It wouldn’t be going over the top to suggest this is arguably the finest weekend of racing in recent times.
There was rain in the Surrey area over the past 36 hours, some heavy showers hit the track on Thursday afternoon and that means we should have perfect ground for the super card on Saturday, following a dry Friday.
All the talk and indeed the money in the last week for Saturday’s Classic has been for Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul, who looked as big as an elephant when more than just a bit sluggish in finishing fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
That was a funny race, in that it was hardly run at an even tempo and in fact, running out of Swinley Bottom uphill until the turn, the sectional timings were very pedestrian. That wouldn’t have suited the eventual second home, sure-fire stayer Arthur’s Kingdom.
Even so, Ryan Moore seemed hugely at pains not to give his partner a hard time in the closing stages.
Maybe he felt he blew up quite early, but it was still a moderate run whatever the pace and turned into a two-furlong sprint.
Word from Ballydoyle is that Mogul has worked the house down, but he will need to have taken that massive step forward that connections suggest he has done, to be involved. In any case, the value has totally evaporated this week.
Favourite English King is a monster physically, so it was no surprise to see him struggle slightly with the gradients at Lingfield before his class pulled him through. I am one of the few voices that felt Tom Marquand should have kept the ride, as he knows the horse so well. It is hard to knock Frankie being on board doing a ‘Piggott’ on the market leader.
I have already backed him at 16/1, so I hope he runs his race and handles the track, but if you are not already on, he’s way shoter now at the head of the market.
It’s okay for everyone to say 2,000 Guineas hero Kameko should be favourite on form, but so many winners/placed horses in that race have patently failed to stay this markedly, more exacting, stamina test. I suspect Mr O’Brien and his team will leave no stone unturned in making this a true-run race, so Andrew Balding’s charge will have no place to hide.
I suggest he will not see out the trip.
Vatican City was given a truly horrendous ride in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and while Siskin garnered all the applause, nothing was made of Vatican City being trapped like a fly in a spider’s web on the fence.
I reckon he would have won with a clear run and the fact he finished like a train means nothing in terms of him staying 12 furlongs. I can envisage him coming back in trip and possibly gaining revenge on Siskin in the Sussex Stakes.
O’Brien’s Russian Emperor and the unexposed and exciting maiden winner, Serpentine, will have their supporters. Let’s hope the latter is allowed to run on his merits and not used as a hare, and both in my book are sure-fire stayers as is Mohican Heights.
The last named has been on my St Leger ante-post investment scheme for a few weeks and dare I be so bold as my ‘Cup’ horse for next year! I have also backed him to hit the frame (four places) in the Derby.
Russian Emperor would have been my pick, but like the majority of the first half dozen in the betting his price has gone and I shall be having a few farthings each-way on EMISSARY, who still looked green when a closing second to Khalifa Sat in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.
Hugo Palmer’s team are in red-hot form at the moment and this son of Kingman has any amount of improvement to come. I can understand why the cheek pieces have been added as he rolled around a bit that day, but that could also have been due to the winner coming off a straight line. As it is, he remains one of the few in the betting list that offers some each-way value.
Love versus Frankly Darling is a fascinating battle in the Oaks, but if all eight go to post I would rather back PASSION each-way.
She a closing third in the Ribblesdale, as I believe she is nailed on for the minor placing at the very worst.
That Royal Ascot race was hardly run at a top tempo either and I reckon she will reverse form with stablemate Ennistyman who was flattered by her never nearer second.
Finally at Epsom, MARKAZI returns to his best trip of 7 furlongs in a very competitive handicap and he looks the call there, with the likes of last year’s first, second and fourth home all worthy of respect.
Enable is hugely vulnerable defending her Eclipse title at Sandown on Sunday. I saw her on the gallops a couple of weeks ago and I have never seen her so big.
That is a consequence of her putting on more weight in the off season and as she gets older, as Gosden has freely admitted, she is harder to get race fit.
Ghaiyyath may well need more than 30 days between his races after his sensational return at Newmarket, and Lord North absent., JAPAN is taken to reel in Charlie Appleby’s monster up the final climb.
He looked sluggish in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but is a stuffy horse and a stiff 10 furlongs is his domain and he will be well suited by the make-up of this contest.
Sunday 15:35 Haydock – Indianapolis
Ranch Hand shaped like the best horse in the race in the newly instituted 1m 6f handicap at the Royal meeting and the drop back to a 12 furlongs with plenty of dig in the ground will suit him in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock on Sunday.
However, I wanted double figure odds about him so the nod goes to last year’s fourth INDIANAPOLIS, who will be better suited to the dig in the ground 12 months on from basically being outpaced on a much faster surface in the 2019 renewal.
The likes of Country and the progressive Future Investment are both respected, with more left in their respective lockers.
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
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