The fairer sex kick-start us into the third Classic of the season, the Epsom Oaks, Friday 16.30. While I loved the way Mehdaayih finished off her race in the Cheshire Oaks, how Anapurna looked outstanding the further she went at Lingfield and that Pink Dogwood is quite obviously the pick of the Aidan O’Brien posse; the one outstanding piece of value left in the Fillies’ classic has to be Chester runner-up MANUELA DE VEGA.
Ralph Beckett’s charge quite frankly looked like a big old moo at Chester, but travelled like the wrath of god through the race before having to be checked at least twice, if not three times, from the three furlong pole.
Beckett publicly stated she was nowhere near fit, mentally and physically, to run in that trial and add to the fact she was giving weight away all-round and she wasn’t abused late on, I thought it was an outstanding sharpener from this scopey daughter of Lope De Vega.
With the 12/1 Paddy’s offering she looks massive each-way value.
With up to eight of the 14 runners in the Investec Derby on Saturday, Aidan O’Brien is once again to the man to beat. But the real conundrum is which of the Ballydoyle masses is their number one, which will make the pace, how many pressers, midfield horses and how many hold-up entries there will be in that most famous of Irish tribes.
I really can’t be doing with all that guesswork and have concluded that if he comes forward by another 7lbs – SIR DRAGONET could prove a superstar of the highest echelon.
Yes, he was as green as a pea at Chester and initially looked slow, but once the son of Camelot realised what was required of him he looked like Pegasus. It may well be over stating it, but there were strains of the mighty Shergar at the end of that trial and even though the bare form may not be out of this world sometimes the eye can communicate more to your betting brain than the form book ever can.
He still looked unfurnished and inexperienced and from what I have managed to glean, he has moved forward in his homework since which is amazing in itself as he reportedly shows very little at home.
I have already backed Broome for the St Leger, but if this year’s Blue Riband does become a manic end-to-end gallop, then the Derrinstown Stud winner will be placed at the very least. But he looks a galloper pure and simple and the further he goes, the better he will become.
Of the remainder, I fancy that Surfman will reverse Dante form with Telecaster, while if there is to be a wholesale shock then Norway, if not assigned a runaway leader role, could well make his mark as an out and out stayer.
As far the rest of Derby Day, have a second look at BLUE DE VEGA in the famous Dash at 15.45, while the best bet on the card could come in the valuable 1m 4f handicap at 5.15 in the form of BIG KITTEN. The William Haggas-trained runner looks nicely treated and I think will develop into 105 plus horse so a mark of 93 looks very attractive.
*Prices correct at time of publication