* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
There’s two days of top-class action coming your way from Epsom on ITV racing on Friday and Saturday with the Epsom Oaks and Epsom Derby the highlights. It’s great to have crowds back on track as it was all so different last year interviewing Emmet McNamara after he won the re-arranged Epsom Derby on Serpentine behind closed doors.
Let’s hope it continues throughout the Summer and the buzz returns to the major Festivals again.
The Woodcote Stakes is a unique test for these two-year-olds and experience is vital when you stand at the start and it looks like these horses are galloping into a dead-end, You need a brave horse to go Flat out down that hill, into the straight.
Dairerin won on debut at Ripon but was pipped at Newbury and looks a well-balanced type who should handle this test. Flaming Rib was third at Ripon on debut and then won impressively at Nottingham. He’s obviously got some talent but did swerve alarmingly left late on that day which is a concern.
Muraad heads the weights in this 1m handicap and should be better for his run at Ascot in April. Owen Burrows’ runner could run well at a nice price but I’m going for Irish Admiral. He ran a really nice race at York over 1m 2f and looked like winning two furlongs out. Dropping back in trip for this contest should suit him and his shrewd trainer William Haggas looks to have found a nice race for him to repeat his Wolverhampton win over this distance in April.
Ballydoyle’s Japan is the highest rated in the field, but there is not much between him and his full brother, Mogul, on official ratings. Both have had a run this season, so will be in peak condition. Japan is an interesting contender as he was strongly fancied for the Prince of Wales’ Stakes at the Royal meeting last year, but his lack of a run went against him.
He seems to get better as the season progresses. Al Aasy has looked so good in a couple of Group 3 contests this season but this is a big step up in grade. On what we have seen so far, he certainly looks worthy of the step up to Grade One company. He is a strong traveller and the faster they go, the more it will suit him.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
Course winners are always worth noting at this unique track and Ralph Beckett’s Victory Chime has managed to win a couple of times over this 1m 2f trip. His win at this venue last time can be marked up as he was slowly away and had to ridden early to get to the front and then stayed there all the way to the line.
The obvious danger is Blue Cup who finished behind the selection that day when suffering a rough passage. David Menuisier has stock the hood on him to help him relax in this race and he rates the danger with Oisin Murphy booked.
It was a very tough ask for this Aidan O’Brien-trained filly to win the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas on the back of one win in a maiden at the Curragh. She acquitted herself with lots of credit but got a little lost in the dip at Newmarket when the field quickened up.
I thought Santa Barbara was the standout filly in the paddock and this 1m 4f trip of the Oaks will be right up her street. The only concern would be the track as she’s still pretty inexperienced. If the ground was very quick, the each-way play is Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain. She was a ready winner of the Cheshire Oaks and there was a lot to like about the performance. She is a big filly who has done well over the winter.
I very nearly gave her the nod over the selection, but I was so taken with the Aidan O’Brien’s filly at Newmarket that I can’t desert her now as the most likely winner of the Epsom Oaks.
Henry Candy trained Time Charter to win the Oaks in 1984 and he would love to have a winner on Oaks day. His Run To Freedom is a smart three-year-old who put up a really nice performance when winning at Kempton last December. The horse he beat that day, Highland Avenue, is now rated 110. Run To Freedom could be a very progressive youngster and a solid each-way play in an open contest.
The Horse Watchers syndicate have done really well with their purchases and they picked Rhoscolyn up for 23,000 guineas last October. He won that purchase price back when winning at Goodwood late last month and his style of racing is aggressive and that should really suit around Epsom.
Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets:
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest racing tips
- Horse Racing tips: Jason Weaver’s 7 slick picks for Epsom Oaks day
- Horse Racing Tips: Matt Chapman’s Epsom Oaks day picks on ITV Racing
- Ruby Walsh: The ‘incredible’ Epsom Derby winner I’d love to have ridden