O’BRIEN HAS 6, GOSDEN 5 FOR DERBY GRAB: A field of 19 increases the competitive edge for Saturday’s Epsom showdown but nearly 60% of those declared represent a head-on of master trainers Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden for the £1,624,000 prizemoney, with O’Brien fielding six and Gosden five.
TODAY & SATURDAY: DAQMAN REALITY CHECK: Here’s Daqman’s ABC Guide to the Derby runners. Don’t miss his Oaks verdict tomorrow (ABC in the Archive yesterday) and his Derby special on Saturday as he knocks down Fake News on the race!
BIG FIELD OF 19 FOR THE DERBY
4.30 Derby Stakes (Epsom Saturday) ABC GUIDE
A Officially rated 109 to 121
B Won or placed Group race or key trial
C Stallion progeny average win distance 9.1f to 11.8f
D One to three races as 2yo and won 7f minimum
E Trainer a champion: O’Brien, Gosden, Fabre, Stoute
X Sired by Galileo, Montjeu or Cape Cross
By Derby winner High Chaparral, with bags of stamina on the dam’s side. Beat consistent yardstick Salouen in the Feilden Stakes, but beaten six lengths (eased) by Permian at Newmarket (‘he must have had a day off that day,’ quipped Frankie Dettori).
Broke the track record when winning the Cocked Hat Stakes trial at Goodwood but that hasn’t gone to a Derby winner since Troy in 1979.
Also by High Chaparral, improved with switch to Joseph O’Brien, beating Douglas Macarthur and Capri in the Ballysax, and fourth behind Permian and Benbatl in the Dante.
Had beaten Yucatan (subsequent Racing Post Trophy winner) in the Beresford as a juvenile, and then finished third in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Best Solution second with Douglas Macarthur fourth).
Yucatan has been withdrawn from Saturday’s field, but Capri was reckoned the medium of a gamble with one bookmaker this week, and others shortened him up as a result.
ABCEX Douglas Macarthur
Another Galileo, brother to Oaks winner Was. A sleepy horse with a massive engine, was how they described him as a two-year-old.
Showed what a good mover he is on his return (second) in the Ballysax before making virtually all to take the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown (good to firm) from Yucatan and Capri.
ABCEX The Anvil
Fair efforts as a juvenile behind Glencadam Glory and Best Solution but took a step forward when third to Venice Beach in the Chester Vase.
By Galileo out of a Rainbow Quest mare so should have bags of stamina, and probable St Leger type.
ABCEX Venice Beach
Surprise top of the pile. Chester Vase winner from a modest field, ticks all the boxes, and is half-brother to King George and Arc heroine Danedream. But said to be a lazy horse, babyish and still with a lot to learn.
Danedream herself did not blossom until her eighth appearance, winning the Italian Oaks, then blooming quickly to take the 2011 Arc, winning the King George the following season. So get your towel on the Beach. His day in the sun is not far away.
ABC Wings Of Eagles
Fourth when Permian was third in the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket as a juvenile. Divided Venice Beach and The Anvil in the Chester Vase. Sire was a French winner of the Derby.
Son of Frankel and dam’s side also suggests his stamina is limited but, after he won the Epsom Derby Trial, Frankie Dettori saw the extra quarter-mile as ‘no problem’.
The second horse, Permian, is unbeaten since, including in the Dante Stakes, a regular pointer to Derby success. The fourth horse, Rekindled, had beaten Douglas Macarthur in the Ballysax.
Staying on third to Eminent in the Craven Stakes, improving a total of 16lb by stepping up again, second to Permian in the Dante. Likes cut in the ground.
From small stable having a fine season. Strong in the finish to win the Craven Stakes (Benbatl third) and staying on sixth to Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas.
No wonder this colt looks exposed. He has form or collateral form with a whole bunch of these. Fourth to Best Solution at Goodwood last year; second in the Lagardere to Prix Djebel runner-up National Defense (the Djebel winner, Al Wukair, was third in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas). Finally last year, third in the Racing Post Trophy to another good yardstick, Rivet.
