Epsom Derby Festival | Four To Follow: Diamonds Are Forever

It’s the most anticipated classics of the season, as he we head to the Downs. Epsom hosts the 245th Derby on Saturday, but today it’s the turn of the fillies. The Epsom Oaks should provide some clues for the showpiece event, but is still a high quality renewal. Plus a great undercard to tag along too, including the Coronation Cup.


A Mega Story

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2:00 – Betfred Woodcote Stakes – Megalithic @ 3/1 (William Hill)

Two things need to match in order for a horse to have a chance. Good form and good breeding. Ideally, a sprinter’s family as this is over six furlongs. Megalithic cost 220,000 guineas and is from a predominantly seven furlong family. He has black type too, which is an added bonus. Only one horse has tested the form of the Salisbury novice, and the fifth placed horse went out and won. It signals quality, so Megalithic could go well here.

End Of Story also makes appeal. He won his first race on testing ground, so will be more than glad that the ground has eased from his debut at Thirsk. His debut produced three winners and is by the smart sprinter Bungle Inthejungle and has bred Group One winner Winter Power. The signs look good for Kevin Ryan’s two-year-old. 11/2 (William Hill).


Forever A Softie

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2:35 – Trustatrader Handicap – Al Mubhir @ 15/2 (William Hill)

Whenever soft is in the title, Al Mubhir is usually near. His usual stomping ground is the King Richard III Cup at Leicester, but goes near whenever the ground is soft. He’s been dropped a pound after disappointing performance at York. The ground was good that day, so will appreciate ease in the ground today.

Fantastic Fox performed well when finishing third in the 2022 edition, but not so well in 2023. He can handle the track on that evidence. With a claimer on board, he comes down to a previous winning mark of 92. He has gone well on soft ground before, plus firm ground, so preference shouldn’t be a worry. Decent shout at 10/1 (William Hill).

Bopedro has been incredibly well done by the handicapper after a third place finish at York. He’s been dropped a pound after a decent performance, which makes him even more appealing. He won an Irish Cambridgeshire on similar ground and has won off the same mark before. Epsom’s an unknown, but should go well off the mark. 11/1 (William Hill).


Old Favourites

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3:10 – Coronation Cup (GROUP ONE) – Emily Upjohn @ 11/8 (William Hill, BetVictor)

This is Emily Upjohn’s first race of the British season and was a little disappointing. But the big thing that she has in her locker is she won the race last year and loves Epsom, as her first race of the season. She has won on the ground before and the small field will suit her. She’s already top rated, but the mares allowance puts her four lengths ahead of her nearest rival Luxembourg.

Hamish has been dealt a harsh blow by the markets. It’s clearly his trip, he won’t be pulled out because of the ground and regularly outclasses Group Three rivals. Despite his success at that level, he’s never won a Group One, but came second in an Irish St Leger. He is destined for Group One’s and has been a long time coming. 15/2 (William Hill).


Diamonds In The Rough

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4:30 – Betfred Oaks (GROUP ONE) – Rubies Are Red @ 7/1 (William Hill, Betfred)

In order to find these diamonds, I’ve had to search and eliminate as best as I can. Despite Ryan Moore taking the ride on Ylang Ylang. Despite people saying she’s crying out for further, she’s not bred to go a mile-and-half. Ezeliya is, but the form doesn’t back her up. Forest Fairy is bred for the distance, but lacks experience.

Rubies Are Red, however, has everything in her favour. Brilliant breeding, out of Red Evie who bred Arc winner Found, Oaks third Divinely and Best In The World, who in turn bred Oaks winner Snowfall. Another half furlong and Rubies Are Red would have caught the lagging You Got To Me and will more than relish the mile-and-a-quarter trip. Despite not breaking her maiden she looks tailor-made for Epsom.

Another small diamond is Secret Satire. York has a knack for providing Epsom winners, and last year’s winner did cause an upset in the Musidora. Despite being bred by a sprinter, her mother offers her the attempt to go further. Coming on from York she should settle better and look more professional here at Epsom. 12/1 (General).

But one shining light in all of this is Noel Meade’s Caught U Looking. Fourth in the Salsabil, she would have preferred a little more give in the ground like Epsom should have. She’s by Derby winner Harzand, which is a massive positive. She has lots of mile-and-a-quarter running through her bloodline and will be a threat. Stall One may have other ideas. Still worth a go at 28/1 (William Hill).

The very best of luck!

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