Traditionally the quickest five furlongs in the country, the Epsom Dash on Derby day means an all-out sprint going downhill all the way but this year the typically packed field has soft ground to contend with, a highly unusual event on the downs at this time of year.
The race is its usual competitive affair with a maximum field of 20 going to post and as such it’s hard to turn a longlist into a shortlist; however here are seven against the field who may all have a reasonable shot at the £61,000 prize:
Blue De Vega
The ground shouldn’t be too much of a worry for this one and he’s definitely one who is improving now for trainer Robert Cowell having joined him last October. Assuming a high draw is still good his stall position in 14 should offer no significant problems and a big run is expected.
Boom The Groom
The selection of many; Tony Carroll’s charge was a good sixth in this race last year but that was on different ground. He’s in form after running well here over course and distance on his latest start and can come on again, however the ground may not be to his liking and he has a rather middling draw.
Ran just OK here in April along with a few of today’s rivals but will definitely improve from that. A look at his profile overall suggests his best run is still to come and it’ll be planned to coincide with today, and only his bad draw negates what looks a huge chance given how well he ran on heavy ground on his final start of 2017.
Although he doesn’t have the best draw and ran below par on his seasonal reappearance, there is a lot to like about Robert Cowell’s overpriced entrant. His win at Catterick in October on similar ground to what he’ll encounter here marks him out as a leading chance and, given that was his fifth ever racecourse start, there is no doubt that he will improve further as the season goes on. Big chance.
Very strongly punted since being beaten narrowly at York in a good race behind El Astronaute, all of his runs over the last two years have been on good ground or faster but he did indeed win back in 2016 on soft ground and it may even be that he improves on it. He has a plum draw and a terrific chance.
Drawn right on the rail and capable of bouncing out and keeping his stands-side position, he has plenty going for him in the conditions but has a penchant for throwing in a bad run and it’s not for us to say that it cannot happen here so on the balance of things cannot be taken confidently for the win.
Winner of a race over course and distance in April in which he had a number of these rivals in behind, he would seem to be able to give his best running on rain-softened ground but is not absolutely guaranteed to give his best running right now. Well drawn.
I know that there are plenty who believe in Tarboosh’s chances and I can agree that he has a terrific place chance, certainly he’s better priced than Dark Shot who too has a squeak though they may both struggle to peg back long shot STORM OVER.
Robert Cowell is excellent in handling these sprint types and in Storm Over’s case we are nowhere near finding the bottom of him, so with natural improvement on ground we know he likes he is taken to grab the prize at a tasty each-way price.