Aidan O’Brien is trebly represented as he tries to win yet another British Classic and Love is the No.1 pick with Ryan Moore in the plate. She was impressive in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket over a mile and you’ve to look to her pedigree to see if she stays the extra four furlongs of Saturday’s Oaks.
Her sisters, Flattering and Peach Tree both ran in The Oaks, finishing 5th and 10th. They did both win over 1m 4f though, so that gives you hope.
Frankly Darling represents the John Gosden/Frankie Dettori combination and has to be feared. She was very keen in her race style when winning at Royal Ascot and that is a worry – she can get a little uptight.
The good thing for her is that there will be no spectators at Epsom which will be a big help. I can see Frankie sitting handy on her and kicking on to try catch Ryan Moore’s filly Love out for stamina.
Love’s stable-mate Ennistymon finished the race at Ascot off better than anything and is definitely the each-way play against the two market leaders and will pick up the pieces if either under-performs.
Roger Varian’s Gold Wand was super impressive when winning at Newbury, but must take a giant leap forward to win again in the Fillies Classic.
Verdict: Love to win but Ennistymon each-way
Fooraat is a half-sister to Benbatl who won £5m in prize money, so high performers are in the family. She was impressive when winning at Chelmsford, was uncomplicated and that is a massive plus on Epsom’s tight bends and undulations.
Richard Hannon’s Cloak of Spirits ran a super race to finish second to Love in the 1,000 Guineas but flattened out when fifth at Royal Ascot to Alpine Star. Summer Romance ran better than the bare facts suggest at Newmarket in the 1,000 Guineas, while Love And Thunder interests me for the Gosden/Frankie angle as we know that John Gosden doesn’t do social runners. She will need to improve though.
Onassis won the 1m Sandringham Stakes Handicap at Royal Ascot and here trainer Charlie Fellowes is right to have a crack at this prize.
Verdict: Fooraat for me.
Aidan O’Brien is trying to become the most successful trainer in the history of the Epsom Derby as he chases an eighth success in the race and is throwing six runners at it on Saturday.
Mogul is the choice of Ryan Moore after a poor fourth-place finish in a muddling race in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, but that only tells half the story as he looked badly in need of the run, fitness wise.
Russian Emperor won the Hampton Court Stakes at the same meeting but Ryan Moore has deserted him for Mogul, as he just might struggle with the tricky nature of the Epsom track.
Another Ballydoyle runner, Vatican City, flew home in the Irish 2,000 Guineas to finish second to Siskin and you could argue he would have been closer, with a clearer run. He is related to Gleneagles, Marvellous and Happily.
I see him running a big race for Padraig Beggy.
Pyledriver would be a great story for Willie Muir and son-in-law Martin Dwyer. He had the best run in the King Edward VII in which Mogul was fourth. Mohican Heights was given a moderate ride in the same race and is better than he showed then. He may win a decent prize during the season, but maybe not this Derby.
Highland Chief would be the first father and son licence holding winners of the race and the Golden Gate Handicap winner at Ascot is a first ride in the race for Ben Curtis. He won well at the Royal meeting, but this is a huge step up in grade.
Kameko has the best form coming into this contest having won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. More significantly for me is that he won the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle over one mile as a two-year-old. If a two-year-old can win over a mile at a stiff track like that, they should be able to stay 1m 4f as they mature into a three-year-old.
English King had the clock watchers licking their lips after his Lingfield Derby Trial win. He crept around and then arrived on the scene at the business end of the race to cruise home. This is going to be much harder from stall one at Epsom though. Frankie Dettori will have to use all his experience to get through the minefield of horses from Tattenham Corner to the winning line.
Verdict: Kameko to win the Derby. Vatican City to be placed.
Mick Fitzgerald’s tips for Epsom
Essential Epsom Reading:
- Jason Weaver’s Super 7 Selections For Epsom Derby Day
- Paddy’s Runner-By-Runner Guide To The Epsom Derby
- Matt Chapman’s Magnificent 7 For Derby Day At Epsom
- Horse Racing Tips: Timeform’s Epsom Oaks Best Bets For Saturday’s Fillies Classic