Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Epsom and Musselburgh on Saturday. View selections below.
IRELAND has a striking stranglehold on this year’s Investec Derby and BATTLE OF MARENGO (4.00) can burst Dawn Approach’s invincible bubble in a tactically fascinating contest.
Aidan O’Brien has reached for the first-time cheekpieces for Battle Of Marengo and his colt’s reservoir of stamina will be fully utilised by Team Ballydoyle. My selection has followed the traditional Derrinstown Stud/Ballysax double-header route which is so favoured by O’Brien and although Battle of Marengo didn’t impress everyone with a dogged victory last time, Joseph O’Brien had to do most of the donkey work up front. His mount should be better suited by the bigger field.
It could be folly opposing Dawn Approach, so imperious in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but he is trading far too short in my book. O’Brien’s ‘third-string’, Mars, finished only sixth in the 2,000 Guineas but that was only his second career start and the Galileo colt is bred to improve significantly over 12 furlongs. Richard Hughes has picked up the ride on a lively outsider.
On a terrific punting card at Epsom, HIGH TROJA (1.35) can prove his recent 25-1 victory at Newbury was no fluke. Ed Dunlop’s colt, the mount of Ryan Moore and well drawn, saw off the heavily-supported Hillstar and the midweek rain on the Downs can only have enhanced his prospects. Scatter Dice was a bit unlucky on his last visit here and may well enjoy the run of the race if forcing tactics are again employed.
The Investec ‘Dash’ is always an exciting spectacle and CAPTAIN DUNNE (3.15) has been given a chance by the handicapper to repeat his 2011 victory. The old boy was only ninth last year, dropping away tamely after cutting out the running for three furlongs. However, Captain Dunne is 10lb lower now and he was only pipped on the line by Indian Trail in 2009 off an identical rating.
There is some competitive action at Musselburgh and DOLPHIN VILLAGE (2.55) is fancied to scoop the Totepool Tradesman’s Derby. Richard Fahey’s handicapper fairly scooted clear of his rivals at Haydock last Saturday and a 7lb rise may not be enough to put the brakes on his progress. Roger Varian’s Hasheem looks the principal threat.
David Elsworth and Dane O’Neill are hardly Musselburgh regulars, so the appearance of LLAREGYB (1.50) in the mile handicap is an eyecatcher. Llaregyb was hugely impressive on his handicap debut at Newmarket and the imposition of a 10lb rise in his official rating won’t put many punters off.
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