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Alex looks for some Epsom value...

Alex Hammond Posted 2nd June 2012 view comments

Today is Derby day of course and for those of you that follow this blog you hopefully have a nice little antepost voucher on Camelot.

If not, then you maybe kicking yourself as he is now 8/13 favourite with Sky Bet in a rather less competitive contest on paper than the Oaks.

Joseph O'Brien on Camelot (R) wins The 2000 Guineas Stakes from French Fifteen at Newmarket last month

Joseph O'Brien on Camelot (R) wins The 2000 Guineas Stakes from French Fifteen at Newmarket last month

Barring drama I can't see him being beaten, although at a track like Epsom that is quite possible.

Aidan O'Brien has declared two of his entries leaving just nine runners for the smallest field since 1907. He also runs Dee Stakes winner Astrology who is a 8/1 chance and Ryan Moore has been booked to ride the second string.

Much has been made of 4/1 second favourite Bonfire's temperament. His trainer Andrew Balding has insisted he's just cheeky, nothing more and doesn't think the colt will be fazed by the atmosphere on Derby day.

He has an unusual element to his training routine because Balding employs a local event rider to do some flat work on him to give him something different to put his mind to. I think that's a great idea as that sort of thing can help keep a horse interested in his work.

Main Sequence hasn't done anything wrong (9/1) and David Lanagan's colt deserves his place in the line up after his win in the Lingfield Derby Trial last time which took his unbeaten run to four.

There are interesting stories surrounding some of the bigger priced horses too. Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan team up for their first Derby runner with Mickdaam who is 33/1. He won the Chester Vase last time out although in very different conditions.

Can Hayley Turner win it on her first ride in the Derby? She is on 50/1 shot Cavaliero for Marcus Tregoning who saddled Sir Percy to win this race. It seems a shame there are only nine runners, but you still get each way the 1-2-3 and to be honest I'd rather see a small select field than see some no-hoper get in the way of the horses who have earned their place in the line up especially round a tricky track like Epsom.

Let's hope Camelot wins and wins well to help make 2012 a vintage one for racing fans.


The Coronation Cup is the other Group 1 on the card and once again Aidan O'Brien is the man with the hot favourite in a small field. St Nicholas Abbey is bidding to repeat his win in this race 12 months ago and is 4/7 to do so.

His season has been geared towards this race again and the fact he has been beaten twice doesn't worry me. O'Brien has dominated this race in recent years and is another odds on shot who looks to have the best chance on all know form.

Beaten Up is 4/1 next best and William Haggas' gelding is an interesting contender. He has only had the four outings, the last of which was a 6th place finish in the Sheema Classic in March.

He is the sort to progress this season and should be kept on the go for some time due to his gelded status. I'm tempted to take a chace on him at those prices and hope that he finds the necessary improvement this season. Masked Marvel has drifted out to 8/1 for John Gosden and he is second highest rated. Last year's Leger winner should be better for his reappearance run and the ground will suit.

Ed Dunlop's Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux comes here having won the Yorkshire Cup. This is his last race before a break and a build up to another tilt at the Flemington handicap in November and if you fancy him he's 12/1.


For those of you that like trying to unravel tricky sprints the Dash should be right up your street. This is the fastest 5 furlong track in the world and these runners will be easily topping the 40 mph mark - all 20 of them.

Bear Behind is one of two 3 year-olds in the race and is the 7/1 favourite with Sky Bet. This colt is part owned by Michael Owen who was disappointed to see him demoted from first place at Musselburgh on his penultimate start. He was then just beaten on heavy ground at Sandown last time out. He has had four weeks off since then and as he goes well fresh that's a bonus but he's not for me.

Last year's winner Captain Dunne is one of three at 9/1. Catfish and Judge n Jury are his fellow 9/1 shots. Brian Meehan has booked Mikael Barzalona for Catfish who only has 8 stone 7. Barzalona rode her to be second at York last time out and she's really speedy.

Judge n Jury represents Ron Harris who is always to be feared with his sprinters and this horse comes here having won at York last time out. Captain Dunne is back to the same mark that saw him win last season and this track suits him well, he's very fast and won this in a time of 54.30s 12 months ago!

Confessional (11/1) wasn't disgraced in the Temple Stakes last weekend and like Captain Dunne is trained by Tim Easterby. Kevin Ryan is another trainer who looks well represented. York Glory will suit the drop back to 5 furlongs having disappointed over six last time, but he does have issues at the stalls and you have to hope he doesn't get upset on the day. Long Awaited is 10/1 for David Barron and Martin Dwyer.

He's not had too much racing, but being a son of Pivotal I'd be concerned if the ground is on the quick side of good. I find these races a real head scratcher, but despite top weight I quite fancy Captain Dunne to win this again with the cheekpieces back on (they were left off last time out).

Imperial Monarch has been re-routed to France on Sunday. Aidan O'Brien's colt had the option of the Epsom Derby, but he heads to Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club instead. Paul Hanagan (who has his first ride in any Derby at Epsom on Saturday) has a decent ride in the race, he's on the Roger Varian trained Ektihaam for owner Sheikh Hamdan. If Bonfire wins the Derby on Saturday then this Dante runner up is sure to be popular.


Camelot in the Derby @ 8/13 with Sky Bet (previously advised at 5/2 in March)

Beaten Up in the Coronation Cup @ 4/1 with Sky Bet

Captain Dunne in the Dash @ 9/1 with Sky Bet

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