Epsom Derby Festival Betting Tips – Day Two
The Cazoo Derby is the race that every jockey, trainer and owner wants to win - the most important race in the calendar for the thoroughbred industry. Saturday is Derby-day at Epsom as the best three-year-old colts in Europe descend on the famous Surrey Downs looking to claim the world's most iconic Classic race and a piece of history. Action at Epsom is from 2.00pm-5.50pm with seven races in all and The Racing Post brings you their betting tips and selections to steer punters through the Derby-day card.
2.00 - World Pool At The tote Handicap (1m2f)
There was no shame in finishing second to the progressive Bay Bridge at Newbury three weeks ago on handicap bow for King Frankel. Mark Johnston's colt was, in turn, some way clear of the remainder that afternoon and is clearly a talent. It wouldn't be a big shock to see him going one better now, even allowing for a chunky 6lb rise handed down on foot of that silver medal last time.
There's more progress in him but so, too, should that be said of PATIENT DREAM for Ralph Beckett. The gelded son of Al Kazeem reappeared with a win here in April over 1m½f on good ground, always in a handy position throughout and looking strong at the finish. He beat seven rivals that afternoon and five of them have been in the winners' enclosure since. This longer trip promises to suit and champion jockey Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle now. Epsom experience is another big positive and this promising sort can defy his 7lb rise to score again here.
Greatgadigan and Chase The Dollar are capable of further improvement, the latter being a stablemate of King Frankel and one of three for the yard here - with King Zain completing the Johnston trio.
Freak Out has twice finished second in three runs this term at the mile and looks the sort to improve over this distance. He sports a pair of cheekpieces for the first time and has a positive jockey booking in Tom Marquand.
2.35 - Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Fillies' and Mares' Group 3, 1m½f)
Lots to ponder in what looks a very open Group 3 heat, with any strong betting moves likely to be significant. At an early price of around 9/2, there's plenty to like about Martyn Meade's STATEMENT.
The Lawman filly twice finished second in maidens at Newmarket and Sandown in August last year before getting on the scoresheet at Newbury (6½f, heavy) in October on her final start in a race that worked out well.
Her seasonal return came at the same venue in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes over 7f in April and saw her short-headed by the smart Alcohol Free. They both headed for Newmarket and the 1000 Guineas last month. Alcohol Free was a close fifth after taking her time, while Statement faded to be eighth having perhaps done too much in getting involved with the early pace. It's certainly conceivable she's better than that effort and, dropped in class, a big challenge is expected based on that Newbury form and in receipt of her 3YO allowance.
Posted didn't run up to her best in a Newmarket Group 2 over slightly further early last month, though Richard Hannon's five-year-old could easily be all the better for that run now. She's got the ability to get involved, while Parent's Prayer is proven to hold her own in this company.
Nazuna had a forgettable trip to the Breeders' Cup in November but Roger Varian's filly is talented and should soon leave that behind. She needs to be sharp on this seasonal bow, ceding fitness to plenty of these rivals.
The key dangers may come from Illykato and Maamora. The former was well behind Statement at Newbury on comeback but improved since to land a Goodwood Listed race over a mile with a late surge. Mick Channon will hope there's more to come.
Maamora set the pace in that same contest and eventually faded to fifth (beaten less than a length-and-a-half). She won in this grade last year and should be fitter for that outing.
3.10 - Cazoo Diomed Stakes (Group 3, 1m½f)
MAXIMAL is the only three-year-old in the Diomed Stakes line-up and Sir Michael Stoute's Galileo colt has exceedingly good credentials after a pair of runner-up efforts this season.
He began with a clear second behind Derby-bound Hurricane Lane in a Newbury conditions race in April, form that was put in the shop window when the Godolphin-owned winner bagged the Dante at York on his next start. Maximal also had to settle for the supporting role at Chester in the Dee Stakes, unable to peg back El Drama after he made a race-winning move on the final bend, but well clear of everything else. That form too has been boosted, third home Earlswood a Group 3 winner in Ireland subsequently.
A drop back to this trip should be fine for Ryan Moore's mount and, with his allowance seeing him get a chunk of weight from his main market rivals, they can take full advantage to give the trainer/jockey combo a second Diomed Stakes win in three years and a record-setting fourth overall for Stoute.
Of course, Century Dream is a danger, bidding to win this race for the third time in four years (last year's was run at Newbury). Simon & Ed Crisford's charge was down the field in the Lockinge on his return but it's no shock that he came up shy in that Group 1 environment. It should leave him spot on for this more attainable challenge and he'll doubtless be gallant in attempting to make it 2-2 around Epsom.
Oh This Is Us has twice made the frame in this contest and may be holding similar aspirations at best now, being an eight-year-old. He had Duke Of Hazzard behind at Ascot in a Listed race in April and he's one of two runners for owner Fitri Hay, joining Bell Rock. Frankie Dettori partners the former, while it's Oisin Murphy on board impressive Newmarket handicap winner Bell Rock for Andrew Balding.
3.45 - World Pool 'Dash' Handicap (Heritage Handicap, 5f)
A welcome return for the famous Epsom Dash after a Covid-enforced absence in 2020, though still as troubling as ever for punters to try and work out with a field of 20 sprinters taking to the turf.
Luck will play a key role of course and a chance is handed to SON AND SANNIE for trainer Paul Midgley. He was brought over from Ireland to join this yard on the back of an impressive success at Naas over this trip last June. He ran well enough in two turf starts in the autumn and got an all-weather win at Wolverhampton in November.
