Fairytale win for True Story
Man On The Spot previews all the action from Epsom Downs on Investec Derby Day.
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A handful of these are likely to be fighting for the lead. Al Busayyir will be one of those as he made all at Redcar last time but is 8lb higher as he bids for a hat-trick. Double Bluff, Stars Over The Sea, Zampa Manos and What About Carlo have also made all the running before so it's not difficult to predict a hold-up horse taking advantage. Doncaster winner Hymenaios fits the bill but he was tailed off at Sandown in April while stablemates Yenhaab and Flippant both step up in trip. GALIZZI's late run just failed at Wolverhampton last time but he finished 10 lengths clear of the third and Michael Bell's colt may prove the answer in this opener.
Burtonwood has the beating, on collateral form, of Mambo Paradise but seemingly never stayed the 6f at Newmarket last time. The former's stablemate Ballymore Castle and Lightning Stride have both scored over the minimum trip but it could pay to stick with the previous 6f winners. Red Icon won nicely in soft ground at Haydock last time and will figure if the rains arrives but BAITHA ALGA landed what looked a better maiden race at Chester a week ago. The Hannon colt makes most appeal on that form and gets the vote with Frankie back on board.
It's tempting to consider Cirrus Des Aigles right back to his best but the form of his recent Group 1 victories can be cribbed. He beat a below-par Treve in testing ground in April and only had lesser opponents to beat once Olympic Glory's challenge petered out at Longchamp last time. So it could pay to take him on with another Group 1 winner from France in FLINTSHIRE. He ran flat in the Arc when last seen at the track but Andre Fabre could have found a much easier opportunity for his comeback and a big run is expected from last year's Grand Prix de Paris winner. Joshua Tree was well beaten in this last season and the German raider Empoli has come up short at this level in the past. Last year's Oaks heroine Talent has yet to equal that form in three subsequent starts though she's still preferred to the quirky Ambivalent and Battalion.
Steps beat Eton Rifles a neck at Haydock a week ago but both would prefer cut in the ground so connections will be hoping the forecast rain arrives. Monsieur Joe beat Elusivity at York last month and, along with Ballesteros, will also relish softer going. Swan Song could go well having won over track and trip in August and is preferred to Seeking Magic, who is best over 6f, while Caspian Prince is another course and distance winner with claims. Addictive Dream and Even Stevens are both all-weather speedsters with a shout but the vote goes to SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL. The latter had Tangerine Trees back in fourth when winning at Musselburgh on his comeback and has taken on classy opposition since - he was beaten only a neck in last year's renewal.
Aidan O'Brien bids to win this for the third year in a row. Australia stands out from the four Ballydoyle challengers on his close-up third in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and his position at the head of the betting reflects his chance. Kingston Hill never recovered from a tardy start in the Guineas, but the Racing Post Trophy winner has been all the rage leading up to today's Classic and will almost certainly improve for this longer trip. Godolphin's challenge is led by TRUE STORY, who didn't get the clearest of runs when third in the Dante at York behind The Grey Gatsby. The latter has since boosted the form by landing the French Derby and Kieren Fallon's mount looks likely to handle any softening of the ground better than Dante runner-up Arod. Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt was arguably finishing best of all at York but the forecast rain may spoil his chance. Fascinating Rock was awarded the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown by the stewards, though the subsequently-disqualified Ebanoran passed the post first with Ryan Moore's mount Geoffrey Chaucer nearly three lengths behind. The latter's stablemate, Orchestra, beat Romsdal a nose in the Chester Vase and another O'Brien inmate Kingfisher won the Dee Stakes at the same meeting. William Buick prefers Western Hymn to Romsdal with the former having won the Sandown Classic Trial by beating Impulsive Moment and Red Galileo. Godolphin's other runners Sudden Wonder and Pinzolo look to have plenty to find, as does Our Channel.
MIRSAALE won last year's Derby Trial here before running well in the big one. He showed something like that form when narrowly beaten by Gatewood at Goodwood a fortnight ago and is taken to confirm running with Kelinni and Blue Surf. Stomachion will no doubt prove popular stepping up in trip after scoring at Newmarket while Dare To Achieve has claims on his recent win in a Listed handicap at Hamilton. Cashpoint won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar last time with Stepping Ahead behind while Miss Marjurie went close in this grade at Newmarket on her return and can also figure.
Swiss Cross won this in 2011 but doesn't arrive in great form. By contrast, last year's winner ARCTIC FEELING went close at Haydock last week and looks set to make another bold bid racing off a lower mark this time round. Bondesire is another in fine fettle and beat Chooseday at Beverley before scoring again at Chester a week ago. Ashpan Sam finished ahead of Desert Command and Joe Packet when runner-up at Goodwood and is another with claims while Doc Hay won off a higher mark in this grade last year and can figure if the ground softens.