Epsom is one of the great weekends in the racing calendar and I’m hoping that an English runner can fly the flag in the Derby with a home win this year.
I was there last year and had a brilliant day’s racing which got better when Mick Channon Jnr gave us three winners at the London track, Ripon and one over in France. I hope I bump into him again this year!
I’ll be there again on Saturday, and while Aidan O’Brien can continue his Classic domination with Rhododendrum in Friday’s Oaks, the wheels could finally come off the Ballydoyle juggernaut in Saturday’s Derby after he added both Irish Guineas at the Curragh last weekend to his haul.
The Derby is a very open race this year and Mark Johnston’s Permian looks the one to be on.
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He was beaten a short-head at the track by ante-post favourite Cracksmanin April, but went on to frank that form by winning one of the key trials, the Dante Stakes at York last month.
His trainer has already said that he can’t see Cracksman beating his colt again this time, but despite this, the bookies shortened Cracksman in the Derby betting and Permian could be almost three times his odds in Saturday’s feature.
That’s a big price in my opinion, I’m also slightly biased as I have a two-year-old in training with Mark Johnston so I’d love to see the stable win the Derby and I believe they’ve got a great chance.
Incidentally, Newbury maiden winner Dubai Thunder faces a massive step up in class, but with this being just his second run, he’ll be one to follow throughout his three-year-old career as he couldn’t of been more impressive on debut.
All week I’ve been following the story about the rank outsider Diore Liataking her place in Saturdays big race. I’m all for a good day out and know connections are trying to raise money for charity, but the Epsom Derby is one of the most prestigious races in the world. We want to see the best horses running in it, not a horse rated 52.
Paddy has her priced up at 1,000/1 to win Saturday’s feature but priced Leicester at 5,000/1 to win the Premier League! Are you seriously telling me it has more chance of winning one of the greatest races in the world than Leicester had of winning the Premier League?
Friday’s Oaks (4.30pm) looks a little more straightforward with the 1,000 Guineas runner-up Rhododendrum bidding to give Aidan O’Brien his third win on the bounce in the 1m 4f Fillies’ Classic after Qualify and Minding have gone in for the last two years.
She met trouble in running at Newmarket behind stable-mate, Winter, who franked the form and proved what a good filly she is when winning the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh last Sunday.
It looks a real ‘eggs in one basket’ punt to me and Rhododendrum can add to Ballydoyle’s 100 per cent Classic record so far this season.
If there’s one that can give the favourite most to do, it’s Frankie Dettori and John Gosden teaming up with recent Chester winner Enable. Frankie looked to be giving her a good education when beating Ballydoyle’s Alluringly in the Cheshire Oaks and she can chase the favourite home.
I should have a runner early next week at Yarmouth that we bought privately from John Nicholson – Another Batt.
He came second to Ger Lyons filly, Black Sails, in a two–year-old Conditions race at the Curragh a couple of weekends ago.
The form of that race has worked out very well with the two Ballydoyle horses that were in behind Murillo & U S Navy Flag winning and being placed in a Listed contest since.
If Another Batt goes well we’ll be hoping to aim him at the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He’s now in training with up & coming young handler George Scott in Newmarket. My syndicate Excel Racing has three, two-year-olds in training with him. He ‘s a trainer on the up and has a big career ahead of him.