Then in April he brought all that to play in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket and – always held – was beaten a neck by Khalidi.
AB Best Solution
Second on soft to Waldgeist (withdrawn) in Criterium De Saint-Cloud and went clear, eased, when beating Glencadam Glory in the Lingfield Derby Trial.
One of several late improvers in this, only short-headed by Cracksman in the Epsom Derby Trial before keeping on strongly to overhaul Benbatl in the Dante Stakes.
BCDEX Cliffs Of Moher
Only three runs in his life. Ran away with his maiden, second of two quick runs in October. But still green and needed rousting up before revealing strong turn of foot in the Chester Vase in May, beating Bay Of Poets, who was about the same distance behind Cracksman in the Epsom Derby Trial and is now one of Sunday’s French Derby favourites.
BCDE Glencadam Glory
Hooded and led to start, finished well in Lingfield Derby Trial, second to Best Solution. Late developing son of Nathaniel who still has his quirks.
C Dubai Thunder
Once raced but he’s got class and a serious engine, according to the jockey who rode him 10 lengths clear in his Newbury maiden.
Turned over at 6-1 on at Wolverhampton in April but must have learned something by May 8 when he ran out 19 lengths winner of Southwell maiden, albeit in class 5, some eight grades below this.
DE Crowned Eagle
Half brother to Group-2 winners Eagle Top and The Lark and raised 12lb for all-the-way Windsor win, albeit in class 5, and clearly improving.
C Diore Lia
No form to speak of. Quoted up to 2,000-1 until a few ponies and tenners frightened the layers into a Leicester City spin.
DOWAYLA HAS HER ASCOT HAT ON
3.50 Wolverhampton A strong-looking race for a class-4 handicap and, indeed, recent last-day winners Me Too Nagasaki and Pavilion both drop a grade, so should be thereabouts if they can hold their form.
But Saeed Bin Suroor has a massive strike-rate here and, by applying cheekpieces to the filly Dowayla, seemingly intends to save face for entering her in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.
This is a ‘must win’ even if she’s only half the filly they thought she was. An easy open market in a 109% overround with Dowayla 5.5 in the BETDAQ orange at the time of writing.
6.20 Newcastle Forecast 10-1 and 14-1, depending on which paper you buy, Omotesando was in to 6.0 on BETDAQ early mouse on his first run for Oliver Greenall.
Greenall is striking at 60% at the new Newcastle, up to 67% when Kevin Stott rides, and this is his only runner today.
6.45 Fairyhouse This is similar to the Dowayla situation, with Oaks entries at Cork and The Curragh requiring Aidan O’Brien’s Power filly Poppit to get off the mark in this.
A 6.0 offer on BETDAQ early mouse, so you might fancy a win-and-place bet. But, unless they are part of an O’Brien swarm attack, I back them to win as sole representatives under 10.0.
7.15 Fairyhouse On the last four occasions Johnny Murtagh has booked Pat Smullen to ride, the results have been 1123 and, since he’s visored Imbucato (9.0 on BETDAQ) for his first handicap tonight, the combination must be planning to go close again.
7.40 Chelmsford What happens to Pavilion in that 3.50 Wolver race could indicate the winner of this. Illaunmore was third to that one here at Chelmsford on the last day.
And her trainer, John Gosden, who won this race with a three-year-old last year, is 6-7 in handicaps on the course. But it’s a cracking little contest, which could be run tactically.
Spatial led for much of the way in the Fillies Mile, won by Rhododendron, who had to be ridden out to beat Amabilis at Goodwood last July. But which filly has grown up over the winter?
BET 4.4pts win (nap) DOWAYLA (3.50 Wolverhampton)
BET 8pts win ROTHERWICK (4.10 Lingfield)
BET 4pt win and place OMOTESANDO (6.20 Newcastle)
BET 4pts win POPPIT (6.45 Fairyhouse)
BET 2.5pts win and place IMBUCATO (7.15 Fairyhouse)
BET 7.5pts win SPATIAL (7.40 Chelmsford)
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