His Musselburgh comeback in April seemed to be needed but he travelled menacingly well next start at Doncaster (5f, good to firm) before finding less than appeared likely. He had a lot of daylight down the middle of Town Moor and perhaps this big-field scenario will be more to his liking. He's got a feather-weight on his back and if he rebounds to the form of that Irish success last summer, he can outrun his price.
Stone Of Destiny won the Portland at Doncaster in September over a similar trip and arrives here on the back of a fine second at Goodwood last month for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy. He must carry joint top-weight of 9st 10lb but shouldn't be discounted.
The likes of Recon Mission, Copper Knight and Sunday Sovereign have the tools to be involved too but second choice is with Ornate - a 33/1 winner of this contest in 2019.
He's now rated 1lb lower and his winter on the all-weather showed he retains plenty of the speed that's going to be needed to bag this. He was 80/1 for a Listed Haydock race recently back from a break and those odds were spot on. He appeared in need of the run, while softer ground underfoot would not have been his thing. This looks to be much more so.
4.30 - Cazoo Derby (Group 1, 1m4f)
The main event of the Flat season in Britain and the world's dominant Classic race. In recent years, The Derby has presented a puzzle within a puzzle as Aidan O'Brien's 'painted by numbers' with a mass entry from his array of Ballydoyle stars. Do we, then, take it as a major hint that he's elected to fly solo with BOLSHOI BALLET in 2021? Maybe the Ballydoyle maestro has taken to heart some recent criticisms of his mob-handed approach to this great sporting event.
Whatever the reasoning, there's no denying that Bolshoi Ballet has a fantastic chance. He's won two Leopardstown trials in impressive fashion this term, absolutely bounding clear last month in the Derrinstown Derby Trial. The extra two furlongs should be of no concern to him and, two decades on, he looks primed to emulate his sire Galileo's victory in this great contest.
Gear Up actually beat him over a mile at Salisbury on heavy ground last season but Mark Johnston's charge was laboured in the Dante last month at York, that Group 2 going instead to Hurricane Lane for Godolphin. Charlie Appleby's son of Frankel is the only unbeaten colt in this year's Derby and he's done nothing but improve in three starts. If that trend continues, he's got rock-solid each-way potential at the prices.
MacSwiney won the Irish 2000 Guineas a fortnight ago, his trainer Jim Bolger is looking for a staggering third Classic win of this season already, but he was swatted aside previously by Bolshoi Ballet at Leopardstown and he would surely prefer slower ground than the forecast 'Good-good to firm in places' now. His stamina is also a worry.
John Leeper won a Listed race at Newmarket (1m2f, good) last month on only his third start. He's very well thought of by connections and the booking of Frankie Dettori has generated plenty column inches this week. He's still very much a work in progress and while he's got a master of the craft on his back, another sizeable step forward is demanded
Mohaafeth, too, was a Listed 1m2f winner at Headquarters last month. He cantered away from his three rivals that afternoon and has seemingly lots of potential under the bonnet for William Haggas and Jim Crowley. It's a quarter of a century since the likeable trainer won this race with Shaamit and there would scarcely be a more popular trainer/jockey combo should they win now.
Take out the favourite and The Derby is wide open, but this Ballet dancer may have too many moves for his rivals and he can give his Ballydoyle handler an incredible ninth Derby at Epsom.
5.15 - Northern Dancer Handicap (1m4f)
Group One Power set his stall out from the get-go when winning over C&D in April, making every yard of the running and holding on determinedly at the end. He looked like he might repeat the dose since at Ascot but just couldn't fend off Louganini on soft ground (did finish clear second). He's up another 2lb for that effort but should give this his all again.
Lost Eden looked something quite useful in all-weather wins at Lingfield earlier in the spring. An irregular heartbeat was diagnosed following his flop in Listed company at Ascot (1m4f, soft) last month and the gelded son of Sea The Stars should do better on this handicap bow.
Frontispiece was well behind Louganini and Group One Power at Ascot but could be buoyed by the better ground now, so he's one for each-way consideration. Hamilton winner The Trader needs extra again on foot of his defeat under a penalty at the same venue last month and so MIDNIGHTS LEGACY might be one to give Alan King a Derby-day winner.
The Barbury Castle handler has saddled winners at Epsom in his career and this four-year-old remains quite lightly-raced on turf. He twice won last summer at Haydock (1m2f/1m4f, good to soft) and enjoyed a solid all-weather campaign over the winter despite failing to win in four starts.
Around that, his turf form has seen him failing to properly see out 1m6f on the Flat and not really taking to hurdles in two runs. He ran well at Salisbury last month back on the grass, again leaving the suggestion this drop in trip would be suitable. William Buick takes over and they've got a shot at this.
5.50 - Cazoo Handicap (6f)
Trainer David Menuisier left the impression there'd be something to work on with ATALANTA'S BOY following his reappearance win at Goodwood over this trip last month. He was confidently ridden by Thomas Greatrex there and a 4lb rise is manageable. He's got a fantastic record in handicaps and should be suited by this venue.
Kimifive doesn't win many (3-35 on turf) but he went close in the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood last summer off this mark and tuned up with a run there five weeks ago. He gets Oisin Murphy's assistance for the first time in a while now and is a contender.
Ejtilaab hasn't raced over 6f since a winning debut at Doncaster in June 2019 but he's been really consistent at 7f/1m since last summer and comes here off the back of a good second behind a positively thriving rival in Boardman at Chester last week. Ian Williams' charge is only 1lb higher and it's eye-catching to see him dropped in distance now.