Its Day One of the Derby Festival today featuring the third Classic of the English Flat season, the Epsom Oaks the most prestigious race for fillies in the UK.
We preview all 7 races from Epsom including the Oaks and the Group 1 Coronation Cup.
Dairerin is your likely favourite in the Epsom opening race having just missed out by a nose at Newbury last month. A reproduction of that form should see him go close once more.
Flaming Rib won impressively on his last run, but the form of that race doesn’t look the strongest.
It would be no surprise to see Oscula land the biggest prize of George Boughey’s short training career. He only ran 11 days ago but didn’t have the hardest of races and should improve for that run.
Our selection is Dusky Prince. He was well supported when winning on debut, should love the fast ground and the step up in distance should be no problem.
Epsom Downs racecourse represents a unique test for the thoroughbred and so course form is probably more important here than anywhere else in the country. Carazon Espinado is the only one of the 11 runners who has won here having been successful 3 times and placing on another 3 times and is worth chancing in this open looking contest.
Irish Admiral needs to be respected, he’s lightly raced and potentially very well handicapped. At the odds, he is worth taking on.
Recent winners of this race include Ghaiyyath, Cracksman and Cirrus des Aigles and whilst there doesn’t look to be a horse of that quality in this year’s race it should still be one to saviour. Al Aasy is your short priced favourite having won at Group 3 level twice this season already. This is a big step up in class and there are still question marks over whether he is a Group 1 horse.
Preference is for Japan who is a true Group 1 performer. He was not at his best last season but made a winning start this time around. He will need to better that effort to win this but trained by the master Aiden O’Brien he is certain to be in A1 condition. Aiden O’Brien also runs Mogul who slightly disappointed in the Prix Ganay.
This looks a very open race even though Blue Cap is a short priced favourite. He ran at Epsom earlier this season and was a real eyecatcher. He then disappointed when favourite at York when running too keen. He wears headgear for the first time and if effective will have a great chance.
Sky Defender is our pick. He loves Epsom having won here and being 2nd on his only other appearance. He carries top weight but has conditions in his favour, is a consistent performer and can land the place money and hopefully a bit more!
Santa Babara will be aiming to give Aiden O’Brien a 9th win in the race. She is clearly thought a lot of by the shrewd connections, but this could come too soon for her. This is just her 3rd run, her last run in the 1000 Guineas showed she is still learning her job and she is worth opposing.
Zeyaadah was an unlucky loser when 2nd in her trial at Chester. With a clear run she would have gone very close and should she not encounter any trouble she can claim a first Oaks for Roger Varian.
At a big price Sherbert Lemon should not be ignored. She won the Lingfield Oaks Trial on a track very similar to Epsom and the race looked like it was a good trial. The danger would be conditions, she won on soft ground and any rain would be a huge help. Finishing just behind her was Save A Forest. She is guaranteed to stay the distance and could cause a massive shock.
If these tips are successful it will be a bad day for favourite backers, but things can all change here. Mehmento was outclassed in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 1000 Guineas) but this race is much easier. Anything near matching her performance in the Group 3 Greenham in April will see her win.
The most competitive race of the day brings an end to proceedings. Dulas is likely to be favourite and was an easy winner 2 weeks ago. He looks to be on a good handicap mark and could win again.
Count Otto put in a rare bad run when last seen which suggests he could do with a break after an already busy season. He has an excellent Epsom record which prevents us from ruling him out completely.
Attasar is our pick looking to complete a hattrick of victories. This is still only his 6th run and is constantly improving. If he can handle the track he potentially is the bet of the day.