OK, so it wasn’t one of his biggest or best hits, but who doesn’t remember 1960, when “Must Be Santa” climbed up the charts in December of that year? That’ll be most of you, then.
Nevertheless, it brings us neatly(?) to Epsom and the Cazoo Oaks at 4.30, in which the Aidan O’Brien trained Santa Barbara is favourite at 11-4.
Having had just two runs in her life, you could be forgiven for thinking that this filly doesn’t have the experience or the moxie for this race, but when AO’B describes a horse as ‘special’ it pays to listen.
Easy winner of a Curragh maiden as a 2-y-o, this daughter of Camelot finished a close fourth in the 1000 Guineas a month ago, almost as a ‘prep’ race for this afternoon and is the easy choice of Ryan Moore from the accompanying phalanx of Coolmore runners.
We recommend a win bet on Santa Barbara, not least because the second fav Zeyaadah has been lumbered with the coffin box No. 1 draw. It’s 22 years since any race over this trip, on this course and with 10+ runners has been won from that stall and long may that continue today.
We also suggest an each way bet at 11-1 on Saffron Beach, which finished just in front of Santa Barbara in the Guineas and will be a player if she stays.
The meeting starts at 2.00 with the Woodcote Stakes for 2-y-os over 6f, which has improvers a-plenty in the 10 runner field. We like the chances of Flaming Rib from the Tom Dascombeyard, which, on breeding, has no right to win over 5f, but did so by a wide margin at Nottingham four weeks ago.
With a certain Mr Buick in the plate and the extra furlong right up his strasse, we suggest a win bet at 11-4.
The Coral Handicap at 2.35 looks at the mercy of Irish Admiral, trained by William Haggasand that is reflected in the price of 6-4. Such was the promise shown by this very lightly raced 4-y-o when third at York last month that we must put it forward for a decent bet today.
To cover all bases, we also recommend an each way bet on Storting, winner of the Thirsk Hunt Cup last time out and only 5lbs higher this afternoon.
At 3.10 we get the Group 1 Coral Coronation Cup and another short priced jolly trained by that man Haggas.
Young William has never supplied the winner of this race in 34 years of trying, but if you ever see a misleading statistic that’s probably it, as he has had precisely two previous runners in the race.
Third time lucky, then, with the outstandingly promising Al Aasy. Short enough at 11-8, but after two demolition jobs at Group 3 level the step up to Group 1 will hopefully be seamless.
And finally the Cazoo Handicap at 3.45, which has a field of 11.
Deemed to be the unluckiest horse of the season when 5th over this CD in April, Blue Cup was made favourite for a hot handicap at York last month and blew out big time, trailing in 7th. However, the 5-y-o completely lost the plot in the race preliminaries and was already beaten before stalls entry. Connections are taking steps today to revent a recurrence and we must give the horse another chance at 4-1.
We also give a chance on the book to Kaleidoscopic from the Mick Channon yard and recommend a modest each way investment at a juicy 18-1.
We return tomorrow, dear reader, for a look at the world’s greatest race, sponsored by a used car dealer.
Santa Barbara 4.30 Epsom 3pts win @ 11-4
Saffron Beach 4.30 Epsom 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (4 places)
Flaming Rib 2.00 Epsom 2pts win @ 11-4
Irish Admiral 2.35 Epsom 4pts win @ 6-4
Storting 2.35 Epsom 1pt e/w @ 9-2 (4 places Hills, Skybet)
Al Aasy 3.10 Epsom 6pts win @ 11-8
Blue Cup 3.45 Epsom 1.5pts e/w @ 4-1
Kaleidoscopic 3.45 Epsom 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (4 places)