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14:00 Epsom

A competitive handicap to kick off the derby day action at Epsom. Mr Big Stuff may go off favourite for this event carrying a very low weight made even lower by Tyler Heard’s claim. His latest efforts this term since upped in distance have been encouraging, he is still a maiden however, and I would want bigger odds on him winning such a competitive affair.

The boys in blue are represented by Blue Trail here who has been campaigned exclusively over a mile by Charlie Appleby thus far in his career. Both his wins were obtained on the all-weather and although I think the step up in trip will be very much to his liking, I would again look elsewhere for better value in this contest.

That value may very well come in the form of War Horse. He has twice won at this distance and this gelding by Sea The Stars looks to be an improved horse this term and was very much value for his win last time out. He sees this trip out very well and in a race that is likely to be run at a decent clip he is very much my answer to land the spoils here. Sweeping is also worth a mention and could definitely could improve for the step up in distance in first time cheek pieces having only just been denied by a very strong William Haggas horse last time out and he is well worth a look at double figure odds.



written by Tom Bates

14:35 Epsom

Cheveley Park look to have a very strong hand in The Princess Elizabeth Stakes with Bashkirova and Potapova, both from master trainers. Bashkirova hails from the red-hot Haggas yard and comes here after a promising second behind todays rival Mrs Fitzherbert on their seasonal debuts. I’d fancy the Haggas runner to reverse the form today as she will no doubt strip fitter. Potapova also comes up against a filly who beat her last time in Roman Mist and I'd also have her to reverse that form too and I would have her to win the race. Although she does have a bit to find with the others on official figures, I am sure she will improve for being back on good ground and especially if they go a good pace. Of the others the Andrew Balding 3yo Majestic Glory will no doubt benefit from the 1st time hood and the handy 12lb allowance.


written by Michael Taylor

15:10 Epsom

Modern News sets the standard having won the Spring Cup and the Royal Windsor Stakes on his last two starts. He’s on an upward trajectory and has ran creditably well at Epsom before. Connections are in good form and you would imagine that the extra half a furlong won’t trouble him much. If he improves again, he’s a big danger.

Megallan has won at this level before and has pieces of form that put him in with a shout for this race. He was second to Hurricane Lane in the Dante and posted a good return to Master Of The Seas in the Earl of Sefton. However his last appearance, at Chester, was disappointing. He could bounce back and he has the draw to do so. His slight inconsistency could be his undoing today.

Mutasaabeq had a decent reputation at the beginning of his career, going off towards the top end of the betting in the Guineas. He disappointed at Sandown at the end of the season but bounced back at Thirsk on his first start this year. He should have landed the bet365 Mile at Sandown, last time out but had absolutely no racing room. He flew home in the closing stages but couldn’t catch Lights On, who won by a neck. You would imagine he’d stay the extra half a furlong and he has the best form and figures to win this race.


written by Kieran McHugh

15:45 Epsom

Strong arguments can be made for many of these though before attempting to decipher which horses will likely come out on top, we shall first glance at a few of the races most recent trends over the last decade.

Draw - With the weather predicting rain throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning, perhaps the safest approach is to expect Good or Good-Soft ground come race-time. Twice in the last decade the race has taken place on going described as Good -Soft and both times the winners have been housed in very high draws versus the size of field. On Good ground the draw appears to change although only slightly as three of the four winners on that description have still been housed in the high numbers, with the exception being drawn in stall one.

Betting - Outright favourites have a poor recent record, so poor in fact that you would have to go back to Duke Of Firenze winning at 5/1 in 2013 for the last winning market leader. Outsiders and horses at double figure odds have fared much better with seven of the last ten winners all returning in that range and the last two winners returned at 25/1 and 33/1 respectively.

Other interesting trends include winning trainers, Paul Midgley has landed this twice recently and he is the only trainer within the decade time frame to have sent out a winner who arrived on the back of a win the time before. Mid Winster has to be of interest and she relished the drop back in trip when getting back winning ways at Catterick last time. Nudged up five pounds for that, she must find more here although she looks to be well drawn and is respected.

Mokaatil landed this last season and clearly likes the venue, he overcame all manner of trouble when scoring here two starts back and appeared to be in fair form when third and fourth at Goodwood and Chester afterwards. Still fairly handicapped and with the assistance of Harry Davies in the saddle, one suspects he will go close if getting the gaps and he is awarded a slice of the vote with his draw of nine, looking the only potential negative.

Stone Of Destiny has become frustrating but he did finish a fair third in this last season off a ten pounds higher mark. Clearly capable when on song and from a yard who tend to have winners here, he has to be of interest and his sixth at Goodwood last time was at least a step back in the right direction.

Fine Wine is aptly named and he is improving at some rate of knots, his devastating performance at York last-time looked perhaps too good to be true, however, the second that day has since gone in again and the handicappers nine pounds penalty for that demolition job may not be enough to prevent a follow-up.

Sunday Sovereign came from an unlikely looking position when hitting the front deep inside the last at York last time, agonisingly for his supporters, that effort was not enough as he was nailed right on the line by a horse who came from an impossible position. That form does look extremely dubious though this will likely be run at a ridiculous pace and further rain would bring him right into the equation.

Live The Dream arrives chasing the hat-trick after recording commanding victories at both Sandown and Chester, clearly progressive, he has every chance here though he has gone up fifteen pounds in the weights and there are others who like to make or force the pace in this lineup.

King Of Stars, Dusky Lord, Tees Spirit and Justanotherbottle are selected others with claims but a chance will be taken on Mokaatil repeating the dose he dished out last term and Stone Of Destiny is just too well handicapped to ignore in an extremely competitive renewal.



written by Chris Connolly

16:30 Epsom

The Epsom Derby is the one race every trainer, jockey and owner want to win but few will ever realise their dreams. Aidan O’Brien has won six of the last ten runnings of this classic and may well bring the prize across the Irish Sea once again. The master of Ballydoyle is represented by Stone Age the choice of Ryan Moore, Chester Vase winner Changingoftheguard and Dee Stakes winner Star Of India. Although Stone Age is the shortest price, he remained a maiden after four runs as a juvenile. He's looked good in both starts this term but he’s a tad too exposed for me. Of the O’Brien trio, I think I’d side with Star Of India who’s only had three runs and is open to further progress.

Desert Crown has been all the rage to give Sir Michael Stoute another Derby winner following on from Workforce in 2010. The twice-raced son of Nathaniel wasn't seen on a racecourse until November last year when he won a lowly Nottingham maiden, where he was a big drifter in the market. His sights were significantly raised when taking on a good field in the Dante where he romped to a three-length victory. If he takes another step forward, which he should then he’ll be difficult to beat.

Charlie Appleby is looking to land his third Derby in five years and his Nations Pride is rated just 1 pound inferior to Desert Crown. Form figures of “21111” do catch the eye but it was only a listed event he won when last seen so I’d have my reservations about his chances. The early booking of Frankie Dettori for Piz Badile(10/1) is very noteworthy. The thrice-raced colt got back up in the dying strides to land the Ballysax from the smart Buckaroo, where he showed a tremendous attitude. The extra two furlongs will definitely play to his strengths and could give young trainer Donnacha O’Brien a first Derby success.


written by Peter Keogh


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