Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Epsom Downs and Musselburgh. View selections below
Aidan O’Brien saddles five runners in his quest to claim a 6th Derby success, fourth in the past 5 years, with four of those by Coolmore super-sire Galileo – the horse he trained to claim his first Derby success 15 years ago. Ryan Moore opts to partner the beautifully-bred US Army Ranger who maintained his unbeaten record with defeat of the re-opposing stablemate Port Douglas in last month’s Chester Vase.
Derby prices from BetVictor
US Army Ranger 4/1
Wings of Desire 9/2
Cloth of Stars 7/1
He has been the Ballydoyle ‘hype horse’ this term but was far from impressive at Chester; despite receiving 5lb from his stablemate. He is likely to go off favourite ahead of John Gosden’s Wings of Desire with the Pivotal colt 9/2 with BetVictor to give Frankie Dettori a third Derby success. Much like last year’s Epsom hero Golden Horn, he scored for the combination in last month’s Dante at York and is bred to relish the step up to a mile and a half.
Another bred for the job is Ulysses (4.30); by 2001 Derby winner Galileo and out of the 2007 Oaks winner Light Shift and very well backed to follow in her parents’ illustrious hoove-prints. The colt had subsequent London Gold Cup winner Imperial Aviator, 7/1 with BetVictor for tomorrow’s French Derby at Chantilly, in behind when storming clear in a hot Leicester maiden and reported to be thriving at home thereafter. It marks a massive step up in grade but trainer Sir Michael Stoute doesn’t often tilt at windmills and he can likewise reward each-way support under Andrea Atzeni.
Stoute boasts a tremendous record in the opening 10f Handicap, winning the corresponding contest 12 months ago with the impressive Stravagante, and can follow-up with Poet’s Word (2.00) under Ryan Moore. The selection shed the maiden tag at the fourth time of asking last month at Nottingham and looks very well treated from an opening mark of 85. The second, third and fourth from his maiden success all won on their next start and this colt looks a group horse masquerading as a handicapper.
Postponed will take all the beating in the other Gp 1 contest over a mile and a half, the Coronation Cup, with Roger Varian’s colt 2/2 since joining the yard from Luca Cumani last autumn. Last season’s King George winner was a decisive winner of the Sheema Classic when last sighted at Meydan in the spring but must give 3lb to the pair of fillies Found and Simple Verse (3.10) with marginal preference for the latter on her preferred surface. Ralph Beckett’s St Leger heroine made a pleasing return on Guineas weekend and Newmarket and can reward each-way support under Oisin Murphy.
French raider Sayana (2.35) is unopposable in the Gp 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes and should make light work of her five rivals under regular partner Cristophe Soumillion. The selection is unbeaten in her last three starts, winning in listed grade last time out at Chantilly, and looks a potentially very smart filly for connections.
Trainer Paul Midgeley boasts a terrific record in the Epsom Dash and is double-handed with last year’s 1-2 Desert Law and Monsieur Joe (3.45) with the latter taken to reverse the form under Graham Lee. The 9-y-o is on 8lb better terms with his stablemate and should be cherry ripe after two recent runs at Naas and Deauville.
There’s terrific supporting card up at Musselburgh where Godolphin’s Blair House (2.15) can book his ticket to Royal Ascot by giving weight and a beating to his ten rivals in the mile handicap under Philip Makin. The selection made a winning debut last month at Nottingham, winning the BetVictor Million Pound Goal Maiden in good style, and looks well-treated from a lucrative opening mark.
Roger Charlton’s string remain in good form and recent Leicester winner Blakeney Point (3.25) can defy a 5lb rise to follow-up under Joey Haynes. The selection stayed on strongly to score impressively stepping up to a mile and a half and with just five career starts is open to much further improvement.