The ground for the Investec Derby meeting was changed to good to soft yesterday but there is no further significant rain forecast between now and Friday and conditions are likely to be on the fast side of good at Epsom for the weekend classics. BetVictor are now Non Runner No Bet on the Oaks and Derby with John Gosden’s son of Frankel Cracksman 7/2 favourite for the main event on Saturday.
Gosden sends out another of Frankel’s progeny Westerland (1.50) at Leicester this afternoon only eleven days on from his racecourse debut when he finished second at Newbury. The fact that he is out so quickly would suggest to me that the trainer is considering a tilt at the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting if he breaks his maiden tag today. The ground was soft when the selection lost on debut and today’s sounder surface should be ideal.
The booking of Ryan Moore for Match Maker is significant given trainer Simon Crisford won the corresponding race 12 months ago with the 100-rated Rodaini. It promises to be a most informative contest with Mark Johnston’s Moakkad also making plenty of appeal on breeding.
In the second division Leeshaan (2.20) will appreciate being stepped up to six furlongs having shaped with considerable promise at Beverley at the beginning of the month over the minimum trip. As a January foal he will be one the oldest if not the oldest in the field and he sets a fair standard for the newcomers.
I was very impressed with Vernatti (3.50) at Yarmouth last time and I hope this lightly-raced filly can defy her 8lb rise for Pam Sly. The selection is from the family of the stable’s 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa and the step up to 10f saw her in a much better light last time. Dora’s Field looked an improved performer having her first start for Stuart Kittow at Chepstow on her reappearance and a 2lb rise looks fair- she was keen on that occasion and looks the biggest danger to the selection.
Roussel (4.20) cost £360,000 at the recent Newmarket Breeze Ups and is taken to make a winning racecourse debut for Charlie Appleby in the 5f novice stakes. The selection is a son of Kodiac who can certainly produce some speedy types. The biggest danger might be another debutant the Oasis Dream colt Mutabaahy who has the assistance of Jim Crowley. Note trainer Ed Dunlop has not had a winner in the last fortnight and is yet to have a juvenile winner this term.
Al Lingfield Mulzim (2.4) has only been raised 3lbs for scoring at Wolverhampton last month under Dane O’Neill and there is every chance that he can defy the rise although he comes with the caveat of being an Ed Dunlop representative – we have already mentioned that the stable could do with a winner.
Starshell (5.10) might have bumped into one when runner up over C&D from a 2lbs lower mark last time. The selection looks sure to improve with that run under his belt and it is significant that Sir Mark Prescott has the selection in three more races later in the week. He represents a confident selection.
The opener at Newton Abbot this evening looks a match with Whatzdjazz (5.50) just favoured over Katy P. The selection won on her hurdles debut in a good time at Worcester and she is taken to follow up for the inform Skeltons.
Day Of Roses (6.20) could be called the from some way out at Fontwell on Sunday and a 7lbs penalty won’t stop him following up if in the same mood for Jeremy Scott. The concern of course is today’s race will come too soon but his jumping was excellent apart from one serious mistake which he just laughed off such was his superiority. The Paul Nicholls trained Braqueur D’Or makes his chase debut and can pick up the pieces if the recommendation is not in the same mood as at the Sussex track.
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