Good morning all,
As expected, I didn’t manage to get media accreditation for Epsom but I did get second prize, a trip to Market Rasen today! Hurrah! You all know me well enough to know I’m more than happy with a visit to deepest Lincolnshire, I love a bit of Rasen!
However, I shall cover today’s TV races at Epsom on the main piece. Even I’m not so stubborn as to write up Rasen today…
2.00 Epsom – Woodcote Stakes
An interesting start to the meeting. Goes without saying that any number of thee could improve a chunk today, and I think the best thing I can do is go with Dusky Prince, impressive enough on his debut at Brighton when he looked green, and already in need of 6f. After getting a little outpaced on the downhill run, he picked up in great style once he hit the rising ground and won going right away.
The form of that isn’t anything to write home about, but he can only improve, you feel, and having won at Brighton, it’ll help him as far as the demands of this tricky track goes.
Dairerin has the best form in the race and the two contests he’s raced in are both working out well enough, but he’s going to have to cope with quicker ground here. If he handles it, he’s the one to beat, but his price looks short enough.
2.35 Epsom – 1m½f Handicap
Placepotters need look no further than the ever-consistent Mostawaa, who simply doesn’t know how to run a bad race and regularly contests these good handicaps. His latest fourth at York has already been boosted by the eighth winning next time out, and although the handicapper has him where he wants him, he looks sure to run a good race once again.
The Epsom form on show belongs to the bottom pair, Corazon Espinado (a regular at this fixture) and Mythical Madness, but the former looks high enough in the handicap and the latter just looks a shadow of himself. So, rather reluctantly, I find myself looking at the favourite, Irish Admiral, as very hard to beat. Unexposed, he ran a cracker to finish second to Surrey Pride over 2f further at York, travelling best, and he’s done well to get away with only a pound rise. I don’t see the drop back in trip being an issue and I could see this one getting backed off the boards today.
3.10 Epsom – Coronation Cup
It has the look of a match on paper, although Mogul and Albaflora have outside claims, but Al Aasy and Japan look the two to concentrate on.
And I have to say I find the prices something of a surprise. I’d literally have the two of them much closer, as Al Aasy, for all he has won easily, has beaten horses on his last two starts that would be 33s and 50s if they were in here. Thunderous is good, but he’s not G1, and Without A Fight was well held behind Albaflora at Ascot on his next start. That form does not entitle him to be an odds-on chance here, for all that he’s improving quickly.
Compare that to the company Japan has been keeping for the last eighteen months – Enable, Ghaiyyath, Magical, Addeybb – genuine Group 1 horses – and you can see why I think they aren’t as far apart as the betting suggests. His third to the aforementioned Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse last year is as good a piece of form as anything in the race, and given he’s usually needed a run or two to grease the gears each season, it was pleasing to see him get the better of Trueshan at Chester, given the latter had his ground. At the prices, I prefer Japan.
3.45 – 1m2f Handicap
The temptation is to default towards Data Protection, who I put up for this last year and he ran a cracker to finish a close fourth to Sky Defender (who also rocks up for this again) but, he’ll need another step forward on what he did at Chester last time, good as it was, and I think he’ll find something too good for him.
That might be Blue Cup. He hit more traffic than I did coming back from Leicester on Tuesday when fifth on his reappearance here in April, finishing with plenty of running left in him, but he was badly overbet off the back of that at Sandown and disappointed after pulling hard. On goes the hood then, and Oisin takes over from Ryan, so that might be enough for punters to give him one more try. They may well be right, but at a bigger price I’ll take a swing at You’re Hired.
On the face of it he has a bit to do, having finished fifth in this last year, but he’s a little better off at the weights with those that finished in front of him and more importantly, comes here fresh this year whereas last time he’d already had a run (a winning one) at Newmarket three weeks before. His record after a 200+ day break reads 10231, and this mark looks workable given his fourth off 1lb higher in the Cambridgeshire last September. With extra places on offer, he’ll do for me.
4.30 – Oaks
Plenty of likely improvers and this is, as usual, tricky to try and solve. I totally get the cases for Santa Barbara and Snowfall but of the O’Brien battalion, I like the chances of Divinely best. She possibly didn’t get the best of rides when fourth in the Lingfield trial but gave the impression there was plenty more to come from her, and if a drop of rain does fall Thursday night (it might, it might not…) then so much the better her chances.
Of the front ones it’s Roger Varian’s Teona I like best. Given how much went wrong for her at York (she got upset in the stalls, then walked out of them, then started pulling) I’m amazed she was able to throw down any sort of a challenge at all, and in the circumstances I think she did pretty well. It is no surprise to see the hood go on – the dam, Ambivalent, badly needed one (and, incidentally, won the first time she tried one) and if she settles better here, I think we’ll see the real Teona.
Those wanting a go at something at a big price with extra places could give Ocean Road a try. She looks a thorough stayer on her Lingfield third and ultimately might want a bit further than this in time, but she’s yet to tackle good ground, which could bring about further improvement, and you’re getting Oisin on top for your money as well. Plenty there for a 33s poke.
Today's selection – You're Hired e/w 3.45 Epsom
Good luck with all your bets today,