The two-day Investec Derby Festival gets underway at Epsom Downs on Friday, with the highlights the Oaks, the Derby as well as a supporting cast of races like the Coronation Cup. Aidan O’Brien is the man to beat over the two days – he has an incredible seven of the 13 declared runners for Saturday’s showpiece race the Investec Derby.
Here is a preview of the best of the action over the two days in Surrey that are among the top highlights of any flat season.
3.10 Investec Coronation Cup (Group 1): The older horses tackle the classic 12-furlong distance with Aidan O’Brien’s Kew Gardens going head-to-head with Lah Ti Dar from the John Gosden yard and Charlie Appleby’s Old Persian.
Betting: 7-4 Kew Gardens, 11-4 Lah Ti Dar, 10-3 Old Persian, 8-1 Salouen, 14-1 Morando, 16-1 Defoe, 20-1 Marmelo, 22-1 Communique, 100-1 Cypress Creek.
4.30 Investec Oaks (Fillies’ Group 1): It could well be O’Brien versus Gosden once more as the British champion trainer’s Mehdaayih takes on the Ballydoyle favourite Pink Dogwood. For good measure Gosden also has Anapurna.
Betting: 9-4 Pink Dogwood, 5-2 Mehdaayih, 6-1 Anapurna, Maqsad, 10-1 Manuela De Vega, 12-1 Frankellina, 12-1 Lavenders Blue, 20-1 Tarnawa, 25-1 Fleeting, 33-1 Peach Tree, 40-1 Delphinia, Tauteke, 66-1 Blue Gardenia, 100-1 Sh Boom.
2.35 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3): Not the greatest Group race ever seen on this old track but Michael Stoute’s Veracious had a good three-year-old campaign and she will be tough to beat here with William Haggas’s Awesometank perhaps the one to challenge.
Betting: 6-4 Veracious, 10-3 Nyaleti, 9-2 Anna Nerium, Awesome Tank, 8-1 Bella Ragazza, 16-1 Contrive, 33-1 Akvavera, Vivianite.
3.10 Investec Diomed Stakes (Group 3): Mordin (Simon Crisford), Zaaki (Michael Stoute) and Bye Bye Hong Kong (Andrew Balding) are unbeaten this season in what could be a good contest over an extended mile.
Betting: 13-8 Zaaki, 11-4 Bye Bye Hong Kong, 7-2 Oh This Is Us, 11-2 Mordin, 14-1 Chief Ironside, 20-1 Master The World, 66-1 Zabriskie.
3.45 Investec ‘Dash’ Handicap: Twenty sprinters are declared for this 5f dash and it could be a chance for some of the smaller trainers to get a win on the big day, with Duke Of Firenze for David Griffiths perhaps the one.
Betting: 4-1 Hathiq, 8-1 Duke Of Firenze, Muthmir, Copper Knight, Dark Shot, 12-1 Eeh Bah Gum, Just That Lord, 14-1 Ornate, Mokaatil, 16-1 Caspian Prince, Blue De Vega, Fool For You, 20-1 Bar.
4.30 Investec Derby Stakes (Group 1): Aidan O’Brien has seven of the 13 runners with Sir Dragonet the main hope after two wins, the latest an impressive success in the Chester Vase. Broom is perhaps best of the rest with the home challenge led by the recently-supplemented Telecaster for Hughie Morrison.
Betting: 5-2 Sir Dragonet, 9-2 Broome, Telecaster, 6-1 Anthony Van Dyck, 8-1 Bangkok, 10-1 Japan, Madhmoon, 16-1 Circus Maximus, 25-1 Line Of Duty, 33-1 Norway, 50-1 Humanitarian, Sovereign, 200-1 Hiroshima.