By Conor Phillips
One of the most famous flat races in history will lead the day for horse racing tomorrow, the Investec Derby on the stunning grounds of Epsom.
Talent was the surprise 20/1 winner of the Oaks on Friday; she and Richard Hughes showed fight and power to inflict a late demolition on all rivals to cruise to victory.
The main question for Saturday is whether Dawn Approach can become the third horse in five years to complete the 2,000 Guineas and Derby double. He is currently 11/8 with BetVictor for the success, with stamina the only issue. The seven unbeaten wins have been flawless and he is the only entry to have a Group 1 win under his belt, and with three of those, could well be adding another.
Battle Of Marengo is the bookies’ favourite of Aiden O’Brien’s bunch, although all stand a good chance, with Mars looking a favourable option, as he is likely to improve on the 2,000 Guineas sixth. Chopin represents decent value at best price 12/1 with Paddy Power, following an impressive Group 3 winning reappearance.
St Nicholas Abbey will bid to defend his double crown of the Investec Coronation Cup at 2.40, with only four rivals set to challenge. O’Brien is likely to make it win 6 of 7 in this race, as well as the hat-trick for his 4/9 best priced favourite (Stan James).
Jamie Spencer will ride the quality second-favourite, Dunaden, however he was 5l behind the favourite at Meydan when the pair last met. A reverse of that result may be possible, but he will have to be at his very best and hope St Nicholas Abbey struggles.
Joshua Tree is the best of the rest, with Chamonix expected to give a respectable account.
The Investec Woodcote Stakes is shaped up to be a tricky one for punters, with a number of entries capable of competing for the open contest. Thunder Strike currently leads the betting at 9/4 with BetVictor, whilst likely challengers’ Haikbidiac and Riverboat Springs are 9/2 and 11/2 with Bet365 respectively.
The favourite won convincingly at both Doncaster and Windsor and may have enough to win this on the back of that, however Mick Channon will be hoping for back-to-back victories in this race after last year’s success with Chilworth Icon.
Ifwecan and Zalzilah are the best value each-way bets, both of whom looked impressive last time and can progress again.
High Troja and Space Ship are likely to give a good show in the first race of the day, in a contest that is sure to puzzle the punters. Captain Dunne has ran in this race four times previously and is sure to run well here, whilst Duke Of Firenze and Long Awaited also represent good value in this wide open betting heat.
Ryan Moore is aboard Sirvino in the penultimate race and the 5lb should not be too much of a problem, although Duke Of Clarence and Sheikhzayedroad are others well regarded. The last race is a hugely competitive race with lots of value on offer. Gandalak, Dr Red Eye and Compton are just three of a small group who should run well.
Other racing action is available throughout the day at; Doncaster, Hexham, Musselburgh, Tramore and Worcester, before Lingfield and Newcastle head a decent evening of competitive racing for hungry punters.
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