Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for the live action on Epsom Derby Day

·11-min read

We've gone into the reasons behind our picks (listed below) further down the page, while anyone considering a punt or two would do well to check out the Epsom race card, just a click away at Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre.

Selections:

War Horse / Approachability (14.00 Epsom)

Majestic Glory each-way (14.35 Epsom)

Mutasaabeq (15.10 Epsom)

Thegreatestshowman each-way (15.45 Epsom)

Stone Age (16.30 Epsom)

14.00 Epsom - War Horse / Approachability

Plenty can be given a chance in this 1m2f handicap for three-year-olds, won last year by 28/1 shot Solent Gateway. He was the biggest priced winner from the last 20 renewals with four favourites obliging in that time. Charlie Appleby's Blue Trail, a solid third at Sandown in April when racing on turf for the first time, and Richard Spencer's Mr Big Stuff, who ran into trouble twice when fifth at Newbury on his most recent start, are vying for that honour. Of that pair, the former horse is potentially better drawn in stall five - the last four winners emerged from boxes 5 (last year), 4, 2 and 3, albeit in smaller fields - whereas Mr Big Stuff is drawn wide (away from the running rail) in 13 and has an inexperienced claimer on board.

Three of the 15 runners clashed in a four-runner affair over this trip at Sandown last month, with WAR HORSE quickening up best in the final quarter-mile to get the better of Nolton Cross (finished third, promoted to second) and Grenoble (fourth).

The winner is a well-balanced sort, which bodes well for his ability to handle the tight turns and undulations of this unique track, and he may well confirm that form off just a 2lb higher mark to follow up here. Another who could go well at a bigger price is Approachability, one of two runners for Charlie and Mark Johnston who is having his first start in a handicap having raced three times at two. After making all on his debut at Pontefract, where he was notably strong at the finish over the mile trip, he ran creditably in defeat on his next two starts and is the type to do far better at three. He's closely related to a 1m6f winner and has a notable entry in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f) at Royal Ascot, so he might benefit from a positive ride under Jason Hart from what is a good draw in stall six. At his current double-figure price, he's worth backing to find out and having a couple of stabs of finding the winner of what is a wide open handicap makes plenty of sense.

14.35 Epsom - Majestic Glory each-way

The Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, which is open to fillies and mares aged three years or older, has attracted a double-figure field of 10 and they are headed by the William Haggas-trained four-year-old Bashkirova, who has been installed as favourite at around the 9/4 mark. The winner of her first three starts at today's trip of a mile last season, before finding 1m2f on soft ground stretching her stamina on her final start, she progressed again to finish a close second on her comeback run at Goodwood, which is sure to bring her on. But her half-length conqueror at the Sussex track, the Hughie Morrison-trained Mrs Fitzherbert, who meets her on the same terms and will also strip fitter for that run, is clearly on an upward curve too. It's hard to see why she's much the bigger price of the pair. Roman Mist and Potapova, who finished first and second in a bunched finish to a Listed contest on the all-weather 47 days ago, are also worth considering and the head runner-up might come out on top on this occasion, having taken a little too long to pick up and looking like the run would do her good.

However, at an each-way price we'll take a chance on Andrew Balding's filly MAJESTIC GLORY, one of the three runners from the classic generation in the field and in receipt of the 12lb age allowance from the older mares.

Her finest moment so far came in a strong renewal of the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket in August, when powering home on his first try at 7f to beat subsequent Fred Darling heroine Wild Beauty, who had previously finished runner-up to the smart Inspiral, with seven other previous winners in behind.

She was probably over the top for the season when running below-par on her final starts, a view shared by her trainer, and there was a lot to like about her staying-on third in the Fred Darling (7f) on her reappearance back in April, when perhaps not fully wound up (easy to back at 14/1). By the brilliant Frankel out of a 1m2f winner, she ought to have no problem with today's extended mile - she may well improve again for it - and that her in-form trainer is reaching for a first-time hood is another potential positive, should it help her settle and conserve some energy for when it matters.

15.10 Epsom - Mutasaabeq

Just the six runners will go to post for the Group 3 Diomed Stakes run over an extended mile, for which Modern News is a strong favourite at around the even money mark. Charlie Appleby's four-year-old appeared to appreciate the quicker ground when running out a narrow winner of the Spring Cup Handicap, having finished seventh of the 22 runners in the Lincoln run on good to soft, and he's since been found a weak Listed contest at Windsor, which he was full entitled to win at odds on 1/2.

While he's clearly going the right way, his bid for a hat-trick could be thwarted by the Charlie Hills-trained MUTASAABEQ, who looked unfortunate not to land the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown in April, having been caught in behind horses at a crucial stage over a furlong out before running on strongly once in the clear.

