2024 Epsom Oaks Preview and Bonus Play for Coronation Cup

May 30th, 2024

Classic racing at Epsom gets underway with the Oaks (G1) on Friday, and it’s an unusually open-looking affair.

It’s fair to say none of the European fillies have captured the imagination so far this year, and there’s probably a good chance of value in the race.

Epsom Race 5, 11:30 a.m. ET: The Oaks (G1), 1 1/2 miles, 3-year-old fillies


  • #3 Ezeliya
  • #8 Secret Satire
  • #4 Forest Fairy
  • #11 Ylang Ylang


  • $10 win/$30 show: #3 Ezeliya
  • $2 trifecta3, 8 with 3, 4, 8 with 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12

Of the 12 runners, six come from two stables. Two, not surprisingly, are trained by Aidan O’Brien, while four, perhaps more surprisingly, are prepared by Ralph Beckett.

O’Brien’s pair both look decent chances. Number one jockey Ryan Moore is aboard #11 Ylang Ylang, last year’s Fillies Mile (G1) winner who was a solid if a little uninspiring fifth in her return, the 1,000 Guineas (G1).

She will probably be suited by the step up to 1 1/2 miles, and it’s almost certain the same applies to O’Brien’s other runner, #6 Rubies Are Red. She ran a little greenly when second in the Lingfield Oaks Trial and if she’s learned from that race, she has strong claims here.

The winner at Lingfield was #12 You Got To Me, a wire-to-wire winner that day. She’s one of Beckett’s four runners, and possibly the most certain stayer of the quartet. Fourth that day for Beckett was #9 Treasure, a chance for King Charles and Queen Camilla, but she looked to have her chance at Lingfield and she looks best to be played in exotics.

Beckett’s best chance may actually be #4 Forest Fairy. She looked like a stayer to watch after winning the Cheshire Oaks despite getting clear late in the short Chester stretch. Epsom doesn’t always favor back runners but the stretch is long enough to find a path to challenge and she should be better here.

The fourth runner from the Beckett stable, #7 Seaward, was third in the Chester Oaks and not as impressive as Forest Fairy but she could be at good odds.

But though O’Brien and Beckett have the numbers, they may not have the best candidates. They may actually be #3 Ezeliya, trained by Dermot Weld for the Aga Khan, and #8 Secret Satire, from the Andrew Balding stable.

Secret Satire was a clear two-length winner of the Musidora (G3) at York, often the most reliable Oaks trial. There are probably some stamina doubts given that she is a first-crop daughter of Advertise, who was very much a sprinter as a racehorse. But it’s too early to place stamina restrictions on him as a sire, and Secret Satire found the line very well at York.

However, Ezeliya has a few things going for her. By Dubawi from a Teofilo mare, she has solid stamina in her pedigree, and she looked good when winning the Salsabil at Navan April 27. Runner-up Purple Lily was subsequently a solid fifth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, so the form has stacked up.

In the absence of strong candidates, I’m going to support Ezeliya as she bids to become Weld’s second Oaks winner, a mere 43 years after Blue Wind won for him in 1981.


Epsom Race 3, 10:10 a.m. ET: Coronation Cup (G1), 1 1/2 miles, 4-year-olds and up

  • $10 win: #1 Feed The Flame

This race should be between last year’s winner #4 Emily Upjohn and Irish raider #3 Luxembourg, but the former may want firmer ground than is likely and the latter may be better at 1 1/4 miles. 

Feed The Flame wasn’t too far away when eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) last year and closed well off a slow pace for third in the Prix Ganay (G1) in late April. He could be an odds play in the five-horse field here.