The Epsom Dash as we know it is a real rollercoaster ride. The fastest five furlongs in world racing means we’ll have a frenetic pace for this £75,000 race, these six horses making our shortlist.
Tim Easterby’s sprinters are in typically great form and, at the risk of appearing old fashioned, he’s not the type of trainer to send his horses so far south unless he feels they have a serious chance of winning.
Copper Knight is seven now but he’s been in great nick. A close fifth last time to the very well backed Pendleton at York, he was a winner before that at the same track and importantly that was in a contest where pace was key.
He has the turn of foot to be involved here, though his mark of 90 might just challenge him these days.
A six-year-old with 38 races under his belt and with quotes of 20/1+ next to his name, he doesn’t seem the obvious type to shortlist.
Mokaatil’s one try in this race was in 2019 when he finished 14th, but he did win here two months later over six furlongs so there aren’t too many worries about the track.
He hasn’t been at his very best of late, though conditions wouldn’t have been ideal for him. In march, at Chelmsford where once again pace was crucial, he won over five furlongs off this handicap mark and a repeat of that could see him get involved.
Antony Brittain’s four-year-old has a familiar form line. He too was behind Pendleton last time when he hated the soft ground, but was beaten only ¾ of a length behind Copper Knight before that and is just 1lb higher in the handicap now.
On that alone he has a great chance on the form book, he’s lightly raced (tenth run here), could improve plenty and is a five-furlong, good to firm winner at Pontefract which shows us he has plenty of toe. Big chance.
As a raider from Ireland for whom trainer Kevin Coleman has booked Tom Marquand, Only Spoofing is bound to attract plenty of attention and a fair bit of cash.
When trained in England, his speediest performances were either on fast going or at quick tracks such as Goodwood, while he comes into this race as a last-time-out winner having scored easily at Navan.
You could argue he’s in his best ever career form now, so we cannot say for certain that a 9lb rise is enough to stop him winning again.
Tony Carroll runs his six-year-old mare under a 6lb penalty having won at Windsor just five days before this race.
Still not at her peak, we don’t know yet how good she could be and so predicting exactly what level she can reach here is a near impossibility.
She has all the attributes needed to run very well in these conditions and she’s expected to do so, but that quick turnaround has found out plenty of horses before, even sprinters.
As long as stall 8 doesn’t prove to be too much of an inconvenience, Dean Ivory’s six-year-old must be considered to have a very serious chance.
His very best form was during last July and August when he won once and finished third twice, each time showing some good pace.
Despite being capable still of improvement having had 13 runs on the turf, Yimou is actually a few pounds lower in the handicap than at his peak in 2020 and showed last time that he is now ready to put his best foot forward.
Third at Newmarket three weeks ago, that course wouldn’t have played into his strengths necessarily. At his out-and-out fastest, which this track will drag out of him, he looks capable of running well into the mid-90’s which means he is very well in off 85.
Naturally there are plenty to choose from here with just about every horse in the maximum 20-runner line-up no doubt being backed for decent amounts over the weekend.
Only Spoofing is an obvious starting point but he does need to improve again, while Mondammej brings in the best recent form line from York.
Rose Hip could be the one if her 5-day break is enough for her to show us her best form, but YIMOU is the horse crying out for this incredibly fast-run race and it may well play right into his hands so he gets the nod at a nice price.