We had an unusual edition of the Oaks in 2020, with the event taking place around a month later than originally scheduled due to the global health issues at the time. For the first time ever, the race was also held on the same day as the Epsom Derby. Throw in the smallest Oaks field since 2004, and it was clear that this was no ordinary year.
However, all of the above didn’t detract too much from the quality of the contest, with the race being billed as a clash between two potential stars from either side of the Irish Sea. Going for the home team was John Gosden’s impressive Ribblesdale winner, Frankly Darling, whilst Aidan O’Brien was responsible for the favourite in the shape of 1000 Guineas heroine Love.
Elsewhere in the field, the O’Brien second-string Ennistymon was the only other runner available at a single-figure price, having chased Frankly Darling Home in the Ribblesdale. On all known form, the other five runners looked to have a lot on their plate if they were to trouble the principles.
- 1st – Love 11/10F, Jockey: Ryan Moore, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
- 2nd – Ennistymon 6/1, Jockey: Seamie Heffernan, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
- 3rd – Frankly Darling 7/4, Jockey: Frankie Dettori, Trainer: John Gosden
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £141,775
- 2nd – £53,750
- 3rd – £26,900
- 4th – £13,400
- 5th – £6,725
- 6th – £3,375
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £1.80
- Tote Places – 1st – £1.10, 2nd – £1.60, 3rd – £1.20
- Exacta – £9.20
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £8.31
- Trifecta – £18.70
- Tricast – £10.99
With three runners in the field, it was expected that one of the Aidan O’Brien contingent would be employed as a pacemaker. And so it proved, with Passion getting into an early battle for the lead with rank outsider, Tiempo Vuela.
Close to 20 lengths clear as they turned downhill into the straight, the frontrunners essentially cut each other’s throats and were sitting ducks by the time the race began in earnest. Ennnistymon was the first to take it up, but she wasn’t there for long, as Love came with a relentless withering run to forge further and further ahead – hitting the line fully nine lengths clear of stablemate Ennistymon.
Frankly Darling held every chance but simply didn’t pick up anything like as well as the winner, appearing to be ill-suited by the camber in the straight. The mount of Frankie Dettori nevertheless stuck it out well enough to grab third in a race which largely went as the betting market suggested it would.
It was a very impressive success for Love who would go on to win the Yorkshire Oaks later that year and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in 2021. It was an eighth Oaks success for O’Brien, and win number four for Ryan Moore.
- 1. Bharani Star – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Peter Chapple-Hyam, Jockey: Oisin Murphy
- 2. Ennistymon – SP: 6/1, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Seamie Heffernan
- 3. Frankly Darling – SP: 7/4, Trainer: John Gosden, Jockey: Frankie Dettori
- 4. Gold Wand – SP: 22/1, Trainer: Roger Varian, Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
- 5. Love – SP: 11/10F, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Ryan Moore
- 6. Passion – SP: 25/1, Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Paddy Beggy
- 7. Queen Daenerys – SP: 16/1, Trainer: Roger Varian, Jockey: William Buick
- 8. Tiempo Vuela – SP: 100/1, Trainer: John Gosden, Jockey: Martin Harley