TV TIPS (SATURDAY) – EPSOM DERBY
Poet’s Word is improving with each run and he finally shed his maiden tag at Nottingham last month. The form of that particular race is beginning to look increasingly better as the likes of Muntahaa, Shraaoh and Indulged have all come out to Frank the form since. With only three runs under his belt there is every likelihood that there is further improvement to come and he has to rank high on any shortlist.
Medburn Dream comes here looking for a four timer but unlike most of these he will be well suited by the rain that has fallen at the track so far this week. He enjoyed a decent prep for this when winning here over a mile back in April and that experience of the camber will stand him in good stead. Cartago is fully entitled to leave his debut run of the season well and truly behind him but connections will be disappointed that the rain has fallen. He has also never won at this ten furlong trip and on that basis he looks a bit short in the market.
Sir Michael Stoute won this with Stravagante last year and with Conduit back in 2008. On both occasions Ryan Moore was the jockey on board and the decision to come here has to be respected. The former champion jockey will need some luck in running given his position in stall two but his improving mount can assist him in getting a decent position. This combination have to be feared in a race that they specialise in and they look the obvious bet here.
POETS WORD (WIN)
MEDBURN DREAM (E/W)
A seven runner field line up for this Group 3 contest where the red-hot favourite and French raider Sayana looks to continue its winning streak on this side of the English Channel. The De Royer-Dupre trained four year old won a listed contest last time out and this lightly raced runner looks a classy type on paper. It’s a shame the horses price is so short but I guess it’s indicative of the horses chances.
Although it doesn’t seem to be a race that’s going to produce much value the best horse in the race is Sayana and as such is the most likely winner.
Of the remaining runners I feel that second place is likely to be fought out between course winner Epsom Icon who, as a two year old has some decent form but its three year old career has been disappointing and five year old Merry Me.
Merry Me has placed in a Group 2 previously and that form looks better than the majority of its rival here however it’s likely to play second fiddle to the favourite.
The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby day add strength and depth to an already fascinating card. The Group 1 contest over the 1m4f trip looks a match up between three main contenders.
Postponed has flourished in his last four starts winning all four and picking up two group 1s and two group 2s in doing so. He signed off a brilliant 2015 for Luca Cumani when winning the King George VI at Ascot, now with Roger Varian, he proved his well being and that he had trained on when landing his last two group race out in Meydan including the Dubai Sheema Classic. Both those victories were on much quicker ground than the forecast good to soft at Epsom today and although the five-year-old bay horse is a likely warm favourite, he may not have it all his own way this afternoon against two worthy adversaries.
The Coolmore team send send their talented four year old filly Found over in search of further Group 1 glory here today. She has possibly thee stand out piece of form in the race with her victory in the Breeders Cup Turf over the legendary Golden Horn and confirmed her well being when landing a group 3 at the Curragh two starts back this term. The worry with this one is the defeats either side of that victory and the latest of those losses in particular where she was firmly put in her place by Fascinating Rock so she may need to settle for a minor place here today.
The one to be on, however, could be Ralph Beckett’s St Leger hero Simple Verse. The four-year-old was a progressive horse last season winning five out of its eight starts as a three-year-old including back to back Group 1s as it ended the season with a spectacular four timer. The talented filly looked as though it needed the run on reappearance when chasing home Sir Michael Stoute Exosphere in the Group 2 Jockey Club stakes at Newmarket and the extra juice in the ground today will only further aid her cause, so she gets the nod in a fascinating renewal at an all too attractive ew price.
SIMPLE VERSE (E/W)
The big handicap on day two of Epsom’s showpiece meeting is The Epsom Dash. Seen as the fastest race in the UK where a cavalry charge race down hill, into the dip and look to keep their head in front come the winning post.
The talking horse in the build up to the race haas been the David Griffiths trained Duke Of Firenze who took this race back in 2013. A change of trainer brought about a change of fortune with a victory last time out. Given a five pound raise for that victory seems relatively fair and is likely to go close once again.
