Frankie’s golden farewell cannot be Arrested

Frankie Dettori does his famous leap off his horse after winning at Epsom Racecourse

Epsom selections Saturday 3rd June

The final year of Frankie Dettori’s career as a jockey could not be going much better with a Group 1 double on Friday and his golden touch can continue in the Derby today. I have selections from four races on the card that starts early to ensure the big race avoids a clash with the FA Cup Final. We had a sparkling start to the meeting with Soul Sister’s Oaks win headlining (advised 100/30) whilst we had a 1-2 in the first handicap with Austrian Theory (SP 7/1) beating each-way selection Dutch Decoy (SP 7/1).

Epsom 1.30: Arrest

This looks a wide open Derby and I have changed my mind about five times before finally coming down on the side of ARREST.

He looks a real monster, the type to continue improving throughout his career, but he might be good enough already to win a Classic potentially lacking in stars. He has already had five runs so has plenty of experience under his belt and his comeback win at Chester was undeniably impressive, confirming his stamina for 12f in the process.

Of course the going that day was totally different and that is the big issue today. However he did win in game fashion on fast ground at Sandown last summer and he could simply be the best horse in the race.

Epsom 3.20: Alligator Alley & Ancient Times

The Dash has an interesting look to it with a lot of pace drawn low, but the place to be at Epsom on the sprint track is usually drawn high on fast ground. My two will hopefully find a path through nearer the rail.

First choice is ANCIENT TIMES who made an eyecatching reappearance at Newmarket last time, showing his customary early pace. He surely needed it though with an eye on peaking for today. His early pace should allow him to gain good track position and his win in the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh on this day last season showed he has the class for this.

He represents the Harry Eustace yard who has done so well in the couple of seasons with the license since taking over from father James. In Kaiya Fraser he has perhaps the best UK based 7lb claimer around.

ALLIGATOR ALLEY is a frustrating type but I think he is worth chancing one more time as he continues to drop in the ratings, is tried in a first time visor which might sharpen him up and comes from the David O’Meara yard that is starting to show signs of a revival from a slow start to 2023.

He has all the pace for 5f and loves fast ground, however he can be slowly away so hopefully the headgear will allow him to keep up early and a strong finisher might be needed given the likely headlong early gallop. Down to 96 now, he won off 4lbs higher on New Years Day and this unique test at Epsom might just bring out the best in him.

Epsom 4.30: Scampi

SCAMPI bounced right back to form in a better race than this at York last month, seemingly relishing the faster ground and despite a 6lb rise today, he can continue his ascent of the ratings.

Well beaten in testing ground here at the beginning of the season, Scampi responded well to getting plenty of cover before seeing things out well in the closing stages at York. We know he handles Epsom because he was a winner here on fast ground last summer and a decent pace is likely with Caius Chorister in the field. That will help Hayley Turner get him settled early and a similar strong finish from the Andrew Balding trained gelding is predicted.

Epsom 5.05: Count Otto

The traditional finale to Derby Day is a 6f sprint in which COUNT OTTO looks to have arrived somewhat under the radar.

He has largely raced on the All Weather in recent seasons and won a good race at Lingfield in March off just a 1lb lower mark. He had a small break after that so is forgiven a heavy defeat at Windsor last time. That might simply have been a prep for this contest given his very good record at the track.

In four visits to Epsom he has a win, two seconds and one unplaced effort (failed to stay 7f on soft going) and although he is eight now, he is still relatively lightly raced so should not yet been on the downgrade. He loves a fast pace and will surely get that today. If Saffie Osborne can find a clear run for the gelding I expect him to fly up the hill and outrun his odds.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Arrest – 1.30 Epsom – 5/1 BetVictor (1/5 odds 1st 4)

0.5pts each-way – Alligator Alley – 3.20 Epsom – 14/1 Betfred, Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt win – Ancient Times – 3.20 Epsom – 9/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt each-way – Scampi – 4.30 Epsom – 5/1 general

1pt each-way – Count Otto – 5.05 Epsom – 33/1 Bet365, William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 5)

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