Derby Day dawns at Epsom, with the current going described as ‘good to firm in places’ and little sign of the downpours that threatened but didn’t materialise yesterday.
With 19 runners, this is the highest number to line up for the premier classic for many years and at 9-2 the field, one of the most open – or is it?
There is one line of form that stands out above the rest and that is the one involving Craftsman and Permian. These two met in the Investec Derby Trial over ten furlongs of this track at the end of April, when Johnny G’s colt prevailed by a short knocker after a troubled passage (painful).
Cracksman has been put away since, in readiness for today, while Permian, a la Mark Johnston, has continued to ply his trade, winning a Listed race at Newmarket before a triumph in the Betfred Dante at York last month.
This Teofilo colt has improved and improved with racing and, with all ground conditions seemingly to his liking, at double figure odds (11-1 in places) he must be backed each way to give William Buick his first Derby success.
If you are tempted to invest in any of Godolphin’s three runners, bear in mind that Permian is owned by Sheikh Rattle and Roll, so is effectively in the same ownership and Mr Buick would have had the choice of rides.
It would be prudent to have a saver on the very lightly raced Cracksman at 9-2, as the son of Frankel has done nothing wrong and must run well under the mad Italian.
‘And what of Aiden O’Brien?’, I hear you cry.
Well, the Master of Ballydoyle just has the six runners, with Cliffs Of Moher the choice of Ryan Moore, following a victory in the Dee Stakes at Chester. Aficionados of collateral form will latch on to the line through Bay Of Poets, which seems to indicate that Cracksman will beat Cliffs Of Moher by just over a foot, but we’ll stick to Permian beating them both – so there.
The undercard includes the Diomed Stakes at 3.10 and in this we’re gonna take the ultra-consistent Folkswood and that man Buick to come out on top. With the ‘dead eight’ declared, it’s hard to resist a cautious e/w at 4-1.
The opening handicap at 2.00 is also the ‘dead eight’ and we suggest an each way bet on Charlie Fellowes’ runner Hajaj at 8-1, with a saver on Tartini at 4s.
That’s it – off to watch Hashim & Kagiso strut their stuff.