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The Cazoo Oaks

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Aidan O'Brien's Snowfall
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History

Like the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, the Cazoo Oaks is a fillies-only Classic, run at Epsom Downs in June over the same mile-and-a-half (2,400 metres) distance as the Cazoo Derby.

The 2010 race was won by Snow Fairy, giving the previous season’s Champion Jockey, Ryan Moore, his first Classic win. The horse had been so unfancied, months before, that one punter was able to put £4 on her… at 999-1. Moore went on the complete a memorable Epsom double 24 hours later by taking the Investec Derby on the mighty Workforce.

Epsom certainly provides the ultimate test, with an undulating, stamina-sapping course comprising deceptive cambers and a challenging decent into Tattenham Corner. Fillies taking part usually appear in one or more trial races before the Investec Oaks.

The ladies take centre stage off the course as well, with the race being staged on ‘Ladies Day’, when colourful hats and dresses are very much in evidence. The Cazoo Oaks was established in 1779, one year before the Derby, and was named after a house near Epsom, leased by the 12th Earl of Derby and who had invited guests at one of his parties there to come and race their horses.

The Cazoo Oaks, QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Ladbrokes St Leger, the final Classic of the season, make up the Fillies’ Triple Crown. Only seven horses have won all three races in a season, the Henry Cecil-trained Oh So Sharp the most recent in 1985.

Enable won in a record time in 2017 and went on to land four more Group 1 races before the year was out, including the QIPCO-sponsored King George, Darley Yorkshire Oaks and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

2020 saw another performance for the Oaks record books. Aidan O’Brien-trained Love was dominant and ruthless in a 9L victory in the Fillies’ Classic. In a muddled race, the filly showed her ability to forge clear – breaking Enable’s course record in the process.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1994, 1995, 2002, 2017, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 8 wins (1998, 2001, 2006, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Snowfall and Dettori decimate Cazoo Oaks field

Epsom crowd treated to sensational performance; records equalled for both O'Brien and Dettori

Snowfall and Frankie Dettori produced a devastating display to claim the Cazoo Oaks by an incredible 16 lengths. There were no rivals in the picture and the Aidan O’Brien filly cruised home, eased down, in the hands of the evergreen Dettori.

It sealed a 40th British Classic for master trainer O’Brien, equalling the all-time record held by trainer John Scott, set between 1827 and 1863. It was a 21st such success for jockey Frankie Dettori – to place him alongside the legendary Fred Archer.

There was a steady pace throughout the leading stages as Sherbert Lemon and eventual second Mystery Angel dictated from the front.

Having passed Tattenham Corner runners switched to the standside as jockeys one-by-one decided to play their cards. Mystery Angel, running a huge race, caught plenty of her rivals out as many found themselves several lengths behind.

As sticks were drawn, it was clear that the ice-cool Dettori had plenty under the bonnet. Using hands and heals he began to nurse Snowfall to the front. Her response was emphatic, and she powered away with ease. The Epsom crowd, who had waited so long to return to racing here we treated to an astonishing display. The more Frankie urged, the wider the gap became until all rivals disappeared into the distance.

Snowfall, in splendid isolation, sauntered home to claim an almost facile success. A fitting return to British Classics on the famous Downs.

Mystery Angel defied her odds of 50/1 by claiming second under Ben Curtis, and third was Divinity for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

If it weren’t for the 12th Earl of Derby, perhaps Epsom would be best known for natural mineral water, London commuters or bath salts. That or the fact that Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page came from the Surrey town. As it is, Epsom stands for horseracing, and the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby in particular.

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The earl invited his friends to race their fillies on the Epsom Downs in 1779 and thus The Oaks was born. A year later and a second race, for colts and fillies, was introduced. A toss of a coin and it became known as The Derby (if the earl’s friend, Sir Charles Bunbury, had called right then flat racing’s Blue Riband event might today be called ‘The Epsom Bunbury’).

The racecourse has witnessed some of the sport’s most glorious moments, with Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar among the horses to enter the winner’s enclosure. It has also seen tragedy, however, when suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in 1913 and died of a fractured skull.

Getting there

Epsom Downs
KT18 5LQ

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