Epsom Oaks Betting

With an illustrious history tracing back more than two centuries, the Epsom Oaks was named after The Oaks, a house leased to Edward Smith Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby. While partying at the residence in 1778, Lord Derby and his guests came up with the idea for the race and hosted its inaugural running the following May, a full year before the introduction of the famed Epsom Derby. The winner of the initial meeting was a filly named Bridget, which happened to be owned by Lord Derby himself.

In the years following, this Group 1 flat horse race for Thoroughbred fillies aged three years and upwards became one of the five British Classics. It inspired several other Group 1 races around Europe, too, including the Irish Oaks, the German Oaks known as the Preis der Diana, the Prix de Diane in France, and the Oaks d’Italia.

Today, the Epsom Oaks has a corporate sponsor and is formally known as the Investec Oaks. It is held on Investec Ladies Day, the first day of the two-day Investec Derby Festival in early June, along with the prestigious Investec Coronation Cup. The Oaks is widely considered as Europe’s top race for fillies, attracting an international field and substantially heavy betting action.

Historic Racing on the Downs

The town of Epsom has had racing on the Downs since 1661. The racecourse in its unique mile-and-a-half format incorporates the original one-mile straight-line track and an extension from the Tattenham Corner added in 1784. This is the same course on which the Investec (Epsom) Derby is contended, accompanied by all of the off-track style, glamour, and hoopla that the annual Derby Festival has come to represent, with crowds of up to 125,000 flocking to celebrate British racing at its very best.

Over the years, the Oaks has featured a broad array of winners who produced brilliant racing careers. Ouija Board, for example, went on to win two Breeders Cup turf titles in the United States after capturing not only the Epsom Oaks but also the Irish Oaks in 2004. Another great champion of the course was Oh So Sharp in 1985, which became the last filly to complete the Triple crown of the 1000 Guineas, The Epsom Oaks and the St Leger.

Perhaps no jockey will ever top Frank Buckle’s run of nine Epsom Oaks wins, accomplished between 1797 and 1823, but Lester Piggott left his mark here with six victories in 1957~1984 and so has Kieren Fallon with four first place finishes between 1997 and 2006. Among trainers, Robert Robson dominated the race from 1802 to 1825 with 13 winners, while Alec Taylor, Jr. added eight of his own in 1910~1926, as did Henry Cecil in 1985~2007.

Enjoying Race Day

The build-up to the Investec (Epsom) Oaks starts in the early season with the running of the Guineas Classics at Newmarket. Bookmakers and punters alike will be watching the results of four trials in particular: the 1000 Guineas, the Cheshire Oaks, the Musidora Stakes, and the Lingfield Oaks. All of these are good indicators of which horse will be in top form come race day, and ante-post wagering will be lively as the field of potential runners shapes up and is gradually cut to around fifteen.

Because the Oaks is run on the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, Ladies Day, it tends to be a very stylish day out. The exclusive boxes of the Queens Stand and the Duchess’s Stand are aglitter with fashionable celebrities, and the lawns of the Tattenham Picnic Area along the main straight are crowded with well-heeled spectators.

Of course, there are plenty of bookmakers and tote betting booths on the course. Minimum bets start at just £2. Meanwhile, online bookmakers offering free bets, such as those featured for the 2010 running, including a £zero promotion at bet365, £100 at paddypower, and £75 from Victor Chandler’s vc Bet. Look for betting to centre on the entries of the top trainers, especially Aiden O’Brien, Henry Cecil, and Ed Dunlop.

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