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Man On The Spot previews all seven races on the opening day of Epsom's Derby meeting, which includes the Investec Oaks.
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Thistle Bird's only win of last year came in this event though this looks a tougher renewal. The Charlton filly needs to reverse latest running at York with Odeliz and Mango Diva and may well do so, but JUST THE JUDGE is worth another chance. Last year's winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas lost her form at the end of the season but is expected to improve from a comeback run in the Earl Of Sefton at Newmarket and gets the nod. Dual Listed winner Zurigha is another to consider as she has the beating of recent Ascot winner Amulet on collateral form and the remainder are mostly smart handicappers looking for their first wins in pattern company.
Resurge is difficult to catch right but won this in 2011 and again last year. He had Tres Coronas back in third in the 2013 renewal and the latter won nicely at Chester last month beating Sennockian Star. Mark Johnston's charge had earlier scored over track and trip when easily beating stablemate Salutation and Charles Camoin, although Hi There and subsequent Lingfield winner Soviet Rock finished a lot closer and are not without a shout. Aussie Reigns and Farraaj have tough tasks off their current marks back in handicap company so a chance is taken on the returning CLON BRULEE. A progressive four-year-old, Saeed Bin Suroor's charge ran well in hot handicaps at Meydan early in the year and may not have finished improving yet.
This looks very tight on the formbook. Gregorian goes well fresh, although he had already had an outing before winning last year's renewal. He beat recent Haydock winner Penitent in last season's running and the latter just got the better of French Navy at Newmarket in November. French Navy has subsequently beaten fellow Godolphin charge Windhoek at Goodwood but has something to find on earlier running with GRAPHIC. Williiam Haggas' inmate continued his good progress from last year when landing the Doncaster Mile in March and Ryan Moore has partnered him to victory before. This may prove a shade too competitive for Highland Knight nowadays but Edu Querido is capable of much better than he showed at Chester where both the track and soft ground disagreed with him.
Vainglory won this off the same mark last year and is back for another crack. Dance And Dance picked up the 2011 renewal and went close at Newmarket last time with Angelic Upstart not far behind. The lightly-raced Abseil will have his supporters if the ground remains good, though he was still beaten five lengths when runner-up at Chester, while Farlow has so far proved best over 7f. Tigers Tale has decent claims back over a mile and is preferred to Velox, but it's LLANARMON LAD that makes most appeal. The latter is raised in class after scoring at Thirsk but has plenty of scope having only his seventh start and a high draw has not proved a problem in recent runnings of this contest.
Marvellous has leading claims having won the Irish 1,000 Guineas by three lengths. A strict interpretation of that form gives her the beating of Newmarket 1000 Guineas third Ihtimal. Although neither of the above are guaranteed to improve for this longer trip, TARFASHA's breeding suggests she almost certainly will. Dermot Weld's filly is a half-sister to top-class stayer Saddlers Rock and Irish Derby runner-up Galileo Rock and warmed up for this with a Group Three victory over 1m2f at Naas. She gets the vote despite sporting her owners second colours behind Taghrooda. The latter has been well supported ante-post and is one of a host of Oaks trial winners on show having won a Listed race at Newmarket in fine style. Volume landed the Swettenham at Newbury last month and Madame Chiang was successful in the Musidora at York. Anipa picked up the Cheshire Oaks and Honor Bound won the Lingfield trial by a nose. Amazing Maria hasn't raced since winning the Prestige Stakes over 7f at Goodwood in August while Marsh Daisy was successful in a Listed event at the same track recently. All of the remainder have been beaten by one of those already mentioned and have some improving to do to get involved.
Parbold is clear best at the weights but disappointed when favourite at Haydock last week and has already fallen prey to Coulsty this season. The latter also beat Miracle Of Medinah when landing a Listed contest at Newmarket last month and he looks the one to beat on that form. Saying that, it could pay to stick with the unbeaten THAT IS THE SPIRIT in this. He followed up a win at Doncaster with a cosy victory in a tough handicap at York and is open to any amount of further improvement. Penny Drops has a tough task on today's terms and Silver Treasure's recent win came in a maiden race in the French provinces.
Legend Rising faces different conditions today having won over a mile in soft ground at Chester last month. It was also testing going when Bretherton beat Lincoln and Art Official at Haydock recently. The former's stablemate Shot In The Sun is preferred on his earlier second at York when Torchlighter was well beaten and Almargo makes more appeal than the latter back over 7f. Nakuti and Nova Champ are not easily overlooked in a wide-open affair but the unexposed KAFEEL gets the vote to come good in this after running well on his reappearance and seasonal debut at Kempton.