Top commentator Simon Holt thinks Saxon Warrior will win leg two of the Triple Crown in Saturday's Investec Derby while he has one tip on the undercard.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
As the betting market suggests, last month's impressive 2000 Guineas winner SAXON WARRIOR has exceptionally strong claims in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday.
The son of Japanese superstar Deep Impact, who bids to give Aidan O'Brien a seventh success in the historic Classic, is unbeaten in four starts and, despite lacking a previous run this season, he travelled powerfully at Newmarket and readily delivered a decisive turn of foot to beat the outsider Tip Two Win with Masar third and subsequent Dante Stakes winner Roaring Lion fifth.
Last October, Saxon Warrior inflicted a rather narrower defeat on the last-named in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, fighting back gamely having been headed by Roaring Lion whose rider Oisin Murphy blamed himself for committing too early while the pair were two-and-a-half lengths clear of third-placed The Pentagon.
On pedigree, the favourite may well boast the perfect blend of speed and stamina given that his dam Maybe, by Galileo, was a Group One winning two-year-old before finishing third in the 1000 Guineas.
And three of Saxon Warrior's wins have come on ground softer than good so that the threat of quite testing conditions should not be a concern despite O'Brien's preference for a dryer surface. Indeed, with small concerns emerging over the ground, Saxon Warrior’s price has eased temptingly in the last two days.
Obviously, given the favourite's short odds, it is tempting to seek an each-way alternative though effectively that means trying to find a horse to finish second or third.
Despite two defeats by Saxon Warrior, Roaring Lion is certainly a leading contender after showing a terrific turn of foot to win at York, so confounding those of us who felt he might not have enough stamina for a mile-and-a-quarter.
Trainer John Gosden got it right that day, but the son of Kitten's Joy would again defy his pedigree if able to prove equally effective over this stiff mile-and-a-half and it seems unlikely that he will turn the tables on his old rival. Indeed, Sunday's Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly over the shorter distance might have been a better alternative.
On form, a danger to the favourite could be Hazapour who took a big step forward when picking up impressively to beat the O'Brien pair Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon (with subsequent Group Three winner Platinum Warrior fourth) in the Derrinstown Stud Trial at Leopardstown.
Related to Dermot Weld's 2016 Epsom hero Harzand, the son of Shamardal should get the trip, looks a very handy type who ought to handle the tricky course well and could be improving fast. On a line through The Pentagon, he is not that far behind Saxon Warrior and should confirm the Leopardstown placings.
Given their stout pedigrees, however, any of the O'Brien runners could make dramatic improvement - as Wings Of Eagles did 12 months ago - when faced with a stiffer test while the domestically-trained Knight To Behold (front-running winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial) and Chester Vase winner Young Rascal also look certain stayers.
Young Rascal is a particularly likeable sort and there should be more to come after his comfortable defeat of Dee Ex Bee on the Roodee, though the fact that the runner-up was no match for O'Brien's seemingly lesser-fancied Kew Gardens at Newmarket last October probably puts the form into context.
In turn, Kew Gardens could never quite get to grips with Knight To Behold at Lingfield and Richard Kingscote should surely be bold again on Harry Dunlop's grand galloper who settled very well in front once allowed to stride on.
While the O'Brien team might not wish for an end-to-end blitz just in case Saxon Warrior has stamina limitations, Knight To Behold could well be turning the screw even if it's difficult to imagine another uncontested lead.
Finally, one horse who has been overlooked in the betting is Masar who started favourite for the Guineas and ran well yet is now set to go off at around 25/1.
The consensus seems to be that the son of Derby winner New Approach won’t stay but there’s quite a good chance he will given that his half sister Vancouverite, by the weaker stamina influence of Dansili, stayed a mile-and-a-quarter.
Moreover, aside from Saxon Warrior, Masar has mixed it with other leaders of his generation beating recent Irish Guineas winner Romanised at Sandown last season and finishing just behind French Guineas winner Olmedo in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly in October. And the only time William Buick’s mount has run badly was on dirt at Meydan in March.
In conclusion, it is hard to oppose the favourite but Hazapour deserves plenty of respect and Masar looks over-priced.
Later, any members of the Royal Family in attendance should delay their departure for PACIFY in the Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap.
Running in the colours of the Prince Of Wales and the Duchess Of Cornwall, the six-year-old could be well suited by this first attempt at a mile-and-a-half and, not for the first time, was keeping on well here over two furlongs shorter on his reappearance.
Pacify seems to act well on the course having finished second to Dark Red on soft ground in the 2016 City And Suburban Handicap and he is now 6lb lower than his career-high rating. A big run is expected under Harry Bentley.