.All previous winners had a prep run in the season, all winning within 37 days prior to the race.Since 2000, all but one winner had a maximum of two runs that season, the exception being Imagine in 2001 who won the Irish 1000 Guineas.

In short, the Trends indicate we are looking for a filly who has been competing at the highest level.

I will firstly discount those runners who placed last time out and did not run in a Guineas:

Moon De Vega (fourth in the Cheshire Oaks)The Algarve (fourth in the Musidora Stakes)

Next, I will remove any who do not meet the OR or RPR criteria:

Rogue Millennium (just too low, having posted an RPR of 94)

I will also discount all of those whose current odds are over 25/1, as just two winners have had longer odds:


We now have seven qualifiers remaining, who I will review in race card order.

Concert Hall, who on current odds is Aiden O’Brien’s second string, was staying on third in the Irish 1000 Guineas, running on well and looking like the step up in trip would be in her favour. She won a Listed race at Navan over 1 mile, 2 furlongs and looked to be tapped for toe over the shorter trip last time out. Given that her yard can win with any entrant, she is definitely one to consider.

Emily Upjohn, who represents the Gosden yard, is the current favourite and rightly so. She won the Musidora Stakes very comfortably, but my one question is the quality of that field, given the odds for the horses she beat who will line up for this race. She is a very short price at this time and will have to settle better on a very different track, but may well have the engine to overcome this concern.

Nashwa is the other Gosden representative. While clearly fancied and highly regarded, her preparation for this race would be a little unusual, as her prep was in a race that has yet to supply a subsequent Oaks winner, so I will pass her over here.

Thoughts of June stepped up markedly to win the Cheshire Oaks, beating Above the Curve, who won at Longchamps last weekend, to frank the form. She may have benefitted from an excellent tactical ride and soft ground, but is definitely capable of improving and running well here.

Tranquil Lady disappointed first time out this year when finishing behind Concert Hall at Navan in April, before winning easily last time out. She beat a number of fillies who were making their seasonal appearance that day and looked like they would improve for the run. In addition, the owners and trainers were unsure what her target was at that point, so on the basis of the prep race and the plans for her campaign being unclear, I will pass her over here.

Tuesday, judging by her odds, is the O’Brien first string and she placed in both Guineas. As a June foal she was one of the youngest to take part in the 1000 Guineas, so to come third speaks volumes in her favour. Stepping up in distance was always likely to suit her more and based on her breeding, she will probably be involved at the business end.

With The Moonlight won the Pretty Polly stakes impressively last time out, but I am not sure about the overall quality of the field in that race or, based on her breeding (her Dam was a Sprinter) that she will stay the trip, so I will discount her for this stamina test.


At this point, I am left with a choice between two horses. One of those is an even money shot, priced more on reputation and her connections than her form to date. The other is a horse that looks like she will relish the trip and is just an each way play.

Maybe I’m ignoring the obvious and the Gosden Filly will live up to market expectations, but the Trends also support Concert Hall, who is from a top yard and as she is also a more rewarding price, so she will be my selection.

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The Derby

Although both colts and fillies can run in the Derby, seeing a filly in the field is a rarity. There are always more horses lining up for this race than for the Oaks, as the goal is not just to win the prize money on offer, but also to enable the horse to retire to stud and breed future champions. Once again, the race has been dominated by a small number of trainers and owners.


No less than 31 of the previous 34 winners were sent off at 16/1 or less, so big odds winners are rare. Since 1988, there have been nine winning Favourites, but over the past 15 renewals, just four Favourites have won, the last being in 2015.

Over the past five renewals there have been more big priced winners than over the previous 29 renewals. Although this could indicate a change in Trends, I will stick to using the data we have and not speculate when considering my selection.

Once again, there are known prep races which supply the winners of the Derby. These are the 2000 Guineas (seven), the Dante (seven), the Derby Trial at Lingfield (four), the Chester Vase (three) and the Derrinstown Stakes in Ireland (three).

