Love is the best three-year-old filly trained in the UK and Ireland, and she can confirm that status by winning the 2020 Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday. The best price for that outcome is -225.02 with BetOnline, and the 44% return on investment is good news for high-stakes bettors.
The Yorkshire Oaks is a Group 1 race for fillies and mares aged three and older over one mile and four furlongs. The older horses carry 9st 7lbs and give 9lbs to the runners from the Classic generation. Love receives the weight-for-age allowance.
It will take an exceptional horse to beat Love while carrying so much more weight, and Manual De Vega is the only runner older than three in the six-strong field. The filly has an Official Rating of 110, which gives the horse an impossible task at the weights.
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Love’s current rating is 122, but the weight allowance means she has much more in hand over Manual De Vega. The Coolmore Stud star won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom earlier in the summer, while he is prominent in the betting for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Love’s challenge at York is much easier due to the absence of Enable, who as a six-year-old would give the favourite the nine pounds. Enable bypasses the Yorkshire Oaks and looks like instead prepping for the Arc in the September Stakes on the All Weather at Kempton at the start of next month. Champion Stakes winner Magical held the second line of ante-post betting for the York feature, but he has been taken out of the race.
The Yorkshire Oaks betting trends for the past 10 years suggest Love has a good profile for the race. Five outright favourites have won the race since 2010, and the winner has come from the top two in the betting in all but two years. Enable was the winner at odds-on on 2017 and 2019, and the 10-year average price of the winner is less than +400.
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In terms of ratings, Love is not typical of most winners over the last decade. If you disregard the exceptional Enable, who ran to 126 in both her wins, the average rating of the winning horse since 2010 is 115. Five of the last six winners took advantage of the allowance for horses aged three.
Love is the first horse since Minding in 2016 to win the first two English Classics for fillies. However, an attempt at winning the Fillies’ Triple Crown by contesting the St Leger is unlikely. The Yorkshire Oaks is a prep race for the Arc, and Love cannot be opposed this week.
The Oaks, which is usually run in June, is often the key form race. Enable won both races in 2017 and is the last horse to do so in the same season. This year’s Classic for fillies over 12 furlongs shows why Love is a worthy favourite for the York version.
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She won the Epsom race by nine lengths from Ennistymon in second place. Frankly Darling was another three-quarters of a length adrift in third place, and she had been one-and-three-quarter lengths too good for Ennistymon at Royal Ascot. Therefore, the collateral form suggests Frankly Darling cannot beat Love.
Franconia is the second favourite for the Yorkshire Oaks at +600, but that price is more about potential than results on the track. The two wins this season were in Listed races, which means she is behind all but one other runner on official ratings. One Voice will have to produce a career best to be placed, while Alpinista cannot win at this level.
The absence of Enable and Magical has taken away much of the interest in this race. However, Love is the clear form and ratings pick and can win at York en route to the Arc in October.