First day of the Epsom Derby meeting today, with the Investec Oaks the highlight at 4.30.

Ten fillies are due to go to post and, as per, Aiden O’Brien has the short priced favourite in Rhododendron. Also as per, he also has two other runners, just in case.

There is no doubt that Rhodo deserves to be at the head of the market and at 5-6 she is not unbackable. Bred to relish today’s trip, she was arguably unlucky in the Guineas, when finishing strongly into second behind stablemate Winter, who has gone on to take the Oirish equivalent with ease.

However, we think that an each way investment on the Charlie Appleby trained Sobetsu at 10-1 is the value bet in this race. A 10 length winner of a Newmarket maiden in September, this horse was sick when going off joint favourite with Rhododendron in the Dubai Fillies Mile and finishing a well-beaten 5th.

She made her 3-y-o debut in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville just 19 days ago and hosed up by 3 lengths under today’s pilot Will Buick. Connections immediately nominated the French equivalent of this afternoon’s race as her next target, but the ease in the Epsom ground has prompted a re-think, so here she is.

Whether she can beat the favourite we’ll find out at 4.35 approx, but, at a double figure price, this is a star bet. Our safety suggestion is to back the favourite to return enough to cover your stake on Sobetsu.

Oh, yes – and if one of the predicted cloudbursts hits the track before the race, double your bet.

The other Group 1 race on the card is the Investec Coronation Cup at 3.10, run over The Oaks trip of twelve furlongs. This race sees the re-appearance of the admirable mare Journey and those who don’t stop believing will be all over this like a rash e/w at 5-1. (‘See what I did there, with the music thing?’ ‘Yeh, yeh, very clever – get on’)

If past seasons are anything to go by, however, Journey will be better for the outing and it’s likely (yawn) that Aiden O’Brien will land this prize with one of his three runners. Working out which one, though, is tricky, so we are no bet in this race.

There are two fierce looking handicaps on the undercard, but Mutarakez at 8-1 (2.35) and Brorocco at 4-1 (3.45) could repay an each way lash of the moolah.

Back tomorrow with a review of the ‘bigun’.

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