We’re off to Epsom for their spring meeting with the highlight being the Class Two Investec Derby Trial Conditions event over 10 furlongs at 3.20. That main event is sandwiched between two famous old handicaps, the Great Metropolitan at 2.50 and the City and Suburban at 3.55. Catterick is the supporting meeting on the turf in the afternoon along with Perth over the sticks while the evening action comes from Kempton Park, Hereford and day two of the Punchestown Festival.
Epsom Tips –
2.15 – Epsom – Surprisingly no Dandy Nicholls entry for this opening sprint, but the booking of Ryan Moore for FATHOM FIVE does hugely interest me. A winner of this race two years ago, he ran well on several occasions here last year notably when just half a length off the classy Captain Dunne in the Dash on Derby Day. That run came off a mark of 91 and he now finds himself running off 82 and has a fair record fresh as well and further rain wouldn’t be a problem.
Down at the bottom of the weights Perfect Pastime has to be of interest with a run under his belt. Well drawn in stall 10, he has performed with credit on both starts here, twice finishing runner-up, and has strong place claims. The likes of Jamesway (finished very strongly in the Dash) and Desert Phantom (should have come on for seasonal debut) are also worthy of a second glance.
BET NOW – FATHOM FIVE (each-way)
2.50 – Epsom – On his run at Royal Ascot last year Communicator would have solid claims off a mark of 86, but in two subsequent starts at York and Ascot he ran as if something was amiss; the market should tell us plenty. AIKEN is the obvious alternative having finished off last year in progressive style with a win at Ascot off 80. An 11lbs rise looks slightly harsh, but he comes from a family line that normally improve with age and it is worth acknowledging that he idled that day. The soft ground is a bonus and he could well leave this sort of grade behind this season.
Of the remainder, Life and Soul is also fairly treated, but is probably better off over a stiff 10 furlongs, while Gosbeck is interesting on her seasonal debut back on softer ground which she seemed to enjoy last season and she in turn is preferred to top weight Ithoughtitwasover.
BET NOW – AIKEN
3.20 – Epsom – Cameron Highland hosed up in a maiden at Redcar two weeks ago and this son of Galileo has plenty more to give. However, he was fully entitled to win that in the style he did and this is a different kettle of fish and UNEX MICHELANGELO is preferred. John Gosden’s charge also won a modest maiden last year, but stepped up on that when finishing a staying on fifth in a Listed race at Saint-Cloud at the backend on heavy ground shaping as though this extra two furlongs would suit. Aiden O’Brien’s Thomasgainsborough looked patently one paced last season even over a mile but does have a willing attitude, but whether that will be enough to see him overturn some unexposed sorts is questionable.
BET NOW – UNEX MICHELANGELO
3.55 – Epsom – Tres Coronas won nicely on similar ground at Newcastle last time out, but took plenty of time to get on top that day and the extra four pounds may just scupper his chance in a much better race. The alternatives are plentiful in a very competitive renewal of the City and Suburban with last year’s winner Spanish Duke leading the way. The John Dunlop trained charge is a mere five pounds higher than when winning this very decisively last year but even a good run in a conditions event at the backend of summer didn’t get anywhere near that form. The key to his chance is being able to settle through the first half of the race which makes him a candidate for an in running bet or lay as the case may be.
RESURGE and Ramona Chase finished second and third behind the Duke last year and preference is for the former, a pound lower than in 2011 and arguably better suited to this bit more give in the ground. A full six pounds better off for being beaten a length that day the course specialist looks the each-way call. Dick Doughtywylie is the unexposed sort in the line-up and while he has scored with give in the ground I wonder if he has the requisite experience for the job at hand, the market should also give us a sound guide to his chance.
BET NOW – RESURGE (each-way)