David Wachman’s Legatissimo may be Ladbrokes’ 5/2 favourite to win the Investec Oaks, after the Ballydoyle filly’s less-than-a-length win in last month’s 1,000 Guineas, but there are enough trends going against the market leader to suggest the value lies elsewhere.
First off, no horse has won both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks since Kazzia in 2002. Prior to then, Salsabil was the last to manage the girls’ British Classic double in 1990.
Very few trainers even try to achieve the feat, with Oaks trial the Pretty Polly Stakes, won last year by eventual Epsom darling Taghrooda, staged on the same day as the Newmarket mile.
Furthermore, this 1m4f showpiece has become a favourites’ graveyard of late, with none of the last five jollies taking the laurels, and four winners in the past half-decade priced at 9/1 or more.
Indeed, four of the last seven triumphant Oaks fillies have gone off at 20/1 or bigger, and the best Ballydoyle could manage last year was Aidan O’Brien’s 4/1 favourite Marvellous’ sixth, 9l behind the winner.
Wachman has little previous at the Surrey track, and while Legatissimo clearly oozes class, another big trend going against her is that horses drawn low in the Oaks have usually struggled in recent years; only two of the last eight winners have come from stall seven or below.
Incidentally, the same ratio of runners-up have come from the lower part of the draw, and in the same summers (2009 and 2013).
Wachman’s girl will go from stall one, which is pretty much as bad a draw as it gets on recent runnings, with only one top-three finish over the past decade.
Conversely, Michael Stoute’s 7/2 second favourite Crystal Zvezda has been handed what ranks as a plum draw, according to recent Oaks renewals, in stall eight.
She looks the best bet to take on the favourite, while John Gosden’s 10/1 hope Jazzi Top, from stall 11, might be the longshot to follow in a race that’s prone to shocks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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