Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with five to follow on Saturday at Epsom Downs, Worcester and Hexham. View selections below
Twelve colts will hurtle down Tattenham Corner today in their bid to join such greats of the turf as Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Shergar, Sea The Stars and 12 months ago Australia as Epsom Derby winners in a fascinating renewal of the world’s premier classic.
Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner for the last three years but I would be surprised if the prize went back to Ballydoyle on this occasion although Giovanni Canaletto, the mount of Ryan Moore, suggested there was much more to come over today’s 12f trip when staying on over ten furlongs at the Curragh last month.
Unbeaten Golden Horn is the best horse, and a tabloid headline writers’ dream, but there is plenty of pace in the race and one thing he will have to do is truly stay the mile-and-a-half trip. He wasn’t stopping in the Dante at York last time over an extended 10f and is a worthy market leader but at 7/4 with BetVictor I will look for an each way alternative given his breeding suggests there must be a doubt about his stamina.
The two that chased the favourite home in the Dante Jack Hobbs and Elm Park (4.30) are my two against the field with the latter (15/2 at BetVictor) getting the each way vote. The selection has six lengths to find on Golden Horn on Dante running but that was his first start of the season whilst the winner and runner up had both had a run this term.
Elm Park is one of only two Group One winners in the field (substandard Racing Post Trophy) and won his last four starts as a juvenile. Friday morning’s rain will have been music to trainer Andrew Balding’s ears, although the track didn’t get the significant rain he wanted, and he is entitled to improve for the step up in trip and with that run on the Knavesmire behind him.
John Gosden will walk the course this morning before deciding if Jack Hobbs takes his chance but he will surely be given the green light and will race in the blue of Godolphin for the first time. At York William Buick rode Golden Horn to beat Jack Hobbs who was partnered by Frankie Dettori; today Buick, retained jockey for Godolphin, takes over on Jack Hobbs with Dettori on Golden Horn!
The Coronation Cup is the second Group 1 contest on the card and for the second year running it looks a match between two Gallic raiders. Twelve months ago the admirable Flintshire finished runner up to Cirrus Des Aigles and he can chase home the filly Dolniya (3.10) who has beaten Flintshire into second in both starts already this term.
The selection finished behind Flintshire when fifth to Treve in the Arc but she looked the sort to progress further this term and another crack at Treve and the Arc is the ultimate aim.
Black Shadow (5.15) finished runner up in the 10f three-year-old handicap on Oaks’ Day at this meeting 12 months ago from a 4lbs lower mark and the booking of William Buick suggests connections are expecting a big run. The 4-year-old ran well behind a subsequent listed winner on his reappearance and looks to have been laid out for the race. The Amanda Perrett stable took the prize in both 2006 & 2007 and he must go close with a tissue price of 14/1 at BetVictor.
Jonjo O’Neill saddles two in the valuable handicap chase at Worcester and Richie McLernon sides with Dursey Sound but at a double-figure price I hope to see Foundation Man (2.20) bounce back on this good ground. The selection won off this mark back in October and is taken to put behind a couple of modest starts.
At Hexham Broughton (4.45) comes back from a 200 day lay-off for trainer John Ferguson, who is likely to be in his top hate at Epsom rather than in the north east given his role with Godolphin, but he could be very well treated off his current mark and first time back might be the time to catch him.