David Ord's horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Investec Derby with Young Rascal a value alternative to Saxon Warrior in the Epsom Classic.
DEE EX BEE Tough and still on the upgrade judged on his half-length second to Young Rascal in the Chester Vase. He was posted wide there and his stamina is guaranteed in this. Another plus is he handled the track well when caught out by a muddling gallop when third in the Investec Trial here. Could make a bold bid.
DELANO ROOSEVELT Placed in both the Ballysax and Derrinstown Stud Trials and seemingly learning with his racing as there were still signs of greenness when second to Hazapour in the latter. Will get better as he gets wiser but hard to make convincing case as to why he’ll reverse form with his Leopardstown conqueror.
HAZAPOUR Sent off at 16/1 when winning the Derrinstown but seemingly didn’t surprise connections with that reappearance effort. From the family of Harzand, he quickened well to win at Leopardstown and is capable of going well here with more in the locker.
KEW GARDENS Beat Dee Ex Bee at Newmarket last season but no match for the enterprisingly ridden Knight To Behold in the Lingfield Trial and the balance of his form leaves him with plenty to find.
KNIGHT TO BEHOLD Lot to like about the way he routed his field at Lingfield which continued his progressive profile. More needed here – but that’s not out of the question – and can run a big race for all he won’t be allowed the same rope he enjoyed last time.
MASAR Beaten a length-and-a-half and a head by Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas following a runway win in the Craven. Pedigree offers hope he’ll stay this far but hard to see why he’ll close the gap on the Newmarket winner having enjoyed the advantage of race fitness over him at Headquarters.
ROARING LION Completely blew out behind Masar in the Craven but a step back in the right direction when fifth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, racing alone by the stands’ rail. Then ran out a spectacular winner of the Dante at York, quickening clear of his rivals and winning by four-and-a-half lengths. Touched off by Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster having headed the winner inside the final furlong, he’ll be played late here. It’s a big ask for Oisin Murphy but there’s no doubting this colt has the talent to shake the favourite up if staying.
SAXON WARRIOR Clear-cut winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on his reappearance when seasoned paddock judges felt he looked in need of the run. Reportedly thrived since, he heads here amid talk of a Triple Crown. He’s in a competitive Investec Derby, but his pedigree says he’ll be fully effective at the trip and we haven’t seen the best of him yet. A worthy market leader.
SEVENNA STAR Took a step forward from his Windsor reappearance win to land the Sandown trial and while he’s a progressive colt in very good hands, a huge leap is required now.
THE PENTAGON Slowly improving this term and good third behind Hazapour at Leopardstown last time. However hard to make a convincing case for why he’ll reverse form with that rival and Delano Roosevelt or come to that Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion on his 2017 run in the Racing Post Trophy.
YOUNG RASCAL Lot to like about his win in the Chester Vase where he overcame inexperience and a troubled passage to beat Dee Ex Bee. He is learning all the time having been “gormless” at two according to his excellent trainer. Hit the line hard at the Roodee and has any amount of improvement in him. Looks the each-way value.
ZABRISKIE Improved when third in the Dante as a 50/1 chance but other than APOB on his rug it’s hard to think of any other positives for him in an Investec Derby.
VERDICT: All eyes are on Saxon Warrior and he can stamp his class on proceedings by winning the second leg of a potential Triple Crown. He should come forward from Newmarket and is bred to thrive at the trip. However you won’t get rich backing him and YOUNG RASCAL is put forward as the each-way alternative. He’s already recorded a good level of form and there’s plenty more to come. Hazapour is another with very strong place claims.
1st Saxon Warrior
2nd Young Rascal