Epsom Derby Day, and the London masses will descend onto the Downs to witness the big race from the newly named Poundland Hill, the most truly epic bit of brand destruction since Gerald Ratner’s honest appraisal of his jewellery products.
As for the big race (1630 BST), it features massed ranks of Aidan O’ Brian (6 runners) vs John Gosden (5). Of the favourites, Cliffs of Moher’s Galileo breeding needs no confirmation with respect to Derby winners, whilst Cracksman’a and Eminent’s Frankel bloodline should work, but remains unproven at this stage.
We prefer to play in the margins and look for the annual runner that hits the frame at huge odds. Both trainers have some interesting outsiders. We will take a big chance that stoutly bred stayer Glencadam Glory can start with the others (he has been tardy in the past). Likely to be held up (on purpose or through equine choice!), he can stay on better than most at huge odds. Rekindling looks best of the Irish outsiders.
The 5f Dash (1545) is packed full of course specialists. Duke of Firenze and Kimberella are both fancied having filled the frame in this event last year, but both are significantly higher in the weights today.
We prefer the veteran 9yo Desert Law under the stylish Oisin Murphy. He has run at this course twice, both in editions of this race, finishing second in 2012 and winning in 2015. He is just 5lbs higher than that win, and showed great form when sluicing home on his Musselburgh seasonal debut. He can lay just off the usual lightening pace and given some luck in running should have a big say in the closing stages.
The closing 6f sprint handicap features last year’s runaway winner Blaine, who was right back to his best when winning last time, He is now though 11lbs higher than last year, and the trainer has reached for a 7lb claiming jockey.
Naggers did us a favour when winning last time, and is up to defying the 10lb subsequent weight rise, but he might need the ground to soften up to show his absolute best.
We’ll take a chance with last year’s beaten favourite George Bowen. He met trouble trying to come from off the pace that day, and although soundly beaten by Blaine, he gets a mammoth 23lbs weight swing, and yet ran well enough to suggest this course could be suitable. He hasn’t quite clicked yet in three runs this year without running badly, and may just be a very backable price today.
Glencadam Glory, (1630 Epsom), 0.5pts each way, 40/1, 1st 5 places, Skybet
Desert Law, (1545 Epsom), 1pt win, 10/1, Coral
George Bowen, (1750 Epsom), 1pt win, 8/1 generally available
Desert Law & George Bowen, 0.5pts each way double,
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