Enable thrust John Gosden and Frankie Dettori into the limelight yesterday afternoon, and the pair will be aiming to double up with Cracksman today. The son of Frankel is vying for favouritism with Cliffs Of Moher in what appears to be one of the most open Derby’s for years. Derby aside there’s plenty of other competitive and tricky races to get stuck into.
2.00 – HAJAJ (C Fellowes) 7/1
Hajaj is effectively only 1lb higher than his win at Ascot thanks to the assistance of 3lb claimer Aaron Jones on board. While you can make a claim for most of the runners Hajaj makes more appeal to me than his rivals. I also like Emenem, but just feel the 6lb rise for the win in a poor race may slightly flatter. The extra 2F should suit Hajaj who ran on well at Ascot and the ground is no issue at all. It was a blanket finish at Ascot but the race has worked out well, with Juanito Chico winning yesterday.
2.35 – URBAN FOX (J Tate) 10/1
One of our bets of the day and very confident there’s more to come from this 3YO, especially at this level. Godolphin runners went well yesterday, but I’ll happily leave the even money favourite alone here. I put Urban Fox up in the Guineas as a super longshot and he went well before hitting the traffic. He ran strongly at Newbury before and holds solid and consistent juvenile form.
3.10 – FOLKSWOOD (C Appleby) 7/2
No strong fancy in this race and with the non-runner this morning, only two places get paid. Folkswood gets the tentative nod with his previous runs all above what’s on offer from his rivals. The Decorated Knight and Deauville form is especially strong. There is a concern over the sharpness of the trip combined with the complexities of Epsom however.
3.45 – EL ASTRONAUTE (J Quinn) 10/1 & KIMBERELLA (R Fahey) 10/1
Another tough betting proposition, but this race is all bout brute speed and John Quinn’s sprinter has that in abundance. He loves tracks like Chester, where bursting out of the stalls and heading for home is crucial, just like it is here. He’s versatile on ground and won’t mind any downpour, while he has won over course and distance only last August. A huge number hold a claim and 9/1 the field demonstrates a wide open affair. Kimberella has proved himself above just a solid handicapper over the past year and always runs his race. He goes well on turf and was not disgraced by any means last time out behind Marsha.
5.15 – SOLDIER IN ACTION (M Johnston) 16/1
It’s hard to believe Soldier In Action is only a 4YO and now sliding down the weights he should make an impact again off only 99 from the front. Epsom is the perfect track for him and he’s been overlooked here. Gawdapalin is the main threat but I think the drying ground could go against him. If James Doyle can get the tactics right on Mark Johnston’s runner he will be hard to pass coming down the hill.
5.50 – WATCHABLE (D O’Meara) 12/1
Naggers has been heavily supported overnight and into this morning into clear favourite but I’m siding with Watchable. He ran very well at York and remains on the same mark. He struggles to get his head in front but is too well handicapped not to win in the near future. The 6F draw at Epsom negates the traditional low-draw bias due to the angle runners approach the bend, a high draw can often actually be an advantage. It’s clearly another tricky race and only a small EW would be recommended here.