Epsom Derby Weekend Preview: Ante-post analysis

York Ebor Day 3

The endless weeks of build-up have drawn to a close as it is the week of the Epsom Derby.

The two-day event around the undulations of the Surrey-based track is just a few days away and we at Bestofbets.com can’t wait.

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For me, the last few weeks of the Ante-post Analysis series have seen some good success; THE FOXES winning the Dante and CAIRO placing in the Irish 2000 Guineas are the main highlights.

And as for last week’s The Top Three column, well, we will be discussing that on Friday.

I won’t get too ahead of myself as you have to take the peaks and troughs with a good degree of level-headedness in this game, so I’m sure I’ll come crashing back down to Earth sooner than I would like.

Hopefully, it is not this week as I have a few early fancies for the Epsom Derby weekend.


Keen on the Queen

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The Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday looks to be a cracking contest at the time of writing with 10 entered for the £100,000 race.

Although another one of my cliff horses, Prosperous Voyage, is at the head of the market, my head has been turned by a different four-year-old filly.

QUEEN AMINATU shaped like a filly going placed last time out on the all-weather as she stayed on behind an on-song Sacred over seven furlongs at Lingfield.

That form, in my eyes, is worth a good deal in a race like this as she was three-wide around the bend having finished third to Sandrine, a Group 2 winner, and Sacred, a horse who has all the attributes of a Group 1 filly when she is 100%.

Furthermore, on her only start at a mile, she blitzed her competition at Lingfield, a race that included Oscula, a three-time Group 3 winner.

Although most of her form is on the all-weather, her second on good ground over a mile at Haydock last season gives me hope that she will handle conditions on Saturday.

If she can continue her progression, it will take a good one to beat her and the 8/1 available with BetVictor is a good price.


One better than Silver

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It’s almost like I’m living in a world of deja-vu as my next fancy was put up here two weeks ago before being declared a non-runner.

Alas, having heard that this has always been the target, I’m willing to go back in on SILVER SWORD at 12/1.

His case is obvious on one piece of form alone as his fifth to Military Order three starts ago reads extremely well, something that could see another boost if Godolphin’s Derby hope obliges earlier on the card.

Following that run, a good second to Empress Wu and a facile victory at Southwell has only bolstered his claims.

Now returning to 1m2f, something that should suit on pedigree as his dam (Aurora Grey) won three times over two miles, he could make light work of his official rating of 82.

It is a competitive field and he does need one horse to come out to run, but hopefully that occurs and he can light up the Downs.


Bring down the House

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And finally, in a showering of repetition, my final ante-post play of Derby Weekend is a horse whom I put up at York two weeks ago.

He finished fifth on seasonal reappearance at the Dante meeting, something I hope puts him spot on for the Dash on Saturday.

That’s right, I’m sticking with CLARENDON HOUSE at 7/1 with William Hill.

Despite running a career-best according to RPRs, the five-year-old was dropped two pounds by the handicapper for his last run.

For a horse who travelled like the winner for three furlongs, received three reminders from Daniel Muscutt, and just emptied on his first start for 240 days, the run at York was very pleasing.

On pure numbers, his second at Beverley two starts ago when eight pounds wrong at the weights with Acklam Express (3rd) was great and the second to Raasel last season, a horse who would go on to improve 15 pounds, when giving five pounds away shines brightly.

Now rated 100, just one pound higher than his last winning mark, the test of Epsom should suit, and he is my fancy for the Dash on Epsom Derby weekend.

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