The Derby is this Saturday, and it looks gloriously wide-open. Auguste Rodin is 7/2 market leader, but has to answer questions on the back of his 2000 Guineas flop, so I couldn’t entertain him as a bet despite all the confidence and hype coming out of the Ballydoyle camp.
All in all, it sounds like PASSENGER is going to be getting his ticket to the race, and in a race with if’s, buts and maybe’s about plenty of the potential runners in the line-up, I will give the roll of the dice to the Sir Michael Stoute trained colt, who could easily be good enough.
The record of horses beaten in the Dante and the going on to the Derby is woeful - but I would argue in most cases those horses have clearly given their true running. In the case of Passenger, it clearly wasn’t a true running, as he repeatedly had his run blocked and is perfectly entitled to be tagged as an ‘unlucky loser’ in finishing third on the Knavesmire.
Workforce, the 2010 Derby winner from the same stable, was the only horse to have been beaten at York but then got the job done at Epsom. With no in-running shenanigans I think he is a major player here, and I think he could really blossom stepped up to 1m4f. I think he is still the value play in a race where you can make a case for plenty.
It could be a big day for the Stoute yard, as the race after the Derby is the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, where the 5-year-old POTAPOVA will be looking to go one better than last year. Heavy grond and an irregular heartbeat were to blame for her no-show at Goodwood last time out, but the fact the yard have given her the green light for this speaks volumes, and underfoot conditions will be absolutely perfect for her.
If she brings her A-game to the table she will be right in the mix here and looks the value call with Ryan Moore potentially in the saddle. I don’t think it is the strongest of renewals, and with no rain forecast I want her onside.
- Epsom 1.30 Saturday, Passenger 1pt win
- Epsom 2.10 Saturday, Potapova, 1pt win