It’s Derby day and the ITV cameras are showing all eight races from an intriguing card from Epsom where following extensive watering throughout the week the ground should be riding perfectly with the official report reading as good. I’ve some strong fancies in the last three handicaps today so here are my expert horse racing tips to beat the bookies.
The day kicks off with the Group 3 Betfred Diomed Stakes run over 1M 113 yards.
The one to beat has to be the Godolphin horse Highland Avenue. He’s been a talented horse over the years and it’s his latest effort which makes him a stand out pick here. He appeared to be used as a pacemaker for the re-appearing 2021 Derby winner Adayar at Newmarket in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes last month keeping on well to finish third to his stablemate beaten 3L, just 1/2L behind the runner-up Anmaat with Sir Michael Stoute’s Regal Reality some 11L further back in fourth. Anmaat was out last week in France winning a Group 1 and that looks like a good piece of form, certainly better than anything his opponents have mustered in recent times.
Handicap ratings have David O’Meara’s Escobar only a pound behind the favourite but he’s best in big-field handicaps and was soundly beaten in this contest last season.
Imperial Fighter is out of form and Marie’s Diamond has a stone to find with Highland Avenue whilst the only three-year-old in the field Kolsai may be the one to chase Highland Avenue home.
The only negative against the favourite is the stable form of Charlie Appleby who (up to racing on Thursday) had had just 4 winners from his last 32 runners which by his standards is pretty poor.
HIGHLAND AVENUE 1 point win @ 5/4 with BetVictor promo code
This year’s Derby is run earlier than normal due to avoiding a clash with the FA Cup Final and let’s hope there are no issues with the Animal Rising hooligans who are planning to disrupt the great race. Run over 1M 4F we have a stellar field of 14 for this year’s renewal.
Aidan O’Brien struck top form last weekend when winning with Guineas disappointment Little Big Bear and Paddington in the Irish 2000 Guineas and will be hoping that Auguste Rodin can also bounce back from his flop in the 2000 Guineas. He obviously could but at the current prices, he’s impossible to put up after his lacklustre effort there for whatever reason.
The Dante at York is always the best trial in my opinion and the best of the three that ran that day may well be Sir Michael Stoute’s Passenger. On a day in which Richard Kingscote would like to forget (Astro King anyone!), he constantly ran into trouble and was flying when finally extracted to finish third to the winner The Foxes beaten only 1 1/2L. Would he have won? It’s hard to tell but that was only his second-ever start and improvement is highly likely here stepping up a furlong and a half. He was supplemented for this at the cost of £85,000 and is on the shortlist for the team that took the race last year.
Charlie Appleby’s Military Order, as a full brother to the 2021 winner Adayar, has to be respected. He’s done more coming into the race than his brother did when winning this a couple of years ago with the only negative for me the form of the stable who just aren’t firing on all cylinders.
Arrest would be a fairytale result for Frankie Dettori riding in his last Epsom Derby before retirement and that is a distinct possibility. However, he could have done with easier ground. If you like Arrest then surely it’s worth backing Charlie Johnstone’s Dubai Mile who beat him at Saint-Cloud last Autumn over 10F and had an ideal prep for this when running a credible 5th in the 2000 Guineas. It’s baffling that he’s twice the price of Arrest and has to be part of the staking plan along with Passenger.
Don’t forget to check out my fellow expert tipster Karl Hedley’s Betfred Epsom Derby tips article. An intriguing race, as always, let the best horse win!
PASSENGER 1 point each way @ 6/1 with William Hill promo code (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
DUBAI MILE 1 point each way @ 16/1 with Betfred promo code (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
Just the six go to post for the 1M 113 yards Princess Elizabeth Stakes, a Group 3 contest for fillies and mares only.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Potapova ran second in this last year but her latest run and re-appearance was blighted by an irregular heartbeat with Ryan Moore pulling her up at Goodwood. It’s hard to fancy her after that effort.
Half a length behind Potapova last year was the Archie Watson trainer Roman Mist who ran out a good winner of the listed contest at Goodwood that Potapova pulled up in a month ago on heavy ground. This looks tougher mind and has 11lb to find with favourite and most likely winner Prosperous Voyage.
Ralph Beckett’s four-year-old Prosperous Voyage, a winner here as a two-year-old, kept top company last season finishing runner-up in the 1000 Guineas and causing an upset in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting when defeating Inspiral at 16/1. The ground was probably against her on her re-appearance when only 5th of 9 in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on soft ground and back on a sounder surface and dropped in class looks like the one they all have to beat.
Ed Walker’s Random Harvest has to shoulder a 3lb penalty which will make this tough for her whilst the ground surely isn’t soft enough for Pam Sly’s flag bearer Astral Beau.
The Gosden’s Shaara hated the ground last time and has featured promisingly in gallop reports since she might be the one to outrun her odds and chase the favourite home.
PROSPEROUS VOYAGE 2 points win @ 7/4 with BetVictor
A new race for the card is the class 3 three years only 5F ‘Dash’ handicap with fourteen declared for this inaugural contest. There are plenty of horses with chances here including Salisbury one-two Estate and Betweenthesticks from a week ago and there shouldn’t be much between that pair at the revised terms although that was a class 5 handicap and this looks tougher especially now they have both been re-assessed.
The one I like here is the John Quinn-trained Jm Jungle who stepped up his form when tackling fast ground for the first time this season when runner up at York in a competitive class 3 handicap a fortnight ago with Miss Brazen and Tatterstall back in 6th and 7th respectively. He’s been raised 4lb for that fine effort and with his trainer doing so well at this track looks like the one to be on here with Jason Hart on board.
