Given that it’s all done downhill and there is an obvious track bias, this race is all about sheer speed and getting a good draw so with that in mind we have chosen the following six horses to make up our shortlist, with the selection hopefully proving to be great value on what is Epsom Derby day.
Tim Easterby’s five-year-old gelding has looked in better nick this season than he ever has before and there’s no obvious reason why that form should suddenly break down in this race.
In big fields he has beaten Foolaad and run close to today’s rival Duke Of Firenze at York showing some blistering speed, naturally a major factor in this race, while David Allan’s mount is also drawn in stall 15 which will be no hindrance either.
Not the best drawn of our half-dozen in 9, Dark Shot has been there and done it somewhat having run second and fifth in the last two renewals of this race for trainer Scott Dixon and he can certainly go well again.
Given that draw he’s not the best value in the race, potentially going off at a single-figure price, but we cannot ignore his chances so he is far from overlooked for win purposes under jockey Paddy Mathers.
Drawn right up the near side in gate 20, Stuart Williams’ improving 5yo looks just the right type for this event and comes into the race on the back of a win at Newmarket, albeit in a lower grade race.
That event took a lot more getting in terms of the track, Daschas having to climb uphill to the finish on genuine good ground, but having shown a lot of pace it seems this race will suit him more and he may be seen to best effect here and that’s something that gives him a solid place chance.
Duke Of Firenze
This admirable ten-year-old is a standing dish in this race having taken part in it five times already, but the fact is that after winning on his first attempt back in 2013 for Sir Michael Stoute he has kept coming back and getting beaten and of course he’s no spring chicken.
Crucially however he is back in top form for David Griffiths having won his last two starts at Thirsk and York, and catching a sprinter in form from a good draw at a unique track we know he runs well at is a tactic that has worked for many a punter in the past.
Denis Hogan’s runner is the long-standing ante-post favourite for this race and we have to bear in mind that this could be a real ‘job’. His wily trainer could have pre-planned to get plenty of improvement out of him meaning he may not have been at his best when winning his previous two runs, a scary thought for rivals.
He did it ever so easily last time out at the Curragh on fast ground and the race should have put him spot on for this, but that was a seven-runner event and the make-up of this race is entirely different so at odds of around 5/1 he looks too short to get involved with, albeit he cannot be left off the shortlist.
William Haggas’ gelding is a nine-year-old now and he’s a grand old thing; always offering us some big performances and some value betting opportunities year after year.
The trick of course is catching him at just the right time but seeing as how his seasons can be up and down and he’s all pace, his first run of the year going down the hill at Epsom could be perfect.
He ran consistently last season to a mark of around 110 and there are no signs that he will be appreciably worse now, so getting in here off 105 and being drawn near the rail are major positives and his trainer’s current form is excellent.
In terms of his bare pace Daschas has to come into calculations with the only worry about him being his relative inexperience at this level, while favourite Hathiq has to race in entirely different circumstances to his recent easy successes in Ireland.
Copper Knight is a solid option but that has been reflected in his single-figure price, while everything could fall just right now for old favourite and previous Group performer MUTHMIR who has an outstanding chance of winning.