Crown to win on Jubilee weekend

Racegoers at Epsom Downs center course enclosures on Derby Day

Epsom selections Saturday 4th June

Derby Day at Epsom, forming part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and the big race itself has more runners than in most recent years – and with a smaller than normal Irish contingent. I have selections from the final four races on the Epsom card, and have a win and each-way alternative for the Classic. We napped the Oaks winner in Tuesday yesterday (advised 9/1).

Epsom 3.45: Sunday Sovereign & Stone of Destiny

King Power have two runners in what will be another fast and furious dash. I can make strong claims for both as they should enjoy a strong pace to chase.

SUNDAY SOVEREIGN is an in and out performer, but he ran by far his best race when second to Illusionist at York two weeks ago, storming home from the back of the field. He was a late withdrawal from this race last year through injury, so we don’t know how he will handle the undulations, but he did run well at Goodwood last season which bodes well.

The middle of the track seemed the best place to be yesterday and so stall 11 could be an advantage, especially as there seems to be plenty of early pace down the middle here.

STONE OF DESTINY has a clear form chance, given he was a good third in this race twelve months ago off a full 10lb higher mark. He loves these big field handicaps, his last win coming in the Portland at Doncaster in late 2020. Whilst he is not easy to catch right, his campaign so far this season, suggests he is bring primed for another crack at this race.

He faded over 6f late on as if in need of his seasonal return at Newmarket, and he also travelled well for a long way at Goodwood last time. I think we will see him at his best today where jockey David Probert can hold on to him for longer as the early pace collapses and bring him through up the hill late on.

Epsom 4.30: Desert Crown & Nations Pride

I was really taken by DESERT CROWN’s Dante win at York on only his second racecourse start and I find it difficult to look past the favourite in today’s feature.

He displayed a really professional attitude throughout that day, settling nicely in behind the pace and finding plenty for pressure when asked. This son of Nathaniel should have no issues with the extra 2f, especially given how well he relaxes in his races. He was a soft ground winner of a Nottingham maiden last autumn, so any cut should not matter either.

If you want an each-way alternative, then look no further than NATIONS PRIDE who was supplemented for this race at the start of the week. He gets into this race somewhat under the radar, but won his first race at pattern level by 7l at Newmarket in April and he has clearly been pleasing connections at home for them to put him in today, despite having two plausible alternatives already entered.

He looks a real galloper who will relish the step up in distance today. A son of Teofilo, that sire has produced plenty of top stayers such as Subjectivist and Godolphin’s own Cross Counter. Whilst he might lack the class of the favourite, it is difficult to see this improver being kept out of the frame.

Epsom 5.15: Solent Gateway

Last year’s winner Midnights Legacy has been all the rage for this race in the betting, but I favour a likely alternatives.

Given his stable’s proximity to Chester, the Chester Cup was always going to be a tempting target for SOLENT GATEWAY. However the gelding pulled way too hard right from the start and had no chance of getting home over 2m2f. This 12f trip is a far better fit and the 4yo has a cracking track record.

He won the 10f 3yo handicap on this card last season and then flew home for third in the Great Metropolitan here in April. He can race off the same mark of 90 today, but in addition has the hugely valuable 5lb claim of Harry Davies to call upon.

Epsom 5.50: Zargun

There could be some value to be had in the final via the Scott Dixon trained ZARGUN.

Dixon loves to run his horse when they hit form and Zargun has been running well this spring, without quite getting his head in front. He has winning form on downhill tracks, landing Catterick’s feature race of the year, the Dash over 5f in the autumn. However he has very much shaped like a 6f horse this year.

His second at York two weeks ago showed he has the stamina for 6f and although he disappointed at Haydock last week, excuses could be made in that he was slightly isolated from the race with his wide draw. Any rain that falls today won’t do him any harm and 5lb claimer Jonathan Fisher is back on board having teamed up well with the gelding of late.

Recommended bets:

0.5pts each-way – Sunday Sovereign – 3.45 Epsom = 16/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt each-way – Stone of Destiny – 3.45 Epsom – 7/1William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt win – Desert Crown – 4.30 Epsom – 9/4 general

1pt each-way – Nations Pride – 4.30 Epsom – 6/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)

1pt each-way – Solent Gateway – 5.15 Epsom – 11/2 Betfred (1/5 odds 1st 4)

0.5pts each-way – Zargun – 5.50 Epsom – 16/1 general (Skybet 1/5 odds 1st 5)

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