It’s a massive day for Mark Johnston and his team ahead of the Epsom Derby and what better way for them to to start than with an opening winner with MASHAM STAR in the 1m 2f handicap at 2pm on Derby day.
The top-weight backs up quickest of the eight runners after finishing third to Rusumaat at Haydock at the end of May. The track played to front runners that day and after sitting handy, he didn’t make or lose ground on the leaders. He finished where he started and looks tailor-made for Saturday’s step-up in trip.
Big John Gosden relies on LAUGH ALOUD to follow up her easy Listed win at Goodwood in the 1m Group 3 contest at 2.35pm. She has a 50 per cent strike rate on the turf (three wins from six starts) and has not had much racing for a four-year-old. She’s quickly risen from a rating of 81 to 110 and this half-sister to an Arlington Million winner, Debussy, may not have stopped winning yet.
FOLKSWOOD can come out on top for Charlie Appleby in the 1m Group 3 Diomed Stakes at 3.10pm. A quick look at his run in Meydan shows he ran Decorated Knight very close in the Jebal Hatta. Roger Charlton’s runner rubber-stamped that form by winning the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last weekend. The Godolphin colt is very consistent and has only finished out of the first three placings once in 11 starts. It’s a strong and open race, so he’ll be a decent enough price at the head of the market.
The 5f Dash at Epsom 3.45pm is one of the great spectacles over the two days of Epsom and Richard Fahey saddles KIMBERELLA. Blink and you’ll miss it! The trainer takes 7lbs off his runner’s back with young Connor Murtagh doing the steering. He was second here last year in a head bob when trained by David Nicholls and would have won, but for blowing the start and getting shuffled back in the pack.
From a high draw on the fence we just need a split at the right time for old Kimbrella to show his class.
And finally to the big one. The Epsom Derby. One of the most prestigious races in the world. It took Frankie Dettori an age to win it, but he’s won it twice in the last 10 years on Authorised (2007) and Golden Horn (2015). Frankie can bring up the hat-trick this year with CRACKSMAN (4.30pm) in the 1m 4f showpiece.
John Gosden’s runner is still on the improve and is well drawn in box 7 and the ice-cool Dettori is a big positive in the saddle.
Of the others, Godolphin’s Benbatl has been a little discarded in the market since running with the choke out in the Dante Stakes at York, but will run with a tongue-tie on and a hood on to help him relax.
Aidan O’Brien rarely leaves the Derby without a placed horse at the least and supplies the joint-fav in Cliffs Of Moher with Ryan Moore aboard. However, there was a lot to like about Venice Beach’s win at Chester.
He quickly put the race to bed and didn’t do a lot in front. He can run into a place here with Aidan’s son Donncha on board and could be the play for the St Leger in September after this.