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It’s Derby Day and coverage on ITV gets under way here with a handicap over 1m 2f. KING FRANKEL is consistent and progressive, and will surely take some beating for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning. My hope is up 6lbs for a tough defeat in the London Gold Cup at Newbury last time, but still has more to give. This course and distance should hold no fears either.
Now we are in Group 3 company with the Princess Elizabeth Stakes for fillies and mares over an extended 1m. POSTED is a bit of a character, but certainly has the ability to take a hold in this event for Richard Hannon. She has taken on some decent performers, including when winning at Sandown last season and when fifth in the Duke of Cambridge. Jim Crowley rides the mare, and he should get a good spin.
The same conditions here for colts and geldings with the Group 3 Diomed over an extended 1m. CENTURY DREAM won this in 2018 on good ground and while he would prefer a soft surface, he might still be hard to catch for the Crisford family.
He was well beaten in the Lockinge Stakes when last seen, but that should have blown the cobwebs away for this – which would have been a big target. James Doyle is onboard and gets on well with the seven-year-old.
It’s sprint handicap time with a dash over 5 furlongs. I’ll stick with the old boy COPPER KNIGHT as he is a horse very hard to kick out the frame so an each-way poke. The Tim Easterby charge has run well at York the last twice and remains on a mark of 90, which is very workable on some of his back form. The high draw looks good, and James Sullivan should enjoy a good spin in a very tricky race to call.
This is the big one, the Group 1 Derby, over 1m 4f. We all know Bolshoi Ballet could be different gravy after his Leopardstown romp. He might just go and hack up. But, the horse who I expect to improve the most on what we have seen is JOHN LEEPER for Ed Dunlop, and now Frankie Dettori rides. By the beast Frankel out of Snow Fairy, an Oaks winner for the same connections as John Leeper, I suspect my selection will massively step up for a longer trip.
He was a real eye-catcher on debut at Doncaster and then hacked up at Newcastle before his last win at Newmarket. All those runs suggested he wanted a mile-and-a-half, and form lines through Tasman Bay would make you think that while his last run was hard to equate, he’s not beaten just trees. I’ll back him each-way and pray!
Back to handicap company now over 1m 4f. FRONTISPIECE is basically in the grip of the handicapper, but is in reasonable form and goes in the conditions for Amanda Perrett and Jim Crowley. He certainly has each-way claims in this contest.
Finally on Derby Day, a handicap over 6 furlongs and it’s a very hard one to call. BARBILL is not chucked in at all, but has been running all right and should have place claims for Mick Channon and John Egan.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
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