It is Derby day at Epsom and despite the thunder and lightning during a dramatic Oaks yesterday the ground has dried out to good to firm in places overnight.
It looks just about the most open renewal of the world’s greatest flat race for at least the last 10 years and the contest lacks a real superstar.
The fact that arguably the two best trainers in the business, John Gosden and Aiden O’Brien, are throwing so many darts at the race suggests that neither is confident they have a truly top class performer in their ranks and would Gosden have agreed to some of his owners supplementing Khalidi if he thought Cracksman had the race sewn up?
All in all, there has to be every chance of a real shock, but where might it come from?
Of the fancied runners we like EMINENT the most. The Guineas has often been the best trial for the Derby and this horse arguably brings the best form into the race having been a respectable sixth at Newmarket. This trip will surely suit him better and he impressed during a gallop here on the Breakfast With The Stars morning.
However, we also think it is worth backing three at monster prices in the hope that one hits the frame at least.
The trio in question are CROWNED EAGLE, WINGS OF EAGLES and SALOUEN.
Crowned Eagle is very well bred and looks progressive. He easily won a handicap last time out and whilst that wouldn’t usually be good enough form to bring into a Derby this isn’t an average year.
Wings Of Eagles isn’t the highest profile of the O’Brien runners but we saw again in the Oaks yesterday that he can have runners hit the frame in these Classics at big prices. This horse has looked very green in a number of his starts, which suggests there is more to come and he ran well in the Chester Vase on his return.
Salouen looks ready for this step up in trip and wasn’t far behind Khalidi on his return at Newmarket. His trainer, Sylvester Kirk, thinks he wasn’t fully fit that day and they have clearly been gearing his preparations around this big day. Kirk does well with his runners here.
Sky Bet are offering 5 places for each-way bets on the Epsom Derby 2017.
|Eminent (ew)||4.30 Epsom||8/1||Sky Bet|
|Crowned Eagle (ew)||4.30 Epsom||50/1||Stan James|
|Wings Of Eagles (ew)||4.30 Epsom||50/1||Stan James|
|Salouen (ew)||4.30 Epsom||40/1||Stan James|
Princess Elizabeth Stakes
The first horse to back on the rest of the card is CROWNING GLORY, who looks a decent each way bet in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes.
She has won over course and distance before, which is an obvious plus. She also wasn’t beaten far by hot favourite Laugh Aloud when the two clashed two starts back. That horse is odds-on here, whilst our selection can be backed at 33/1.
Last year’s winner, EPSOM ICON, is the other one to back in the hope that returning here rekindles her enthusiasm.
|Crowning Glory (ew)||2.35 Epsom||33/1||Bet365|
|Epsom Icon (ew)||2.35 Epsom||12/1||Bet365|
Investec Diomed Stakes
Next up is the Diomed Stakes and we think William Buick can pull off the same front running tactics on FOLKSWOOD that saw him win on G K Chesterton in the same colours yesterday. This horse has been running consistently well over further this season, but has plenty of speed and looks ready for this slight drop back in trip.
With the dead eight going to post, CUSTOM CUT, with his proven course form, also looks an each way bet to nothing.
|Folkswood (win)||3.10 Epsom||7/2||Bet365|
|Custom Cut (ew)||3.10 Epsom||9/1||Bet365|
Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ Handicap
The big handicap of the day is the Dash at 3.45pm where 20 runners will thunder down one of the fastest 5f strips in world racing. The winner will need plenty of luck in running as well as speed, and those drawn high have tended to have the edge in recent renewals.
DESERT LAW is drawn 9 and that is probably just high enough to enable him to come across to the favoured stands side. He looks to have been laid out for this after winning nicely on his comeback at Musselburgh. He won this in 2015 and is still 12lbs below his highest ever rating.
We also like the in form EXCESSABLE who has won his last two starts and looks back to the best form of his two year old days, whilst of those at monster prices EXCEED THE LIMIT is of interest for sprint king Robert Cowell, who has his yard in fine shape. He has a great berth in stall 17.
Duke Of Frienze, Bowson Fred and Edward Lewis were also on the shortlist.
Sky Bet are offering 6 places for each-way bets on this race.
|Desert Law (ew)||3.45 Epsom||10/1||Stan James, Coral|
|Excessable (ew)||3.45 Epsom||14/1||Coral|
|Exceed The Limit (ew)||3.45 Epsom||25/1||Sky Bet|