The Fugue (7/4) and Shareta (100/30) lead the betting market but they are not the only candidates who could take the top honours in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks tomorrow (York, 3.40pm).
Bible Belt: As Snow Fairy is an absentee after her successful raid in France on Sunday, it is up to Bible Belt to carry owner breeder Cristina Patino’s colours in the Yorkshire Oaks.
If the four year old Bible Belt comes in there will be one hell of a party at Jessica Harrington’s yard. This is her first punt at a Group 1 contest. Bible Belt looks to have improved with every run this season so there is definitely hope if not expectation.
Harrington has targeted this race for some time and thought that Bible Belt was unlucky not to have come second in her previous run at Leopardstown. Currently rated 110, Bible Belt is reported as being in very good order. She will need to improve further to triumph here but she did better than most people expected in her only other departure from Ireland’s shores when coming second to William Haggas’ Dancing Rain at Ascot in October last year in the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes over a mile and a half. Harrington is no fool and would not travel her horse to England for no reason. Bible Belt is not without a chance.
Wild Coco: This four year old daughter of Shirocco trained by Henry Cecil has made an impressive start to the season after almost a year’s absence from the racetrack. She won the one mile six furlong Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood on 2 August, beating her closest pursuer by nearly three lengths, despite having taken a bit of a hold early on.
Cecil’s patience with this filly has been rewarded and the exciting ability she showed in her early three year old season seems to have been restored. Owner breeder Gestut Rottgen entrusted her to him for a good reason. She goes into the race on a rating of 113 and it is unwise to ignore Sir Henry’s runners in races of this type.
The Fugue: This three-year-old daughter of Dansili trained by John Gosden may not be the strongest looking in the paddock but she is poetry in motion on good ground. Lord Lloyd Webber’s filly looks likely to get it tomorrow and is the current betting favourite for good reason. She stands a good chance of emulating connections’ victory in 2009 with Da Re Mi.
Currently rated 116, she absolutely flew home under Richard Hughes in her latest start at Goodwood over a mile and two furlongs in the Group 1 Nassau on 4 August. Aidan O’Brien’s Was finished nearly three lengths behind her in third.
In June she finished second to Dermot Weld’s Princess Highway at Ascot in the Ribblesdale on good to soft ground that did not suit her, beating Hughie Morrison’s Shirocco Star by a short head. Yes, she was beaten by Was and Shirocco Star in the Oaks at Epsom in June but regular jockey William Buick managed to get her into all sorts of trouble in running. She was hampered and still finished less than a length behind them in third.
If the Ribblesdale and Musidora are any indicators, Was and Shirocco Star are very unlikely to finish in front of her. She has won on the course but not over the extra distance before but the style of her previous victories suggest that she will not be inconvenienced by a slightly longer distance.
Shareta: This four year old daughter of Sinndar trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre looks well equipped to stage a Snow Fairy style cross-border raid at York. She finished second in the Arc de Triomphe behind Danedream last year and we have recently been reminded of the value of that form with Danedream’s victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Shareta is currently rated 117, a pound better than The Fugue. She beat Danedream in her latest start, finishing second in the muddling four runner affair at Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June on good to soft. Her form suggests that she favours a sound surface so there is no reason why she should not be able to bring her best game to York.
She has only travelled beyond France once, to Tokyo where she finished just over a length behind Danedream to fill seventh position in the Japan Cup over a mile and half in November last year. It suggests that she is not fazed by travelling and a quick trip to the UK will be a breeze in comparison. She is proven over the distance and has to be the major threat to The Fugue.
Yorkshire Oaks Betting Tips Verdict
It is hard to knock favourite The Fugue but looking at the field analytically rather than patriotically, SHARETA (around 3/1) has markedly the best form in the book. Her Arc runner-up spot last year is a stand-out piece of form and makes her the best value bet to win this Yorkshire Oaks. We recommend a bet with Bet365 Bookmaker.