Epsom fancy Mutasaabeq in winning action at Newmarket
Epsom fancy Mutasaabeq in winning action at Newmarket

Considered good enough to run in last season's 2,000 Guineas (seventh of 14), he looks to have done very well from three to four and, with his stamina for a mile now proven, he could be up to winning at the highest level over that trip this term, with the Group 1 Sussex Stakes a likely target should he be successful this afternoon.

15.45 Epsom - Thegreatestshowman each-way

Last year's Epsom Dash winner Mokaatil is back to defend his crown and he arrives here at the top of his game, having also won here in April (now 3-4 over 5f here) and run creditably in defeat off higher marks the last twice.

Epsom Dash winner Mokaatil is back to defend his crown
Epsom Dash winner Mokaatil is back to defend his crown

Clearly he's well suited to this fast 5f track, which is mostly downhill, and he'll surely be involved at the finish, but the horse he beat into second three starts back, Amy Murphy's Thegreatestshowman, is much better off at today's weights and his effort can be marked up. In what was a useful sprint that was run at a strong gallop and set up closers - the 1-3-4-5 all raced in the last four - he fared easily the best of those who raced up with the pace, and he's since run a respectable fourth at Newmarket under his regular claiming rider. The handicapper has dropped him 1lb since, meaning he's back on his last winning mark, and the cheek-pieces he has worn the last twice are now being replaced with blinkers, which were on when he finished a neck second at Ascot last September, his best race of last season. With Silvestre De Sousa taking over the reigns this afternoon and his small stable amongst the winners of late, he looks sure to give us a good run for our money. Local trainer Adam West runs two in his bid to saddle his first ever Epsom winner and Live In The Dream, who is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Sandown and Chester, is preferred to stablemate Live In The Moment, although this is no easy task now taking on older horses. Tees Spirit, who is another on a hat-trick mission having cruised to success on his last two starts, is also worth considering. He's trained by Adrian Nicholls who won this sprint on Rudi's Pet in 2002 for his late father Dandy.

16.30 Epsom (Derby) - Stone Age

The 2022 renewal of the Derby, which is being run in the memory of the late, great Lester Piggott, looks set to be dominated by two other legends of the turf, Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race five times and supplies the favourite in Desert Crown, and Aidan O'Brien, who is chasing a remarkable ninth success and is triple-handed.

That the Stoute-trained colt was able to produce such a striking performance in winning the Dante Stakes at York on his return to action was some achievement given he was far from fully wound up, having had a less than ideal build-up to his first run of the year and just his second start overall, speaks volumes for his class.

Further improvement is almost a given and while some may point to his lack of experience as a reason to take him on, it's worth noting that seven of the last ten Derby winners had between two and four starts before Epsom glory. Being a son of strong stayer Nathaniel, he shouldn't have have any issue in going up to 1m4f either. All of which makes him a worthy favourite, although he'd be the first Dante winner winner to follow up here since Golden Horn in 2015, and that horse was the last winning market leader to oblige. His rider Richard Kingscote is having just his second ride in the race. Aidan O'Brien's Stone Age is clear second favourite and that he has already run seven times is no barrier to success, given that a couple of recent winners in Masar (2018) and Anthony Van Dyck (2019) had run eight times before winning at Epsom. He also has something in common with three more recent winners in Serpentine, Harzand and Ruler Of The World, all of whom did not score until their three-year-old campaign, and he broke his maiden tag in some style when a commanding five-and-a-half length winner of a 1m2f Group 3 at Leopardstown.

On the evidence of that front-running display and the way he gallopped through the line, he should stay 1m4f alright and he has long been considered a Derby horse by his connections, who should know one.

Ryan Moore, who was last successful on Ruler Of The World in 2013, prefers him to stablemates and Chester winners Star Of India and Changingoftheguard, with the latter's powerhouse display over 1m4f giving him the look of a solid second-string. Charlie Appleby, who like O'Brien is triple-handed, is seeking his third Derby win in five years and his Native Pride, who has not been seriously tested in winning his last four starts, should not be underestimated given his rapid rate of progress. And nor should Donnacha O'Brien's Piz Badile, who threw his hat into the Derby ring with a battling success in a 1m2f Group 3 back in April, giving the impression he'd relish today's extra two furlongs. He's the mount of Frankie Dettori, who last tasted success on the aforementioned Golden Horn. At much bigger prices, Dante Stakes runner-up Royal Patronage could go well if settling better given his class - he defeated 2,000 Guineas winner Corebus as a juvenile - his experience (eight career starts) and that he has course-winning form in the book.

But the final pick goes to STONE AGE who is a straightforward sort and therefore well suited to the unique demands of this track, and who promises to be at least as good if not better over 1m4f. He has to be backed at 4/1 or bigger.

R.I.P nine-time Derby winner Lester Piggott
R.I.P nine-time Derby winner Lester Piggott

The article Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for the live action on Epsom Derby Day appeared first on Planetsport.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting