Horse Racing Tips: Timeform’s 3 things to note ahead of the Epsom Classics

Timeform's Tony McFadden highlights three points of interest in the Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

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Galileo’s influence lives on

Supersire Galileo, the 2001 Derby winner, sadly died last year but his legacy lives on and he will be represented by three of his sons in the Derby, a race he has dominated.

Changingoftheguard, Star of India and Stone Age will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of New Approach (2008), Ruler of The World (2013), Australia (2014), Anthony Van Dyck (2019) and Serpentine (2020), Galileo’s record five Derby winners.

As well as being responsible for five winners of the Derby, Galileo has also sired four runners-up and five who finished third.

Plenty of horses struggle with the unique mental and physical test provided by running a mile and a half on a tricky, undulating course in front of a huge crowd. However, Galileo’s remarkable record in the race suggests that his trio of representatives are better equipped than most to cope with the test.

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A straightforward choice for Buick?

As number one rider to Charlie Appleby, the principal trainer for the resurgent Godolphin operation, William Buick has a host of leading lights to ride during the season. It also means that he is often left facing a difficult choice picking who to ride in the big races.

It’s not always a straightforward task and there have been high-profile occasions when Buick has been on the wrong one, including in last year’s Derby when he understandably rode Dante winner Hurricane Lane rather than Adayar, who had been beaten in trials at Sandown and Lingfield.

This year Buick has passed over Nahanni and Walk of Stars to ride Nations Pride, who was supplemented for the race at a cost of £75,000 after winning the Newmarket Stakes by seven lengths at the Guineas meeting.

That was only a listed race but the form Nations Pride showed at Newmarket places him behind only Desert Crown and Stone Age on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. He is the standout contender for Godolphin and it presumably did not take Buick long to commit.

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Epsom Derby draw

Does Stoute have a potential star?

Sir Michael Stoute has won the Derby five times, including with Shergar (1981) and Workforce (2010), two of the most visually impressive winners of the race. If there is a horse capable of taking this large field apart and winning by a wide margin it is probably Stoute’s unbeaten representative Desert Crown.

Desert Crown, a son of Galileo’s son Nathaniel, made an impressive winning debut at Nottingham last season and he built on that positive impression when successful in the Dante Stakes on his return at York last month.

Desert Crown ran out an emphatic three-and-a-quarter-length winner of the Dante – a race Stoute used as a stepping stone to Epsom with his two most recent Derby winners North Light and Workforce – and that performance places him at the head of Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. He is at least 3 lb clear of his rivals on Timeform’s figures and, having reached a very smart level after only two starts, he is a hugely exciting prospect.

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