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The Derby Festival Day Two – 03/06/2023

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The Derby Festival Day Two – 03/06/2023

Derby Day. We move on to the second day of the Epsom showpiece on Saturday. The 1:30 start time for the Classic has taken a bit of getting used to, but it is only for one year and we have one of the most open looking Derby’s for many years. Away from the feature race, we have 7 other races on the Downs on Saturday, getting underway with the Diomed stakes at 12:50. Our Racing Experts have looked through the card and found 3 bets that are worthy of consideration.

12:50 – Diomed Stakes (Group 3)

Just 6 runners head to post for the opening race. Highland Avenue is the obvious starting point, especially as he is the likely pace angle in the race. He made the running before eventually finishing 3rd in the Gordon Richards stakes behind Adayar at Newmarket last month. That was his first start since March 2022 and should be viewed as a positive return, but there are some concerns, most obviously that he may bounce after such a long absence. That is open to some guesswork, but the bare facts show that he hasn’t won a race since April 2021 and on his previous attempts in Group company, he has always been found out. It is a similar story with the likes of Escobar and Maries Diamond.

Regal Reality has a much better record at this level, with 4 wins in Group company. He was behind Highland Avenue at Newmarket, but that was on ground that was softer than ideal, and he should make a better fist of things this time around. He sets the standard and looks likely to run his race under Ryan Moore, who knows him so well. However, at the age of 8 he is unlikely to be improving and he may prove vulnerable to the younger legs of KOLSAI. Roger Varian’s 3-year-old has been slightly unlucky so far this season, bumping into Canberra Legend in the Feilden Stakes and then Cicero’s Gift at Goodwood, but he has shown signs that he is still improving and is certainly worth his place in this company. He gets 12lbs from all of his rivals on account of his 3-year-old age allowance and if he continues to improve, he may well prove too quick for his older rivals.

2:45 – Aston Martin 3YO “Dash” Handicap

This race looks like being a good addition to the Derby card, although as with any race over the sprint course at Epsom, the draw is the key. The sprint handicap run on trials day here in April seemed to suggest that the higher drawn horses would have an advantage, especially on better ground with the stands side rail to help. So, despite the strong recent form of Estate, Can to Can and Grace Angel, the camber and the draw bias are enough to put us off. There are no such worries about our selection TATTERSTALL. He was a winner at Wolverhampton in May and went close to backing that up just 7-days later in a hot handicap at York, leading and having every chance before tiring in the closing stages. He is well drawn to attack from stall 13 and looks the most likely to lead with the stands rail. The downhill run on fast ground should suit him perfectly and if he gets to the front at the start, we expect him to stay there.

4:30 – Rio Ferdinand Foundation Northern Dancer Handicap

Our final selection comes up in a competitive renewal of the Northern Dancer Handicap. Max Mayhem is likely to be popular after he made such an impressive debut for Kevin Philippart de Foy at Kempton. If he turns up in the same form then he should go close, but that was his first win since 2021 and both of his most recent good performances have come on the all-weather, so he does still need to prove that he is capable of matching that effort back on the turf. Caius Chorister has won here in the past and both Sea King and Sheer Rocks ran very well on their seasonal returns last month. However, they will all need to improve if they are to match the level of form that SCAMPI showed when winning at York last month. He travelled extremely strongly through that contest, which was his 3rd win in 5 starts and there can be no concerns about the track, as he has already proven that he can handle it when he won a handicap here last July. He has been raised 6bs for that York win, but still looks fairly treated and this race should setup perfectly for a repeat performance, with a decent gallop likely to be set by either Green Team or Caius Chorister. He should be swinging away on the bridle under Hayley Turner before been pulled out for his effort in the final 2-furlongs. If he is in the same form that he showed at York, that should be more than enough to dispatch this field.

*Prices subject to fluctuation.

Epsom 03/06/2023 – Top Picks Preview

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