Epsom Derby runner to beat among 3 things Timeform learned last week

Timeform's Tony McFadden shines a light on three points of interest from last week's action.


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Alfaadhel is one to follow

The mile-and-a-quarter maiden on the opening day of the Chester May Festival featured some promising types, but Alfaadhel was well on top at the finish and looks like one to follow.

Alfaadhel, who hails from a very good family and cost 360,000 guineas as a yearling, shaped with plenty of promise when third in a good maiden on debut at Newbury last month. That effort earned him the Timeform ‘large P’, to denote that significant improvement was expected, and he duly took a big step forward at Chester, winning by a length and a quarter with a bit in hand. Some of his rivals were too green to do themselves justice and the race was not as competitive as had looked likely, but it was still a promising performance from a colt likely to carry on improving for a while yet.

Armory one to note back in Group 1s

Armory progressed well last season to the extent that he finished placed in Group 1 company in the Irish Champion Stakes and Cox Plate. He came up slightly short on those occasions, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he made a breakthrough at the highest level this season based on how comfortably he dispatched some useful rivals on his return in the Huxley Stakes at Chester last week.

Armory was held up last of the four runners in a steadily run race, but he produced a telling turn of foot to sweep into the lead early in the straight, quickly sealing matters. That comfortable success should provide the perfect stepping stone back to Group 1 company.



Derby picture becomes clear

It looked as though the Epsom Derby was going to be a wide-open affair following the trials at Chester and Lingfield, but Bolshoi Ballet’s six-length success at Leopardstown on Sunday marks him down as very much the horse to beat at Epsom. He is now 7/4 with Paddy Power for the Epsom Derby and deserves to be a hot favourite based on his authoritative defeat of some talented rivals, including Mac Swiney, a Group 1 winner as a juvenile, in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.

A key point to take away is that Bolshoi Ballet was not only visually impressive – he clocked a fast time that provides plenty of substance to the form. He heads the Timeform ratings for the Derby and wouldn’t have to improve much to win a typical running of the Epsom classic.

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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