THERE are no kudos to be earned tipping up odds-on Camelot to lift the Jubilee Derby at Epsom, although many racing industry purists insist Aidan O’Brien’s colt is already home and hosed. As an old traditionalist, my first port of call when assessing the Classic trials is the Dante at York and BONFIRE (4.00) looks up to the calibre of a potential Derby hero. Andrew Balding will be saddling his first runner in the great race but boasts a Derby lineage, his father, Ian, having trained the imperious Mill Reef to success in 1971.
Lightly-raced Bonfire was given a stonking ride by Jimmy Fortune to score with a bit up his sleeve in the Dante and can complete the famous double previously achieved this century by North Light (2004), Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007). Workforce also won at Epsom having finished second in the 2010 running of the Dante. With only a miserly nine-runner line-up, playing Bonfire each-way at around 9-2 would seem the sensible approach since, given the small field, the likelihood of a huge upset is highly improbable. Main Sequence may have been under-rated and has an each-way squeak, along with Camelot’s stablemate, Astrology.
On a terrific support card, CAPTAIN DUNNE (3.15) can further enhance his glowing record in the Investec Dash. He won this scorcher of a sprint off the same mark 12 months ago, breaking from the traps like a greyhound on his favoured fast ground and hanging on in a desperate finish. Similar tactics were employed two years previously when Captain Dunne was nailed on the line and, once again, he will bomb out from his middle draw and try to make all, with the closing pack snapping at his heels.
Two horses which caught the eye earlier in the week are out again at Beverley. LANDAMAN (2.30) clearly appreciated a return to much faster terrain when hacking up by eight lengths over course and distance and a 6lb penalty won’t stop him if in the same mood. In contrast, DIMAN WATERS (4.30) didn’t have much to spare when scoring under Kelly Harrison at Ayr but Eric Alston’s in-form sprinter is worth an interest, despite the worst of the draw.
At Haydock, LADIES ARE FOREVER (4.40) will strip sharper for her opening effort at Nottingham (third) and, as a Group 3 winner last season, can just outclass her rivals. Progressive sprinter Mince may be the biggest threat.
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