The second round of English fillies’ and colts’ Classics is upon us over the next couple of days, with the helter-skelter cambers and undulations of Epsom Downs the back drop for the top three-year-old middle-distance thoroughbreds to make themselves known in the Oaks and the Derby.
Friday’s ITV Racing card is headlined by the Oaks at 4.30, while post time for the Derby is an unusually early 1.30 on Saturday afternoon, making it the first leg of a great sporting double header with the FA Cup Final at 3.00.
Epsom Oaks betting tips
Aidan O’Brien has won six of the last eight runnings of the Oaks, including each of the last three and he can extend his recent winning streak with impressive Cheshire Oaks scorer SAVETHELASTDANCE.
By Galileo, out of a Scat Daddy mare, there was little to suggest she’d be at her best when lining up in that soft ground trial on the Roodee, yet she came home as she pleased to score by 22 lengths.
Her pedigree suggests that she should be a better filly on the faster going forecast at Epsom and that, along with the physical improvement expected from run to run at this age, means it’s difficult to see her being beaten.
ETERNAL HOPE, has to be high on the list of any each-way bettors, having taken out the Lingfield Oaks Trial on just her third career outing last time. She’s entitled to improve plenty for that authoritative success for master trainer Charlie Appleby.
Epsom Derby betting tips
Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Richard Kingscote teamed up to win last year’s Derby with Desert Crown, a colt making his third career start at Epsom following a run in the Dante at York. They look to have an excellent chance of repeating the dose in 2023 with PASSENGER.
The son of Ulysses wasn’t able to emulate his stablemate in winning the longstanding trial, but his one-and-a-half length dead-heat third to The Foxes has to be marked up for the trouble he suffered in running.
After the race Kingscote told the stewards that the colt was continually denied a clear run from approximately 2f out to the 1f marker, yet he was still able to flash home with gusto once the gap belatedly emerged.
Rated just 5lbs off the best in the race (August Rodin – official rating 117), having raced just twice, he’s entitled to come on plenty for that effort both in terms of physicality and racing know how.
That Stoute thinks this is a Derby horse is evident from his campaign to date. Usually a trainer known for his supreme patience, the Bajan knight was evidently keen to get the colt ready for Epsom, having fielded him at York after he was withdrawn from another trial at Chester a week earlier.
Each-way players will find plenty to like in DUBAI MILE, the highest placed 2,000 Guineas finisher to contest the Derby after a fifth-placed finish at Newmarket.
The mile Classic is often regarded as some of the most pertinent pre-Epsom form on offer and his back catalogue is further burnished by a 1m2f Grade 1 win over the reopposing Arrest on the final start of his juvenile campaign.