The interesting one in the field is the Roger Varian-trained Russet Gold who we haven’t seen since last October having been gelded since. With Harry Davies, who still claims 3lb, on top booked he’s one to watch carefully in the betting.
JM JUNGLE 1 point each way @ 6/1 with William Hill (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
The traditional Derby day cavalry charge is up next with twenty speedsters declared for the class 2 Dash Handicap run over 5F with the downhill track on fast ground likely to produce a real spectacle and a very fast time.
Last year’s runner-up Mountain Peak is one of two Ed Walker runners here (the other being Came From The Dark who would prefer easier ground) and can run well despite his poor effort last time out at York ( a track he’s never run that well at).
Clarendon House is another with claims having had excuses for his latest effort when a fine 5th at York losing a shoe during the race. Also there with a chance are the consistent Lihou, trained by sprint specialist David Evans and ridden by Hollie Doyle who can turn the tables on his recent conqueror Angle Land on 4lb better terms for 3/4L.
David & Nicola Barron’s Zarzyni is also on my short list having dropped to a mark 5lb lower than his last winning one and wasn’t disgraced at York last week.
The draw has seen winners coming from all across the track so I’m not getting bogged down with that and I will look for the best horse. Hopefully, that might be Ian Williams’s Mokaatil whose form figures at this specialist track reads 41110 which includes victory in this very race in 2021 and a credible 4th last year.
His jockey is the Irish Sean D Bowen (not to be confused with the jump jockey!) who is a new name to me but has won on 13 of his 272 mounts in his native country and gets to claim the full allowance of 7lb here which puts Mokaatil on a mark of 78 which is 4lb less than his win two years ago and 9lb less than last year’s 4th. With the cobwebs blown away with a run at Newmarket 7 weeks ago on unsuitable easy ground, he looks sure to run well in a wide-open sprint handicap.
MOKAATIL 1 point each way @ 12/1 with William Hill (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
A maximum field of 14 goes to post for this class 2 10F Betfred Lester Piggott Handicap for three-year-olds only for which I think there’s a decent each-way bet.
Ralph Beckett’s Balance Play looks thrown in on his handicap debut here off of 81 having finished runner-up to the subsequent winner Quddwah at Salisbury a month ago. The winner has won again since and is now rated 95 whilst the third that day Greek Order has also won since and is now rated 85. Nicely drawn in stall 6 this 280,000 guineas yearling by Lope De Vega will be ridden by Andrea Atzeni and looks excellent each-way value with firms paying an extra place.
As one would expect in a race of this nature there are plenty of dangers lurking including Charlie Hills’ Lose Your Wad who, like the selection, is also making his handicap debut with his form already working out well and with a future Group entry at Royal Ascot further enhancing his claims.
John and Thady Gosden saddle a brace of runners with Torito (handicap debut) preferred from soft ground Ascot winner Maasai Mara whilst the Sir Michael Stoute runner Fox Journey is going the right way having won at Newmarket last time but now is 9lb higher in the handicap.
Balance Play is a confident each-way bet.
BALANCE PLAY 1 1/2 points each way @ 7/1 with Bet365 bonus code (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
Only 9 have declared for this 1M 4F class 2 handicap. Max Mayhem was a winner on his stable debut for Kevin Philippart De Foy in the valuable Roseberry Handicap at Kempton on the all-weather in April and off of just a 4lb higher mark has definite claims today.
Scampi was a 16/1 winner for Hayley Turner and Andrew Balding at York last time but is now upped 6lb and has to race off of his highest-ever handicap mark.
Sir Mark Prescott has his string in excellent form currently and his representative Sea King sporting first-time cheekpieces is another with claims but this can go to the David Menuisier-trained Caius Chorister who racked up a five-timer last summer including two course and distance wins on fast ground bringing her track form figures to 112.
She ran well on ground that may not have suited on her re-appearance in the City And Suburban Handicap here over a trip on the short side when runner-up to Bad Company and one would think this race has been the target since especially with Ryan Moore booked. Her future entry in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot later in the month may not be too much of a pipe dream where she to win here off of 99 and is a strong fancy.
CAIUS CHORISTER 2 points win @ 3/1 with Bet365
The day finishes with a class 2 6F handicap with another maximum field of 14 going to post.
Jennie Candlish’s Probe won nicely at Newmarket a month ago with Apollo One back in fourth (7lb better off here for 3 1/2L) and even with a 7lb rise can be competitive from a favourable draw in 4 whilst Hughie Morrison’s Haymaker comes here having won at Windsor 12 days ago and has to race off of a 4lb higher handicap mark today.
Robert Eddery has his small string in decent form and saddles his Spring Bloom here who was last seen winning at Newmarket a fortnight ago and a 4lb rise may not stop him being competitive.
The horse I’m keen on though is last year’s victor Mr Wagyu who has a remarkable record in June and July of 15 wins from 30 starts for a level £1 stakes profit at SP of £69.35 (with 10 other times hitting the frame as well) as opposed to his record outside of those months which reads 0 from 43. John Quinn’s eight-year came out of stall 12 last year when winning so hopefully a wide draw of 11 won’t be too much of a hindrance. His latest run at York when 7th to Bielsa proved he’s on the way back and off of a handicap mark only 2lb higher than last year’s win can further his fantastic summer record under regular rider Jason Hart.
MR WAGYU 1 point each way @ 5/1 with Paddy Power promo code (Paying 4 places at 1/5 odds)
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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