Epsom Oaks Stats and Trends

Taking place over the first Friday and Saturday in June each year, the Epsom Derby Festival is one of the most iconic and influential meetings of the British flat racing season and a fixture with far-reaching global significance. Whilst the Derby itself is the biggest event, the Oaks remains a huge contest. Indeed, it kicks things off, as the opening day of the Festival sees the three-year-old fillies take centre stage, as a field of the most regally bred runners tackles the turns and undulations of Epsom’s 1m4f course.

Established in 1778, the Oaks predates the Derby by one year and remains the most coveted fillies prize of the season – almost 250 years after that inaugural edition. Offering a very tidy £550,000 in total prize money (as of 2024), the Oaks never fails to attract the most highly touted contenders from the best of the British and Irish yards. As with all the Classics, it boasts an enviable roll of honour, packed with equine legends. All-time greats Ouija Board, Minding, Enable, and Love are amongst the stars to have stormed to victory in front in the 21st century alone.

A race so steeped in heritage and racing folklore understandably draws a huge audience and generates considerable betting interest, but what does it take to come home in front? Here, we look back at the 24 editions of the race between 2000 and 2023 and pick out a few stats and trends which may assist in identifying the winner in what is often a very tough puzzle to crack.

Leading Trainers

Epsom Oaks Leading Trainers

Aidan O’Brien has proved all but unstoppable in the British Classics, with his Oaks record being a fine example of that dominance. Having also won with Shahtoush in 1998, O’Brien sits second on the all-time list behind early 19th century trainer Robert Robson.

John Gosden has fared best of the home team with four wins – the most recent of which came in partnership with his son Thady. In recent years, there has been little point in looking any further than the Gosden or O’Brien operations, with one of the duo winning 10 consecutive editions between 2014 and 2023. Interestingly, Aidan O’Brien was the only Irish trainer to land the Oaks over the period analysed.

Top Jockeys

Epsom Oaks Top Jockeys

The big-name riders have fared well in the Oaks, with the irrepressible Italian Frankie Dettori leading the way. Having landed back-to-back editions in 1994 and 1995, Dettori has seven wins in total. Now based in the US, it seems unlikely that Dettori will add to that tally (although stranger things have happened), but Ryan Moore continues to get the pick of the Aidan O’Brien fillies and may yet make some inroads on all-time leader Frank Buckle, who picked up nine wins between 1797 and 1823.

Top Sires

Epsom Oaks Leading Sires

In common with the Epsom Derby, the recent history of the Oaks has been dominated by the Northern Dancer line. First tapped into by the great Vincent O’Brien, the influence of the US sire on British racing has been little short of staggering.

In the case of the Oaks, Northern Dancer sired Galileo, who in turn sired Frankel, New Approach, and Nathaniel. The influence doesn’t stop there, with Northern Dancer also being the sire of Unfuwain and the great grandsire of Pivotal, Hernando, Fastnet Rock, Danehill Dancer, and Cape Cross, who sired the great Sea The Stars.

Finishing Position Last Time Out

Epsom Oaks Finishing Position Last Time Out

Results from the first 24 editions of the current century suggest it is tough to land the Oaks on the back of a subpar outing. 15 of the 24 winners also scored last time out, whilst a whopping 22 of 24 (91.67%) at least finished in the first three. The biggest outlier was 2015 heroine Qualify, who bounced back from a 10th-placed finish in the Irish 1000 Guineas to cause a huge shock.

Key Trials

Epsom Oaks Key Trials

The Musidora Stakes at York and the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh have proven the most successful routes into the race in recent times, closely followed by the English 1000 Guineas and Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, and Chester’s Cheshire Oaks. Of the seven winners who arrived following a run in a 1m Classic, only three had won the Newmarket of Curragh contest.

Fate of the Favourite

A total of eight winning favourites or joint-favourites from 24 editions (33.33%) falls broadly in line with the strike rate of the market leader across all races. Punters backing the jolly over this period would have just about broken even – a £1 level stakes bet returning a loss of a mere 3p.

The 21st century began well for the favourite, with five of the first seven editions falling to the market leader. However, the 2008-2015 period was particularly difficult for punters, with five winners returning an SP of 20/1 or greater – including 50/1 shot Qualify in 2015. Overall, 18 of the 24 winners returned a single-figure SP.

Other Stats

  • All 24 winners had run within the last 33 days
  • 22 of 24 winners had previously won over at least 1m, including 13 who had scored over 1m2f or further
  • 17 of 24 winners had won at Listed level or above. One of the exceptions was Forever Together, who hadn’t won a race of any description before claiming the 2018 edition
  • 16 of the 24 winners emerged from a single-figure draw. Stall 3 appears to be the lucky box with five winners