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BIG RACE PREVIEW: Snowfall is the big favourite in the feature race on Day 2 of the Ebor Festival, the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

The 10 year trends for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (3.35 York) are pretty telling. The winner generally carries an official rating set between 118 and 122. Seven of the past ten winners have been three-year-olds. Six of the past ten winners have been SP favourite and six of the past ten winners had also won their previous race. This begs the question: What is there not to like about the chances of Snowfall? The Aidan O’Brien trained filly is simply top-class and this was borne out when she ran away with the Oaks at Epsom in June. In winning by 16 lengths she not only recorded the furthest winning distance in the history of the race, she also clocked a speed figure of 79 which further reinforced the view that she is genuinely a top drawer filly. She should win this race and win it well but there is little value from a betting perspective and so the ‘Betting Without Snowfall’ market may be the way to go.

Wonderful Tonight is the most obvious alternative to the favourite. A genuine Group 1 performer, the David Menuisier trained filly took the Group 2 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood just under three weeks ago in testing ground from Tribal Craft. However she had a pretty hard race as she raced very freely in the early stages and although never looking in danger of defeat, she had to be kept up to her work to fend off the persistent runner-up. That race was over 14 furlongs and it is doubtful that we will see her over that trip again. Also will she actually run here if there is no appreciable rain between now and off-time?

In the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Loving Dream had three quarters of a length to spare over Eshaada when taking the Group 2 prize. It is fair to say that she was better positioned throughout and she managed to get first run on the runner-up and that seemed to make all the difference as Eshaada had to come round most of the field in the home straight. The ground was also good to firm on the day and that wouldn’t have suited Eshaada either. Tempting as it is to suggest that the Roger Varian trained filly will turn around the form here, Loving Dream will likely be better suited to the forecast good or quicker ground and with strong stamina lines in the pedigree then the Gosden trained filly may be better suited to the demands of York than her counterpart.

Of the rest Albaflora would like to see more rain as the softer the ground the better for her. In truth she doesn’t look good enough at this level but any significant rainfall would help whilst the other Aidan O’Brien fillies (Divinely and La Jaconde) don’t look up to this level either with La Jaconde being in here to ensure that there is a good pace for the favourite to aim at.

And so in summary Snowfall is fully expected to have too much for her rivals with Wonderful Tonight most likely to follow her home if she takes her chance. However if the ground does quicken then this will impact the chances of quite a few in here and so the betting angle would be to back Loving Dream in the ‘Betting Without Snowfall’ market.

Suggestion: Loving Dream (Betting Without Snowfall)

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