Christian van hemert

Hanson: O’Brien can make music again in Epsom Oaks

The Epsom Oaks have in recent years become the personal home of legendary coaches Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden. In the eight races of the fillies’ classic since 2014, O’Brien has won five and Gosden three (O’Brien has also won the Oaks four times).

It’s no surprise, then, that the four current betting favorites at Friday’s renewal, which can be watched and bet on TwinSpires.comwith a departure time of 11:30 a.m. ET, are conditioned by these two.

The market leader for weeks has been No. 2 Emily Upjohn, who has won both starts this term for Gosden by a combined margin of 15 lengths. This includes Musidora (G3) in York, usually one of Oaks main concoctions.

The undefeated Emily Upjohn may not have to be the second coming of Enable, who won the Oaks for Gosden in 2017 en route to a decorated career. But a price hovering around equal money isn’t so appealing in a race where she’ll be attempting 1 1/2 miles for the first time and on one of the trickiest courses on the planet.

We’ll try our luck instead on the O’Brien formed Concert Hall #1 (8-1)who seeks to emulate the Oaks success of her mother, Was, who won the classic in 2012.

Was had a 20-1 chance when she beat Gosden-trained favorite The Fugue, although the latter proved a generally more successful runner on the track than Was, whose only career stake has been the showcase from Epsom.

Concert Hall had a generally busy youth campaign (by Coolmore standards), highlighted by a one-length score in Weld Park (G3) over seven furlongs. Although she didn’t quite prove to the Group 1 standard last season, she was still likely to be more formidable beyond a mile.

Concert Hall made her return to action at the April 23 Salsabil S. in Navan, a 1 1/4 mile test in which she held off a determined rival to win by a head. Turning back for the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) on May 22, Concert Hall again showed that a mile wasn’t quite their forte by finishing a modest third behind runaway winner Homeless Songs. However, she was only half a length behind her stablemate and the current third pick of the #10 Oaks on Tuesday.

Reunited Friday with Seamie Heffernan, who was on board for the Weld Park win, Concert Hall might have the tools to give this female family a good priced Oaks encore.