Breakfast with the Stars means the Derby gets ever closer, but the water is still murky to say the least. With Churchill all but ruled out; Ballydoyle look set to rely on Cliffs Of Moher who vies with Cracksman for favouritism. Between the pair I’d have to side with Cracksman, but only reluctantly as both have plenty to prove if they are to win the biggest race in the world. Eminent and Permian look much better angles; and why the price on Eminent is shrinking into single figures he’s still more than backable at 8 or 9/1. It won’t be that price on the day. Permian is far from the sexy pick of the race but the heavily raced 3YO has form in the book. You’d think (even hope) something out there will improve past him to win a race like the Derby, but again at the odds an EW bet looks wise and while he may not win I can’t see many getting past.
Nottingham 2.30 – Fantasy Keeper (M Appleby) 8/1
I normally avoid races such as this, the unknown surrounding the field is just too much to put a solid bet behind anything – but Fantasy Keeper has more to offer off of 65 on handicap debut. The maiden form is fairly strong, especially of his previous outing and he’s yet to go on what should be his preferred ground. He gets weight off most of the field and at 8s I’d be surprised to see him too far from the frame.
Nottingham 3.30 – Celestation (M Johnston) 6/1
Another 3YO race at Nottingham sees the second and final pick. Mark Johnston’s runner gets my vote despite a 3lbs rise. The trip will bring results soon enough and again this ground should benefit the filly compared with her two previous efforts on firm and goof to firm. Nothing at the top of the market convinces and providing the race pans out as planned and Franny Norton can get her going at the front at a strong gallop, I’m confident she can deliver.