The Epsom Derby is the racing highlight of this Diamond Jubilee weekend and whilst Her Majesty the Queen will not have a fancied runner in the big race she will be in attendance to watch last month’s 2000 Guineas winner Camelot (4.00) trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien bid to maintain his unbeaten record.
A very impressive winner of the Racing Post Trophy on his second juvenile start Camelot was sent off an uneasy 15/8 market leader at Newmarket on his reappearance, and you sensed connections felt that if the colt was going to be vulnerable first time out over a mile was the time.
Bred to be suited by the step up in trip on Saturday it is difficult to see the horse not extending his winning run to four, given he has the best form on offer going into the race and looks sure to make up into a top class middle-distance colt.
Clare Balding will be presenting for BBC Television for the final time, given the race will be shown by Channel 4 in 2013, and her brother Andrew will saddle recent Dante winner Bonfire who might give the favourite most to think about.
Bonfire was just touched off in a French Group 1 as a juvenile and on a line through winner French Fifteen has a bit to find with Camelot on Guineas running, but he stuck to his task well on the Knavesmire and there should be more to come from a horse who, similar to Camelot, has only had three career starts to date.
Note we at BetVictor have a number of specials revolving around the final BBC coverage of the world’s most famous flat race and one that catches my eye is the 6/4 for the excellent Clare Balding to shed a tear during the presentation; she is long odds on if her brother Andrew saddles Bonfire to win the race and the broadcast is sure to feature some of the great past winners of the race including Mill Reef’s 1971 success trained by Clare’s father and former trainer to the Queen Ian Balding.
Sir Henry Cecil has his string in top class form and I like Wrotham Heath (1.35) in the opener dropping back down in trip to 10f having looked a non-stayer over 12f at Newmarket last time. The stable had high hopes for the 3-y-old in the spring but he has failed to meet their expectations but the yard have hit form with a bang in recent days and he is given one last chance to confirm juvenile promise.
Today’s other Group 1 feature is the Coronation Cup and I am convinced Beaten Up (2.40) failed to give his running at Meydan in the Sheema Classic last time, having pulled too hard in a slowly run race; he has a bit to find with likely short-priced favourite St Nicholas Abbey but there will be plenty of pace this time and Beaten Up can cause a shock.
Swinging Hawk (2.10 Haydock) is co-owned by Lee Westwood and having been gelded since his last start put up a much improved show at York last month after a short break. The return to 2 miles will suit and he is a sporting selection in a cracking race.
Do watch out for horses owned by Her Majesty over the Golden Jubilee period; Michael Bell saddles Set To Music (3.10 Haydock) in the Pinnacle Stakes and the filly must have every chance on last season’s form; the significance of the weekend will not be lost on the owner or those who look after Her Majesty’s string of horses.
Frankie Dettori bypasses Epsom for Haydock where he has a very good book of mounts including Samminder (3.40) who has not had the best of luck in both starts so far this term. Bogart is likely to go off market leader for Kevin Ryan and is a big danger but connections are due a change of luck and he can pounce late and fast to land the spoils.