King of Stats: Taghrooda set for Irish challenge in Yorkshire Oaks

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In seeing off both her older rivals and male counterparts at the first attempt in the King George at Ascot, Taghrooda confirmed she is one serious filly.

She reverts back to her own sex at York, but do the stats point to any other winner of the Yorkshire Oaks?

In taking her record to four from four, the last two at the very top level, there is no doubting that the daughter of the legendary Sea the Stars is en route to greatness just like her father.

But at skinny odds of 2/9 she is hardly a price to get involved with for most everyday punters.

We have taken a look at the trends over the last decade to seek out any alternatives.

Vital criteria

When narrowing down the field, there are a handful of facts that cannot be ignored.

– 10 of the last 10 winners had run at least twice that season, as well as previously winning over at least 10f

This allows us to haphazardly dismiss of second favourite Tapestry (10/1), and outsider of the bunch Lustrous (33/1).

– Nine of the last 10 victors competed in a Group 1 or Group 2 last time out

Two more bite the dust with this stat. Last year’s Oaks victor Talent (33/1) ran in a Group 3 three weeks ago, while Tasaday (12/1) contested a Listed race here at York. She did win that race, but there is no room for sentiment here.

That culling of potential selections leaves us with a trio of contenders. Taghrooda, Venus De Milo (12/1) and Volume (14/1).

Last year’s Yorkshire Oaks form

With four-year-olds dominating recent runnings, Aidan O’Brien’s Venus De Milo is an interesting candidate.

Even more so when we discover that of those six four-year-old heroines in the last decade, four had run in the previous year’s contest, finishing 1st, 4th, 2nd and 2nd respectively.

Venus De Milo finished second here 12 months ago behind The Fugue. More will be needed to go one better this time round.

Poor form of Irish Oaks also-rans

While winners of the Irish Oaks have a decent record when coming to the Knavesmire (just one three-year-old winner in the last 10 years hadn’t come here via winning the Curragh showpiece), also rans have done poorly.

Of 11 runners placed over the Irish Sea, none have won, and just two have troubled the placings – a worrying stat for fans of Volume.

Master trainers

John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien both have exemplary records in this race. The former has saddled five horses in the decade just gone, boasting two winners and two runners-up.

O’Brien meanwhile has an equally steady record in the contest. Nine runners have lauded similar results – two winners, one runner-up and three thirds.

Verdict

While Taghrooda obviously stands out as a potential superstar, and with the last 10 winners all returning 13/2 or shorter, she would be the easy choice to make.

But with four-year-olds, especially ones that ran well the previous year, delivering the goods more often than not, an each way glance at VENUS DE MILO cannot be discouraged.

For those that think John Gosden’s filly is simply unbeatable, a forecast, with her Irish challenger in second, could be the most profitable option in the long run.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.