04th June 2015

A feast for fans: the Investec Derby Festival

With 5 Group races including two Classics, The Investec Oaks and The Investec Derby, the next two days at Epsom Downs are a feast for racing fans. Here are some of the horses to look out for.

Investec Ladies Day

The £450,000 Investec Oaks (4.30) is shaping up to be an incredibly competitive renewal, with Irish raider, David Wachman-trained Legatissimo heading the betting. In-form Ryan Moore has picked up the ride on her. Crystal Zvezda, who won a Listed race over the distance on her latest start, is also fancied to run well. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly is the mount of Richard Hughes.

One I fancy to run well at a big price however is Together Forever. It’s very rare that an Aidan O’Brien runner, ridden by his son Joseph, is such a big price in a race like this. The filly has proven Group 1 form having won the 2 year old Fillies Mile on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile last year and ran credibly when 2nd in behind another Investec Oaks entrant, Star of Seville, at York last time out.

In the other races on Friday’s card I like Abseil and Fire Fighting.

Abseil runs again in the £40,000 Investec Mile (3.45). He won the race last year for Sir Michael Stoute and I really fancy that he’ll go well again in this. He’s 7lb higher in the weights than when winning this last year but comes into the race in great form after finishing 3rd in a competitive listed handicap at York last time out.

Fire Fighting runs in the Investec Wealth & Investment Stakes (2.35). I remember watching him win his maiden at the track and he could not have been more impressive that day, running out a 5-length winner over a well-fancied favourite. He comes into this race effectively 3lb well-in having won a valuable handicap at Redcar within the last week. I really do rate his chances.

Investec Derby Day

Saturday will see 125,000 or so people descend on Epsom Downs – the biggest single day crowd in any British sports venue this year. The Investec Derby (4.30) itself is the world’s greatest and most famous Flat race, and the one they all want to win. The £1,434,000 race is looking likely to be a fascinating affair with impressive Dante winner Golden Horn a solid favourite. He was supplemented at a cost of £75,000 so needs to finish in the first 4 to recoup that investment.

Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled the winner of the race for the last 3 years, is represented by Hans Holbein, Kilimanjaro and Giovanni Canaletto. The latter has been the subject of a bit of a gamble throughout the course of this week and Ryan Moore has picked up the ride for his new boss.

The other Group 1 on the day, the Investec Coronation Cup (3.10) is going to be a cracker. Dolniya is a warm favourite on her first run in Great Britain. It’s fitting that she tackles this race, a race which was won last year by another French raider, Cirrus Des Aigles. Trained by Alan De Royer-Dupre, this filly already has one Group 1 to her name, beating Flintshire who also lines up in tomorrow’s race. Sheikhzayedroad is another interesting runner and is not without chance. He has proven form at this level and took a race at this Festival in 2013.

Elsewhere on the card Nelspruit is a really interesting runner in the Listed Investec Woodcote Stakes (2.35). Richard Hannon took the race last year, with his father winning it the previous year. Nelspruit is the mount of Richard Hughes and will likely take all the beating in his bid to follow up on a decent maiden win at Newbury.

The Investec Corporate Banking “Dash” (3.45) is the usual incredibly competitive sprint. The race looks to have been the target for Seeking Magic for a good while now. The Clive Cox-trained gelding was 3rd in the race in 2013 and 2nd in the race last year. He bids to go one better this time round and I really fancy him to go close off a 6lb lower mark.