Here’s some stellar names to look forward to on Saturday at Epsom.
Love – The Oaks
The ultra-impressive winner of the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo filly Love (
5/4*) steps up in distance here to a mile and a half in her bid for back-to-back Classics. She’s bred to get the trip and got stronger every yard she travelled at HQ, ensuring she’s got strong claims of giving her trainer a fourth Oaks win in six years. The Ballydoyle handler and John Gosden have won the last six renewals between them and Ribblesdale winner Frankly Darling is the main danger on form for the Clarehaven handler and irrepressible Frankie Dettori.
Highland Chief – The Derby
A field of 18 were declared on Monday with Aidan O’Brien still retaining seven contenders in his pursuit of an eighth Epsom Derby success. He likely won’t be far away, while 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko and progressive Lingfield Trial winner English King are amongst the chief threats.
One to note is Highland Chief, winner of a handicap at Royal Ascot in good style last month, who will give Ben Curtis his first ride in The Derby. Curtis is second to champion Oisin Murphy in the current jockeys’ title race and the 30-year-old will relish this moment. His mount could be an each-way player against the powerhouse regulars on the Downs.
Modern News – Woodcote Stakes
Charlie Appleby won this a year ago with Pinatubo, en route to an unbeaten campaign with the champion two-year-old. Whether there’s anything of that ilk lurking now remains to be seen but the Godolphin handler could see Modern News making a big challenge. Soft ground at Royal Ascot appeared to blunt his challenge in the Chesham and he will likely put that behind him sooner rather than later.
Love And Thunder – Princess Elizabeth Stakes
French import Love And Thunder made no mistake on her UK debut at Newbury for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori in June. The Siyouni filly had finished second in one previous run for Andre Fabre in her homeland, form that was advertised by the winner before her British bow, and there’s plenty of scope for further improvement if she takes her place in this Fillies’ Group 3.
Safe Voyage – Surrey Stakes
John Quinn’s Safe Voyage was just held in the Spring Trophy at Haydock on reappearance behind Space Blues – winner of this race at Epsom 12 months ago. The winner has since gone on and bagged a Group 3 win in France, while the likes of Happy Power, D’Bai and Fox Champion have shown the Haydock form to be reliable. Safe Voyage will be popular for this race and any rain on The Downs will strengthen his claims.
*All odds correct at time of writing.