Top commentator Simon Holt previews Saturday's racing and he's got three selections including in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
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In a recent interview, Aidan O'Brien denied the deployment of team tactics in major races but it's a fair bet that one or two of his six representatives in Saturday's Investec Derby at Epsom will at least be ridden to ensure the race becomes a true test of stamina.
As last year, when Ballydoyle runners filled five of the first six places off a fast early pace set by stable-companions Sovereign and Norway, it is unlikely there will be any hiding place for non-stayers so that Kameko, the form horse, will have to prove he truly gets the trip.
One suspects that Emmet McNamara's mount Serpentine, who made all to win a maiden at The Curragh recently, will probably adopt similar tactics along with perhaps one other.
Apart from O'Brien's main hopes on jockey bookings, Mogul (Ryan Moore) and Russian Emperor (Seamie Heffernan), the home defence also features several strong stayers such as the Lingfield Derby Trial winner English King (Frankie Dettori) and the King Edward V11 Stakes first and third Pyledriver and Mohican Heights (Mogul fourth).
But, on the form available, KAMEKO is the best horse in the field.
The son of Kitten's Joy, who won the Vertem Futurity over the stiff mile at Newcastle last autumn, reappeared to land last month's 2000 Guineas and, with runner-up Wichita and third-placed Pinatubo filling the frame behind Palace Pier subsequently in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, his performance that day looks strong.
The official handicapper agrees and has Kameko rated 7lb superior to English King and O'Brien's Irish Guineas runner-up Vatican City, the mount of Padraig Beggy.
So there seems little doubt that Kameko has the class to win but will he get home over one of the toughest mile and half trips in the world?
On pedigree, there has to be a doubt. Kitten's Joy is best known for producing offspring who thrive at slightly shorter distances such as Roaring Lion, a terrific horse for Kameko's owner Sheikh Fahad, who didn't quite last home in Masar's Derby two years ago.
Kameko's dam Sweeter Still (by Rock Of Gibraltar) was best at around a mile in the States despite being a daughter of Belmez who won the King George at Ascot over a mile-and-a-half.
So, as with so many runners in any Epsom Derby, there is this question regarding stamina and the punting dilemma whether to favour the form horse or others who are more certain to stay.
Last year, O'Brien's middle-distance stayers were able to dominate but they didn't face a rival anywhere near as good as Kameko whereas, this time, the Ballydoyle brigade are up against a Classic winner whose trainer Andrew Balding believes is the best horse he has trained.
Providing Kameko switches off as well as he did at Newcastle and Newmarket, I will take his class to prove decisive.
Earlier, O'Brien is responsible for three of the seven runners in the Investec Oaks with 1000 Guineas winner LOVE (Moore) clearly the number one contender.
The daughter of Galileo put up a perfect display at Newmarket, switching off and moving beautifully on the outside of the field before comfortably drawing more than four lengths clear of Cloak Of Spirits and Quadrilateral.
Neither of the placed horses managed to boost the form at Ascot subsequently but there is every chance that Love will be even better over a mile and a half given she is a full sister to Flattering and Peach Tree who both stayed well.
My immediate feeling after the Guineas was that the Oaks would be hers for the taking and I will stick to that view despite the rapid progress achieved by market rival Frankly Darling who made the jump from a Newcastle maiden to victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes from the re-opposing O'Brien pair Ennistymon and Passion, at Ascot.
Frankie Dettori's mount looks open to further improvement but, assuming that Ennistymon and Passion are a bit behind Love in the Ballydoyle rankings, she may need to find quite a few more pounds/lengths here. There's not a lot of value on offer.
In the Investec Handicap, IRONCLAD looks interesting off a light weight.
Hugo Palmer's son of Dubawi is very well bred out of the smart Heat Haze who has produced the likes of Mirage Dancer and Forge, and after just six starts, there should be further progress this season following two victories in 2019.
Ironclad showed a good attitude when accounting for Durrell at Newmarket last July and may not have been suited by the all-weather and a mile and a half at Kempton on one subsequent start.
With Palmer's team in good form, he can take advantage of the weight concession from Caradoc and last week's Newmarket winner Desert Icon who was able to boss a small field.
Meanwhile, at Haydock, ALTERNATIVE FACT should relish the forecasted ease in the ground in the My Alerts At Bet365 Handicap.
Ed Dunlop's five-year-old won on the soft at Newmarket (1m2f) last November and has acquitted himself well on two occasions since the resumption when finishing sixth (never got a run) behind Babbo's Boy on this course before taking third to Sir Busker in the Silver Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
Given better luck in running than on his previous course visit, it is hard to see Alternative Fact being far away in his current form on ground which should be ideal.
DERBY 1-2-3: 1 KAMEKO 2. Russian Emperor 3. Mohican Heights
Preview posted at 1250 BST on 03/07/2020
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