What a Yorkshire Oaks we have in store in the feature race at York today.
The withdrawal of the ante-post favourite Snow Fairy is a blow to the race but with horses such as Crystal Capella (7/2), Vita Nova (7/2), Banimpire (13/2), Blue Bunting (3/1F), Laughing Lashes (10/1) and Wonder Of Wonders (6/1) running, this can be a cracking race.
Blue Bunting looks set to go off as the favourite and Frankie Dettori will be determined to make amends for the poor ride he gave him in the Investec Oaks, but while there have been four winning favourites in the last 10 years, three of them were odds-on and the other was 1/1.
The trends are strong for the Yorkshire Oaks and with the five three-year-olds all gaining 10lb on their older rivals, it’s easy to understand why five of the last 10 renewals have been won by the younger horses.
Except the older horses have a much better strike rate (one in five) to the younger horses, and that is the reason we’re siding with the six-year-old Crystal Capella.
Nine of the last 10 renewals have been won by a three or four year old but Crystal Capella has two wins from two runs at York and her trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has won this race three times in the last decade.
Banimpire’s five Group wins means he has to be respected and Jim Bolger’s ever-consistent Banimpire should go close, but there was just half a length separating Blue Bunting, Banimpire, Wonder Of Wonders and Laughing Lashes in the Irish Oaks, and Crystal Capella can assert her authority today.
With the class in the field punters can expect a good gallop and while stamina is the key over this 1m4f trip, the winner will need both stamina and speed in abundance if she is to take home the title – Crystal Capella has both.