Paul Ferguson has three selections from Epsom for us on Friday; Abseil at 3.20, Taghrooda at 4.00 and That Is The Spirit at 4.45. Compare odds and bet.
With her form let down since her impressive Pretty Polly success and the impressive Irish 1,000 Guineas success of new market leader Marvellous, who has been heavily supported in recent days, Taghrooda (4:00) has been easy to back ahead of the Oaks, but she is now available at tempting odds (was around 6-4 a couple of weeks ago).
John Gosden’s Sea The Stars filly is two from two and, despite not winning the strongest of trials, it was hard not to be impressed with the way she imposed herself late on at Newmarket last time, giving the strong impression that the step up to 1m4f could bring about significant improvement.
The selection appeared to handle the track well having a spin around the famous course last week and, available at 4-1 with Paddy Power at the time of writing (with that firm offering ¼ odds to 4 places), she now looks worthy of each-way support.
Elsewhere on the card, the second race of the day looks an interesting 1m2f handicap, in which a case can be made for a few of the runners. Top-weight Tres Coronas has been in fine form since catching the eye here in April, when behind Sennockian Star and Soviet Rock (a winner since) but he has it to do at the weights now.
The other one of real interest is the lightly-raced Air Pilot who could have been given a chance by the handicapper on an opening mark of 83. Ralph Beckett’s five-year-old scored at Thirsk after chasing home Clever Cookie at Doncaster and he looks the sort to improve for running in a strongly run race. He does, however, look as though he might need 1m4f, so the race is best watched.
The handicapper to back on the card is Sir Michael Stoute’s Abseil (3:20) in the Investec Mile Handicap. The First Defence four-year-old bolted up at Yarmouth in April, before running a sound race in defeat in a warm Chester handicap last month.
Facing more experienced rivals for the first time, he did well to finish so close given his bad draw, and he looks sure to land a valuable pot off his current mark. He has been heavily supported for the Royal Hunt Cup in recent days and this could tee him up for a crack at the Royal Ascot contest. Abseil opened up 5-2 on Friday evening.
Later on the card That Is The Spirit (4:45) is taken to maintain his 100% record and complete the hat-trick in the Listed Surrey Stakes.
David O’Meara’s Invincible Spirit gelding looked good when winning his maiden at Doncaster and defied top-weight in some style on his handicap debut at York’s Dante meeting. This represents another step up the ladder, but a couple of his higher-rated rivals have questions to answer, while he arrives here on a roll.
Getting his own way in front might not be so easy on Friday, but any further rain won’t inconvenience him and, if he can get to the lead under Danny Tudhope, he could well prove hard to peg back. The day’s third selection opened up 6-4 overnight.
3:20 Epsom: Abseil
4:00 Epsom: Taghrooda
4:45 Epsom: That Is The Spirit
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
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Last years results included:
* Leading Prospects, Arvika Ligeonniere (x3), Boston Bob, Captain Conan (x3), Champagne Fever (x2 inc Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Glens Melody, Melodic Rendezvous, Simonsig (Arkle) & Un Atout won 13 Grade 1 novice contests between them
* My Tent Or Yours won 4 times including the Betfair Hurdle and the Top Novices’ at Aintree
* Stable Round-Up included Neptune winner The New One, Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Court Minstrel and David Pipe’s Dynaste of whom it read “could follow the Grands Crus path of last year, starting in the Steel Plate And Sections before he is readied for the Feltham” – he won both races and also scored at Aintree in April
* Across The Sea – Mount Benbulben 14/1 winner of the Grade 1 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival
* Under The Hammer – horses featured in this section included Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill (25/1) and The Liquidator, who won the equivalent Grade 1 at Punchestown – this section has been greatly increased for 2013-14