We hope some of you took the hint about Qualify in our preview of yesterday’s Oaks where we said “rank outsider Qualify shouldn’t be dismissed too lightly and it is worth remembering that the Coolmore team won this race with Was, who we tipped at odds of 50/1”. Qualify was available at odds of 100/1 on the morning of the fillies Classic.
Today is the turn of the colts and another shock is possible with this looking a particularly open renewal of the Derby.
The Dante form holds the key and if it stands up the winner will surely come from the first three home that day – Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and Elm Park.
However, there are doubts over the ground, trip and / or course about all of them and so they look worth opposing at the prices.
So where might the surprise come from?
Well, it is particularly interesting that Criquette Head-Maarek sends EPICURIS here as she rarely has runners in the UK. When she does, you have to take note and the key thing about this horse is that he had top class form as a two year old and yet has been written off after a slightly disappointing comeback.
He has raced exclusively on soft / heavy ground so far, but if he were to actually improve on this surface, he could cause a shock.
The other concern with him is his ability to handle the parade as he has refused to enter the stalls in the past, but he has been having specialist help in a bid to solve the problem and these doubts are factored into what now looks a very juicy each way price of 22/1.
As we saw yesterday, you ignore Aiden O’Brien here at your peril and of his trio here we really like the strong stayer, HANS HOLBEIN.
He has been on the drift since Ryan Moore chose to ride Giovanni Canaletto, and it is true that something in the field may end up having too much pace for him, but if this turns into a true test (and this horse can make that happen from the front), he too looks over-priced at 16/1. It is encouraging that Moore’s initial reaction when he rode the colt to win the Chester Vase was that he was struggling to pull him up after the line so he should gallop all the way to the post here too.
Finally, we can’t desert the horse we tipped for the 2,000 Guineas, MOHEET. Nothing went right for him at Newmarket, but plenty of good judges think the first Classic of the season is still the best trial for this race and Moheet should improve for the step up in trip. If he can handle the track, he could follow Qualify in causing another massive shock.
|Hans Holbein (ew)||4.30 Epsom||16/1||Bet365, Ladbrokes, Titanbet|
|Epicuris (ew)||4.30 Epsom||22/1||Bet365|
|Moheet (ew)||4.30 Epsom||33/1||Bet365, Ladbrokes, Titanbet|
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Investec Private Banking Handicap
Sir Michael Stoute often targets the first race on the card on Derby day and his Stravagante has been heavily backed last night and this morning, but at the prices we prefer the claims of the in form RESONANT, who looks a typically hardened performer from the Mark Johnston yard. He will look to make all here and is certain to be difficult to get by.
Of those at bigger prices, previous course winner MEZAJY makes plenty of appeal as the step up in trip should really suit him. Encouragingly, Ed Walker has his horses in good form.
|Resonant (win)||2.00 Epsom||7/2||Bet365, Ladbrokes, Titanbet|
|Mezajy (ew)||2.00 Epsom||14/1||Bet365, Ladbrokes, Titanbet|
Investec Woodcote Stakes
Richard Hannon’s yard also likes to target this meeting, with the Woodcote always the aim for one of their early season 2 year olds and the well drawn NELSPRUIT has every chance of extending the stable’s outstanding record in the race.
The biggest danger could prove to be the filly, MISS MONEYPENNY, who has a tough draw to overcome, but who will really appreciate the extra furlong she encounters for the first time here.
|Nelspruit (win)||2.35 Epsom||4/1||Bet365, William Hill|
|Miss Moneypenny (ew)||2.35 Epsom||8/1||Bet365, William Hill, Titanbet|
Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’
The day’s big sprint is always a sight to behold with some of the quickest handicappers around hurtling down Epsom’s 5 furlong course, and Clive Cox has two solid chances including Seeking Magic who just got touched off in the race last year. However, we prefer his stablemate, PERFECT MUSE, who is lightly raced enough to still be improving.
A big priced winner here would be no surprise as any of the likes of Duke Of Firenze, Free Zone, Pearl Acclaim and Smoothtalkingrascal could return to form and make a mockery of their current marks.
The same is true of BURNING THREAD and we hope that the return to better ground here could see this horse finally recapture his best form for new trainer David Elsworth.
Finally, the in-form CHICLET should also be backed as he is improving rapidly and could easily prove to be a class above these.
|Perfect Muse (ew)||3.45 Epsom||9/1||Bet365|
|Burning Thread (ew)||3.45 Epsom||40/1||Bet365, Titanbet, Stan James|
|Chiclet (ew)||3.45 Epsom||16/1||Stan James|
Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap
For those lucky enough to still have a few quid in their pockets after the Derby, WAR SINGER should be supported in the Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap.
Johnny Farrelly’s dual purpose performer has been in great nick over hurdles recently and returns to the flat on a workable mark provided the ground hasn’t got too quick for him by late afternoon.
|War Singer (ew)||5.15 Epsom||16/1||Coral|