It’s main rivals look to be Maljaa and Seeking Magic, of the two the Roger Varian trained runner looks set to be a big threat. The young and improving horse hasn’t finished outside of the top three in all ten of its career starts. The horse clearly has great consistency and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it finish placed but I just feel stepping up into this class it might have to settle for minor money.
An outsider worth noting is a course and distance winner who finished in mid-division in this race last year. However that eleventh placed finish was off a ten pound higher mark in the handicap. Normal Equilibrium comes from a yard renowned for their abilities with sprinting type and Robert Cowell may have gotten this horse primed and ready for another crack at a venue it’s had success at before and is definitely worth noting.
Of the remainder a small mention to bottom weight Sandfrankskipsgo as trainer Peter Crate has done well in this race previously.
DUKE OF FIRENZE (E/W)
NORMAL EQUILLIBRIUM (E/W)
This year’s renewal of one of the most iconic and world renowned races in the sport promises to be the most wide open contests in years.
As a result there are a number of strong contenders who could make their presence felt.
The master himself, Sir Michael Stoute, is no stranger to Derby success having won it previously with the likes of Workforce, Shergar, Kris Kin and North Light. He lines up two with Across The Stars and Ulysses, but the latter looks to be the stable’s principal contender this year. This nicely bred colt made such a nice impression when romping to a wide-margin maiden success over 1m2f on only his third start. He shapes likes the extra two furlongs will be right up his alley and the track will pose no problems for a trainer who certainly knows what is required to get the job done in the Epsom feature. The booking of the very capable Andrea Atzeni in the saddle by the stable is a shrewd move with him having classic success only last season with Simple Verse in the St Leger. The horse has come in for some heavy support since its maiden success at Newbury and even the form of his second place behind Imperial Aviator has been given a major boost after the horse was supplemented for the French Derby on Sunday. The trainer was very bullish in a recent interview about the chances so with more improvement expected over the trip, he should go close at healthy looking each way price so gets the nod.
Dermot Weld’s Harzand has came in for some recent antepost support as raceday approaches and his odds have halved in the last seven days alone. The powerful connections along with the capable Pat Smullen in the saddle means this is definitely one to take notice of. The horse left its sole green run as a two year old well behind when romping to a wide margin maiden success before a workmanlike win in a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown. Both those wins over 1m2f were on heavier ground so both the rain this week and the step up in distance should be in his favour and he may be the one to give the selection the most to do.
French raider Cloth of Stars for the Godolphin team looks another one who can run a big race for the same connections of 2011 Derby hero Pour Moi. Trainer Andre Fabre and jockey Mikael Barzalona reunite in search of further glory. Their three-year-old is unbeaten in two starts this year both over shorter distances, but those runs suggest the step up should be in his favour. The main worry for him is his hold up style and he may meet some traffic problems coming from the rear late on.
Others who could take a hand in a wide open contest include John Gosden’s Wings of Desire with 2015 winning jockey Frankie Dettori on board as well as the unbeaten Coolmore hope US Ranger for Ryan Moore, but each of these are probably now too short in the market relative to their chances.
One who could run a big race at a massive price, however, is David Simcock’s Algometer. The capable Jim Crowley takes the ride for this one and the horse looked every bit a 1m4f horse in two starts this season so far. He drew well clear of the remainder when chasing home Midterm in the Sandown Classic trial, the form of that race hasn’t worked out with the capitulation of that rival in the Derby running, but he confirmed his improvement for the longer distance when winning over 1m3f at Goodwood. He won’t mind the going at all and can out run his massive double figure price and is definitely worth an additional each way play.
LISTEN TO THE THOUGHTS OF “THE VALUERATER” ON THIS YEARS DERBY
GET READY FOR ROYAL ASCOT AND GRAB AN ANTEPOST LUCKY 15 THAT PAYS £6,000 AND ALL COMPLETELY FREE