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The Derby

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

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While that wretched Liberal-wet, Green-belt-destroying PM has failed to make 4th June a National Holiday, (he’s always looked like he’d have been happier at Harrow), I cannot hold him responsible for the slow start to my Feast Day. No man can start such a day with no brekker, a mug of tea and a dash to the Farm shop, although I was incentivised by the promise of a late breakfast, at the reopened Farmer’s Restaurant.

In France, a Farmers’ market is a thing of wonder, and whilst you may be unfamiliar with what you can do with various entrails, it will all be delicious. You might find cheeses, whose pungency will destroy the resale value of a car if you transport it further than 50m at anything over 15C. On the other hand, you won’t be bored to death by Farmer Uriah Heep, extolling his products’ virtues, while stooping with faux servility. In France, you might not be familiar with everything, but it is always good value. Always. In Blighty, it’s all so samey. You know it’s a sausage, or Cheddar, or a can of Artichoke Hearts from Israel. (So local). The difference is that 2¼lbs of cheese at the farm chop today costs over £40. “No sir”, said Uriah. ” That cheese has been made by Cow’s milk sir, with each and every animal standing outside and eating grass all day long sir, just for you. You may not know this Sir, but Cows have a digestive system that produces wonderful milk from which we make this extraordinary cheese. Which of course is why it is the same price as Saffron grown in a field next door to The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Training Centre. Do you see Sir? It’s the difficulty of getting it, Sir. A field full of Cows Sir! Do you know how much….. ” He was still going on, when Madame asked to taste some cheese from another assistant. The term is used advisedly.

“I can’t allow you to remove your mask at the counter, Madame.” “How do I taste it?” “You could go outside after I put it into a takeaway cup and then come back in and get back in the queue.” “I’m just going to slide it under the mask and into my mouth.” “I’m afraid I can’t allow you to do that Madame, it’s against our policies. It’s Covid you see.”

Brekker made it all so much worse. It was like going into an abandoned 1950’s Soviet medical facility. Actually, now I think back, it was exactly how I imagine Chernobyl General Hospital felt, once they’d all agreed there had been a bit of an issue. I was moved from a table, on which a notice had been placed saying Clean, because it wasn’t my table. When I asked someone if they could Clean another table, I was told I would have to wait, until I had ordered my food. I would then be assigned a table and they would then Clean it. No, I couldn’t choose a table. No, I couldn’t sit at a Dirty table. It was hard to understand, but these people had actually managed to weaponise the words Clean and Dirty.

I left and explained to some management at the door, that the word Hospitality had been royally abused by his company, and I was off. I might have said Offski as if he were wearing the blue collar-tabs of the old KGB.

“It’s the Covid” he said.

Overall a very satisfactory day on the punting front and I’m sure the rest of it will be just as good! I think my summary for almost every race mentioned the winner and in some cases, we even tipped it! A 7¼pt profit for a tricky day.

Sorry about tomorrow’s tips in advance and my lack of care, courtesy, charm, work ethic and anything else you were expecting but were disappointed by … It’s the Covid….

EPSOM SATURDAY 5th June. DERBY DAY

2:00 World Pool At The tote Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m2f ITV 17 run

The reason why Mark Johnston’s KING FRANKEL, is a warm favourite, is down to his 2nd in the London Gold Cup at Newbury, a race where 5 of the last six winners have gone on to win a G1 or G2. KF has been something of a slow burn, and splitting two horses rated 90 and 101 rated horses gave the handicapper no option but to raise him 8lbs. I’m not sure that will be enough. There was something amiss with CAMELOT TALES (I assume), to explain his performance against John Leeper at Newcastle where he went down by 12l+. His mark of 85 seems harsh. Ralph Beckett’s PATIENT DREAM was cut over the winter, and in his seasonal debut he still showed some fizziness, but his race will have removed some of that freshness, and of the seven runners he beat LTO, one has not raced and five have won. George Boughey has FREAK OUT, who one assumes will handle this step up in distance. He is only 1lb higher than his decent 2nd at Newmarket over 8f, and first-time Cheekpieces are being tried. He took a while to pull up, but I think he’ll need to be ridden more prominently to win this and he looks good for a place.

