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I love horses that have won at this unique track and PATIENT DREAM benefited from a gelding operation when a good winner of a handicap here over a mile. Stepping up in trip shouldn’t be a problem and he will take a bit of beating.
The obvious danger is King Frankel who represents Mark Johnston, with Ben Curtis onboard. This colt ran very well in a race at Newbury that normally throws up a lot of winners, and he bumped into Bay Bridge from the Sir Michael Stoute yard in that contest, finishing second. He was four lengths in front of the others in that race though.
Roger Varian thought enough of Nazuna to send her over to the Breeders’ Cup, where she had no luck in running and finish 10th. Some of her form was very strong prior to that race though. You are guessing a little as to how she has done physically, but the signs are good. Maamora should be fitter for her run when very strong in the betting at Goodwood.
POSTED was a little disappointing at Newmarket, but the ground should be nowhere near as quick here. There was very little between her and Maamora at Sandown when they met last September.
Ryan Moore has ridden lots of big winners for Sir Michael Stoute, and who would not want to use his jockey services. He won the Derby on Workforce in 2010 in these colours, and I’m sure he would love to have another big winner for Juddmonte on Derby day in the form of MAXIMAL. He looked in need of the outing at Chester last month and I fully expect him to be sharper now.
COPPER KNIGHT is drawn high and that can be very favourable at Epsom, as it is the fastest 5 furlongs in the country and most of it is downhill. Sunday Sovereign is the choice of Silvestre De Sousa over Stone Of Destiny. Even the market seems surprised by that. Tom Marquand is an eye-catching booking for Only Spoofing, but I’m sticking with Copper Knight.
The Derby Trial at Leopardstown has produced plenty of Epsom Derby winners in the past and this year could be no exception. It’s amazing that Aidan O’Brien is only running one and the last time he did that was when the mighty Galileo won 20 years ago. BOLSHOI BALLET looked the real deal at Leopardstown and powered through the line, he certainly wasn’t stopping anyway.
Mohaafeth is interesting as he has gone from handicap company to Listed company all the way to the Epsom Derby! The handicapper has been suitably impressed as his rating has rocketed. John Leeper is named after the late former trainer, John Dunlop and it would be a very emotional day if he were to win for his son, Ed Dunlop. He is a son of Snow Fairy who was Ryan Moore’s first Oaks winner and looked at ease when getting a feel for the track last week.
Frankie Dettori rides and that is a positive.
Mac Swiney is the value bet for Jim Bolger, who is a magician. Just when you think he is struggling, up he pops with two 2000 Guineas winners! He won the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster over a mile and looks like a stayer on what we saw at the Curragh also.
Hurricane Lane is unbeaten and won the Dante Stakes at York well. If Maximal bolts up in the earlier race on the card, there will certainly be a ripple in his price. Gear Up is fully expected to be sharper for the run in the Dante too.
One Ruler was all the rage before the Guineas after some sparkling bits of work, but William Buick prefers Hurricane Lane of the Godolphin horses. Third Realm will handle conditions as he looked very comfortable at Lingfield, which is as close a track as you will get to Epsom.
Bolshoi Ballet is my pick to win but Mac Swiney will go well each-way.
GROUP ONE POWER ran very well at Ascot and won at this track in April. The proven ability to handle Epsom’s contours is very important so I’ll side with Andrew Balding’s charge.
KIMIFIVE made a promising return to action at Goodwood and can get competitive on his first visit to Epsom. His trainer Joe Tuite is in great form and he seems to be back on a competitive handicap mark.
And with Oisin Murphy in the saddle, what’s not to like?
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