The biggest race of the flat season is upon us with the Epsom Derby, as well as The Oaks on a big Saturday of racing. Sam Boswell previews both races and picks out his top tips.
Epsom offers us some fantastic sport today – we start by looking at the Oaks which perhaps seems to lack the strength in depth that we have come to expect from the Group One race. For all it is hard to see past the front two in the market at the prices, it means we have to look at playing from a win only perspective. Love, at the time of writing, is the favourite over Royal Ascot winner Frankly Darling. Personally, I am much keener to be with the 1000 Guineas winner than Frankie Dettori’s mount. We saw plenty of ante post support for her to win the Oaks prior to her win at Newmarket. She looks to my eye with her style and pace to be the perfect type to step up in trip and give her trainer yet another group one win at Epsom.
Russian Emperor E/W
Whilst the date of this race has moved and we have no crowd, the most important flat race of the season, The Derby, is still able to take place at Epsom. The Derby really is a brilliant test of the horse and this year’s renewal has seen many plot twists already with both rider bookings and the draw making headlines. Frankie Dettori has ended up with the ride on long-time favourite English King. the Lingfield Trial winner looked very classy that day and had been a popular pick. The draw in stall one, which has only produced three winners since 1967, is probably the biggest factor in his small drift recently and would be of concern to his backers. For all he was very good at Lingfield, I was happy to take him on at the prices, and the 2000 Guineas winner Kameko is an interesting contender.
Having won what looks a good renewal of the first classic of the season I can understand why people will be backing him. That said I am just not sure on his likelihood to be at his best over this trip, the draw may put a few off too in 11 but for me I just think he will be at his best over shorter. With the front two ruled out in the betting, we come onto the runners from Aiden O’Brien’s team. As ever all his Derby runners deserve respect. I put Russian Emperor up at a huge 33/1 earlier in the season and I have no reason to desert the 6/1 shot now. His Ascot win showed to me he will love going further in trip. I am not overly concerned about Ryan Moore picking Mogul, he has a tricky draw and, on the form book, I would rather go back in on Russian Emperor again each way again.