Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Epsom Downs on Saturday. View selections below.
TRUE STORY (4.00) can cap the remarkable renaissance of former champion jockey Kieren Fallon by landing the Investec Derby for Godolphin.
The boys in blue have enjoyed little luck in Britain’s premier Classic and the draw in stall one, which historically has a shocking record in the blue riband, has not been kind. However, Fallon has ridden seven Classic winners around Tattenham Corner and the wily old fox can plot a route to the hallowed winner’s circle. True Story burst on to the scene with a wide-margin romp in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket in April and was duly sent off favourite to land the Dante at York. His bubble appeared to have been burst when trailing The Grey Gatsby and Arod but the winner’s subsequent success in the French Derby has re-ignited confidence. York throws up more than its fair share of shocks and Fallon reported that True Story was never at ease on the loose surface. Connections are hoping the heavy thunderstorms forecast for the Epsom area prove inaccurate as True Story would prefer good ground to produce his devastating turn of foot. Australia is a worthy, but drifting, favourite judged on his 2000 Guineas form, while any significant rainfall would enhance Kingston Hill’s prospects.
FLINTSHIRE (2.40) could upset hot favourite Cirrus Des Aigles in the Investec Coronation Cup. Andre Fabre has saddled six winners of this Group 1 contest over the Derby trip and it is worth recalling Flintshire was being touted as an Arc winner after strolling clear in the Grand Prix de Paris last July. The colt failed to reach those dizzy heights on unfavourable deep ground but if all eight runners stand their ground he looks a knocking each-way bet. Popular globe-trotter Cirrus Des Aigles raised a few eyebrows when beating impressive Arc winner Treve in the Prix Ganay but has always looked vulnerable when stepping up to 12 furlongs.
SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL (3.15) can go one better than 12 months ago in the Investec Dash. Despite the worst of the draw and being hampered on leaving the stalls, David O’Meara’s sprinter produced a magnificent effort to almost cut down Duke Of Firenze. Stall 18 is a lovely berth near the fence if Danny Tudhope can avoid the inevitable bunching in this 20-runner field.
AL BUSAYYIR (1.35) can complete his hat-trick in the opening 1m 2f handicap. Marco Botti’s improving gelding beat off in-form Libran on soft ground at Redcar, stepping up on an earlier success at Beverley when encountering a sounder surface. Both victories came over this trip.
DARE TO ACHIEVE (4.50) shoulders joint top weight in the Investec Zebra Stakes, a tough handicap over the Derby distance. William Haggas re-introduced this gelded son of Galileo in a Listed event at Hamilton and the trip north paid off with a battling success over the somewhat reluctant Rawaki. There was a yawning gap back to solid yardstick Sirvino and Dare To Achieve could be a handicapper to follow.
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