Dutch KING FRANKEL and PATIENT DREAM

2:35 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m½f ITV 12 run

A number of pundits have been talking up the 3yos in this race including Mick Channon’s ILLYKATO who won at Goodwood LTO on GF, beating Agincourt, with MAAMORA a poor favourite in 5th. She won’t get that ground today. STATEMENT  is another 3yo from Martyn Meade, who went down by a short head in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury before coming 8th in 1000 Gns. Martyn doesn’t often make mistakes, and he really fancied this one for G1 glory – but I’m wondering whether she’s quite as good as one thinks. Perhaps the extended mile and some juice in the ground will suit her. However, she’s way too short to experiment with. Instead and boringly I’m sticking with the trends, and there are only two for me and they are MAAMORA and POSTED. The latter is pretty closely matched to Statement, bar the WFA allowance, and I was given some hope of improvement in her run LTO in the Dahlia, except for the fact that she was being tricksy and had to be mounted in the chute. With the ground changing, however, I am now keen on the chances of PARENTS PRAYER who has run decent Gp 3 races, in both cases less than 1½l behind the winner, and has won at Naas over a mile in the soft. If the rain continues get on quickly.

PARENTS PRAYER e/w

3:10 Cazoo Diomed Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m½f ITV 11 run

The strong trends are:

  • 12/12 Top 5 LTO
  • 12/12 Aged 4-8yo
  • 12/12 OR 104+
  • 12/12 Ran in a C1 LTO (9 were Listed)
  • Stalls 1 and 2 have provided 6 winners and 3 places from 23 runners

That leaves us with just two OH THIS IS US from Richard Hannon’s yard and PRINCE EIJI from Roger Varian. The former has run three times at Epsom always in the first four. He won the Queen Anne trial at Ascot (Listed) beating PRINCE EIJI by a head, with Sir Busker third. That was on GF ground and his disappointing Windsor effort LTO was on GS. That is a concern. PRINCE EIJI will handle pretty well all grounds, and his price is perfectly reasonable.

PRINCE EIJI WinOH THIS IS US e/w

3:45 World Pool “Dash” Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 5f ITV 27 run

This is such a tricky race on the trends and on a broad interpretation, I am going with GET BOOSTING – HAN SOLO BERGER – YIMOU. The first started his season at Musselburgh and had no sort of a run, finishing fifth behind a wall of horses. He then won at Ripon on GS a week later, and then had a fifth at Thirsk LTO on Soft where he struggled. HAN SOLO BERGER looked as though he was coming back into form at Ascot LTO where he was beaten 1½l by PETTOCHSIDE. They are now level wights but PETTOCHSIDE has the benefit of 3lb claimer, George Rooke. YIMOU might have had a better chance if he hadn’t found quite so few gaps. Both horse and rider were getting frustrated 2f out and the 1½l 3rd was no reflection of what might have been.

BOOSTING – HAN SOLO BERGER – YIMOU all e/w

*NB 6 places in many places – 7 places with Sky

4:30 Cazoo Derby (G1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m4f ITV 19 run

AO’B hasn’t had just one runner in The Derby since 2004 and his sole representative is BOLSHOI BALLET who won the Ballysax and The Derrinstown Derby Trial. His price has yo-yo’d with the rain and as I write he’s friendless at 6/4. Similarly, MAC SWINEY and HURRICANE LANE are both shortening to something between 5s and 7s. To cut a long story short, we backed MAC SWINEY in The Irish 2000 Gns LTO at the Curragh, and that’s the best form on display. You can still get 11/2 for 4 places at a fifth of the odds from Betfair and Paddy Power. To me, that seems like a free bet the Win. One long shot to consider is YOUTH SPIRIT who is too big when judged on his Chester Vase win. He benefits from Tom Marquand and I’m taking 33s with Betfair now.

MAC SWINEY Win – YOUTH SPIRT e/w (4 places)

5:15 Northern Dancer Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m4f RTV 14 run

GROUP ONE POWER is too short, and more rain will damage any chance he has. FRONTSPIECE is the wrong price and has good e/w claims, especially if the ground has the word soft in it. SOTO SIZZLER won this last year and his record at Epsom is tremendous BUT he ran like a shot dog at Newmarket LTO – but that might have been the extra 2f. Still I was concerned and he is too short. Paul Nicholls used to have RED FORCE ONE and careful handling at Ayr LTO means that he was only given 5lbs for what I suspect was a very “controlled” performance.

RED FORCE ONE Win – FRONTSPIECE e/w

5:50 Cazoo Hcap (For the Tokyo Trophy) Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 6f RTV 17 run

EJTILAAB Win – BARBILL e/w

 

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