Friday, 2nd June 2017
It’s a funny old Derby at Epsom tomorrow afternoon (4.30). There might be 19 runners set to go to post but not one has met the usually very-relevant yardstick on the ratings scale.
In 16 of the last 18 years the Derby winner had already produced a performance worth 188+ on the Racing Post rating scale.
But not this year. Nothing has thrown-down an out-and-out top-class marker. It could be more competitive than usual. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see horses at big prices running stellar races.
I’m sticking with the horse I was thinking most about in the run-up to the Dante – Joseph O’Brien’s REKINDLING who can be backed today at 25s. He’s not too far shy of the standard. And he’s overpriced….
In finishing 4th in the Dante at York, the son of High Chaparral (himself a Derby winner) blotted his copybook with the market to some extent.
But he didn’t have the run of the premier Derby trial that afternoon. He wouldn’t have totally appreciated the cut in the ground. And he wasn’t under his usual jockey.
But despite all that, he was staying on well-enough at the end of a trip that is likely to prove a little short for him. For sure, it was a performance that fell below expectation but one that can be forgiven if taken in context.
People knocked the Dante result. Race-winner Permian – he goes tomorrow at Epsom – runs for Mark Johnstone, who always keeps them busy. Permian had already had 9 races prior to York and was considered a relatively exposed and poor winner.
But you can say what you want about Permian. The bottom line is that his form keeps getting franked. And the Dante form might well prove stronger than the market gives it credit for.
The time before the Dante, Rekindling had won another big Derby trial – the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown.
That form has been franked too – by the runner-up, Douglas Macarthur. And Capri, another horse Rekindling beat in that Leopardstown races (and which got beaten again last-time), trades more than 10 points shorter in the market for tomorrow. Figure that one out….
This race has always been the plan for Rekindling. And I expect Joseph O’Brien to have him spot-on tomorrow. He certainly has a bit more racing experience than some of those he comes up against tomorrow – and that will be useful.
O’Brien bids to become the first person since 1961 to win the race as both rider and a trainer. And he comes from the right school. His father is Europe’s pre-eminent trainer. And the younger man looks the sort not to waste the advantage of an education few can give and that fewer still will receive.
I’m expecting a big run. The step-up to the 12f trip will suit and improve. The ground is getting quicker all the time. That’s another plus. And Wayne Lordan is back in the saddle. That’s will help the horse on his biggest day. He’s a bit wider out on the track than ideal but that’s factored into the price.
The 25s is a nice each-way price – and you can get it this morning with bet365 – who are paying out on 4th place.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Derby Stakes (4.30 @ Epsom)....
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for now.
I’ll be back in your inbox a little later today with ATC Extra.
Until then. Stay tuned.