Value Bet: Stick with Ebanoran
Ben Linfoot sticks with his ante-post tip Ebanoran in the Investec Derby while he's siding with one horse each-way in the 'Dash'.
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As I sit in the media centre at 8am on Derby day morning there is a drizzle but only that. Just 2mm of rain has fallen on the Downs thus far and the going is Good, Good to Firm in places and despite earlier forecasts of torrential downpours, it looks, at the moment, unlikely that we will see any 'soft' appear in that going description by the time they line up for the big one.
You don't get any bigger than the Investec Derby and Australia fans will be hoping that the rain stays away for the Classic favourite, as a significant going change would hinder his chance.
He's the form choice on his Guineas run, he's the buzz horse because of what he does on the Ballydoyle gallops and he's bred to win the Derby. It's 13 years since his sire, Galileo, romped clear of Golan in stunning fashion and a decade since his dam, Ouija Board, won the Oaks by seven lengths.
With the ground not likely to be against him, any enhanced prices you can get your hands on this morning are worth getting onside. At 4/6 he was worth taking on, but at 2/1 and bigger it's a bit of a no-brainer.
Kingston Hill has been the one for money all week but connections probably hoped for a bit more rain and if the ground remains on the 'Good' side it's difficult to see how he can reverse Guineas form with Australia.
After the Guineas, the best trial for this year's Derby in my opinion was the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial when Ebanoran beat Fascinating Rock with Geoffrey Chaucer back in third. Fascinating Rock was awarded the race in the stewards' room afterwards following interference from the first past the post.
All three have claims but Fascinating Rock looks the least likely to stay while Geoffrey Chaucer has edged by his rightful place in the market thanks to a rumour-fuelled gamble a couple of weeks ago and the booking of Ryan Moore.
That leaves Ebanoran, who I advised at 20/1 ante-post a couple of weeks ago. There's nothing I want to add to the Derby staking plan this morning and we'll rely on the John Oxx-trained colt who remains fairly priced at 16s.
In a nutshell, the reasons for backing him were the form he showed in the Derrinstown, the superb record of his trainer when he brings horses across to the UK (especially the Derby - he's two from three) and the influence of stamina on his dam's side that should ensure he relishes every yard of the mile-and-a-half this afternoon.
There are plenty of doubtful stayers in today's Derby, but I don't think Ebanoran will be one of them despite the speed he's shown over shorter trips in his brief career.
Earlier on, the Investec Specialist Bank Dash is all about speed as 20 sprinters go hell-for-leather down the fastest five-furlong track in the country.
That should suit Even Stevens who looked like he needed a four-furlong race at York last week. If Matthew Hopkins can contain him in the early stages he's a danger to all with a rail draw, but at 12/1 he doesn't really appeal considering there's a good chance he won't last home in this company.
Instead he could pave the way for others on the stands' side and I'm particularly keen on the chances of TAAJUB, drawn next to him in stall 19.
Peter Crate's charge is a regular in this contest and finished fourth in 2012 off a 2lb higher mark and a three-length 10th last year off an 8lb higher mark when hampered.
His high draw this afternoon is the best he has ever had in the race and he should get the perfect tow into it up the stands' rail if Even Stevens is up to his usual tricks.
He's been placed at Epsom three times but was an eased-down ninth last time on his return to turf but he could never get into it after racing wide from a low draw and the run is best ignored.
It's a really competitive race and dangers are everywhere, including his stablemate Elusivity who keeps knocking on the door and is likely to win a decent handicap sooner rather than later off his current mark.
I just wonder if he'll end up leaving it too little, too late from his low draw and at 12/1 he's not really tempting enough despite being obviously well-handicapped and in great form.
Instead, I'll rely on the stable second-string who makes plenty of appeal at 22/1 or a general 20/1. Plenty of bookmakers offer five places including Sky Bet so shop around.
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet Aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK. Running total: +253.81pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).