All but one of the previous winners who were allotted an OR (19 were not) were rated at least 100.All of the last 15 winners who were allotted an OR were rated 108, or above, except Wings of Eagles, the 40/1 winner in 2017.All previous winners achieved an RPR of at least 100, but 108 or more is preferred.Since 1993, the 29 previous winners all finished first (x 22), second (x 4) or third (x 2).No previous winner had more than eight lifetime starts, with 13 having exactly three. A further eight had either four or five starts.26 of the 34 previous winners ran in a Group race in their final prep, with five more running in a Listed race.32 of the previous 34 runners had already run that season and all since Shaamit in 1996. Since 1996 the winners raced once (x 11), twice (x 13), or three times (x 1).

In short, the Trends indicate we are looking for a colt who has been competing at the highest level and has a price of 20/1 or less, to allow for market moves.

I will firstly discount those runners who did place in the first three last time out:

El HabeebEydon (who was just declared a non-runner as I wrote this)

Next, I will remove all of those with current odds over 20/1:

Glory DazeGrand AllianceHoo Ya MalMasekelaSonny ListonWest Wind Blows

I will also remove Nahanni on the basis that he has run four times this season and is considered over-raced.

Lastly, I will discount all of those do not meet the OR or RPR criteria:

Westover (whose OR is just too low at 99)Changingoftheguard (whose OR of 96 is too low)Nations Pride (Again his OR of 88 is too low)


I now need to look more closely at six Trends qualifiers. I will review them in race card order, rather than by preference.

Desert Crown is the current Favourite after winning the Dante by three lengths and was going away from the field at the finish. He was the buzz horse ahead of reappearance and did not disappoint. If there is a concern on Trends, it is inexperience, as only four previous winners had at least three starts before tackling Epsom.

Piz Badile will have the services of Frankie Dettori, who had to wait until 2007 (after 14 attempts) before riding a Derby winner. My one concern with the jockey is whether he will ride the horse out if victory is not in his grasp, to at least get the place money. In addition, the Ballysax has only been used as the prep on one occasion, Dermot Weld’s Harzand in 2016, so I will discount him here.

Royal Patronage was second to Desert Crown in the Dante, but he did not look like catching the winner that day and I expect he will finish behind that one again. Only one horse, Workforce, placed second in the Dante and went on to win the Derby, which was back in 2010. However, he did not have to overcome the Dante winner in the Derby itself. With that data in mind, I shall pass Royal Patronage over here.

Stone Age is Aiden O’Brien’s first string for the race, based on the market and his comfortable win at Leopardstown in May. However, I do question the quality of the field he beat that day, as Glory Daze was five lengths behind him in second place and that one stands at odds of 100/1 to win the Derby. With only weak opposition, he was not asked a real question, although his jockey was very complimentary afterwards, feeling that the penny had dropped. Another thing in his favour is that his trainer won a lot of the Derby trials after the 2000 Guineas.

Charlie Appleby supplied a 16/1 winner for last year’s renewal and this time around he has one at a similar price, namely Walk Of Stars. He was a close second to United Nations from the O’Brien yard at Lingfield and was still running a little green that day, so if he learned from that, he has the ability to improve.

The obvious concern would be that the O’Brien yard, who have won six of the last ten renewals, have a line through that run and have sent a stronger one in the form of Stone Age, due to Luxembourg being out of contention.


I am again left with a choice between two horses, neither of whom is a decent price at this moment. But I am going for Desert Crown, as the prep race he won is more favourable from a Trends perspective. That said, whilst he is the selection, it is a no bet race really, as his price is not ideal to take as a Single bet.

However, as with the 1000 and 2000 Guineas back in May, I will put up a small each way Double here. My selections of Desert Crown and Concert Hall will pay well if they both win, but also make a small profit even if they place, so that is my advice.



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Author: Ronald Butler