The History of the Epsom Oaks

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! A 2nd midweek post from me must mean there is something happening, so ahead of tomorrow’s renewal of the Group 1 Cazoo Oaks Stakes, let’s have a look at the history of the race!


The Epsom Oaks Stakes is a Group 1 flat race which is ran at Epsom Downs racecourse and is open to three year old fillies. It is ran over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 6 yards and it takes place in late May or early June each year and the first running of the race was in 1779. It is the 3rd of Britain’s 5 Classic races and it also serves as the middle leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown behind the 1,000 Guineas and before the St Leger. In the previous running in 2020 the race was worth £250,000 with the winner getting £141,775.


The first winner of the race was in 1779 and was a horse called Bridget with Dick Goodisson riding for trainer ‘Saunders’ and the owner was the 12th Earl of Derby. Dick Goodisson then won the following two years with Tetotum in 1780 for owner Thomas Douglas (trainer unknown) and in 1781 with Faith for trainer John Pratt and owner the 1st Earl Grosvenor.

The following two years were then won by the same trainer John Pratt both with Sam Chifney riding. In 1782 with Ceres and in 1783 with Maid of the Oaks, both for the 1st Earl Grosvenor.

If we then move into the 1800’s, we see trainer Robert Robson dominate the race for many years, starting in 1802 with Scotia with Frank Buckle riding for owner John Wastell. He then won it again 12 more times between 1804 and 1825.

If we then skip forward quite a few years into the 1900’s we have Aga Khan III winning as an owner in 1932 with Udaipur with jockey Michael Beary and trainer Frank Butters.

In 1942, King George VI had a winner when Sun Chariot won for jockey Gordon Richards and trainer Fred Darling. Followed by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II having a winner in 1957 with Carrozza who partnered up with Lester Piggott and trainer Noel Murless. Queen Elizabeth II then had another winner in 1977 with Dunfermline who was rode by Willie Carson and trained by Dick Hern.

Aidan O’Brien then had his first winner as a trainer in 1998 when Shahtoush won with Michael Kinane riding for owners Nagle / Magnier.

Into the 21st century we then see winners such as Imagine in 2001 for Michael Kinane, Aidan O’Brien and Nagle / Magnier. Ouija Board in 2004 for Kieren Fallon, Ed Dunlop and the 19th Earl of Derby. Snow Fairy in 2010 for Ryan Moore, Ed Dunlop and Anamoine Ltd. Minding in 2016 for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and Smith / Magnier / Tabor. Enable in 2017 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah. And finally Love in 2020 – which was run in July due to the Covid 19 Pandemic – for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and Tabor / Smith / Magnier.


So now onto some records within the race!

The fastest winning time was in 2020 when Love won the race 2 minutes 34.06 seconds.

The longest odds winners are Vespa in 1833, Jet Ski Lady in 1991 and Qualify in 2015 who all started the race at 50/1.

The shortest odds winner is Pretty Polly in 1904 who won at 8/100.

The widest winning margin was Sun Princess in 1983 who won by 12 lengths.

The race with the most runners took place in 1848 when 26 horses ran.

The race with the fewest runners took place in 1799 and 1904 when only 4 horses ran each time.


Now onto the leading jockey, trainer and owner.

First things first – the leading jockey is Frank Buckle who won the race 9 times. Nike in 1797, Bellissima in 1798, Bellina in 1799, Scotia in 1802, Theophania in 1803, Meteora in 1805, Neva in 1817, Corinne in 1818 and Zinc in 1823.

The leading trainer is Robert Robson who won the race 13 times. Scotia in 1802, Pelisse in 1804, Meteora in 1805, Briseis in 1807, Morel in 1808, Maid of Orleans in 1809, Music in 1813, Minuet in 1815, Landscape in 1816, Corinne in 1818, Pastille in 1822, Zinc in 1823 and Wings in 1825.

And finally, the leading owner – Including part ownership – like many of these posts I have done, is Susan Magnier who has won it 7 times. Shahtoush in 1998, Imagine in 2001, Alexandrova in 2006, Was in 2012, Minding in 2016, Forever Together in 2018 and Love in 2020.


So there we have it, just some of the history behind the Epsom Oaks, tomorrow’s renewal looks to be a decent one so I cannot wait to watch it. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this one and I will see you all Saturday morning at 11am where I go through the history of the Epsom Derby before the 2021 renewal.

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