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2017 Epsom Derby tips – Expert selections for every race on Derby Day at Epsom

Jonathan Vine in Epsom Tips 2 Jun 2017
Derby day at Epsom is one of the highlights of the British flat racing calendar.

Our expert takes a look through all seven races being run at Epsom on Saturday and provides readers with his expert selections.

Yesterday’s audience at Epsom were treated to a stunning afternoon of racing on Ladies day and, looking at the quality card we have to look forward to on Saturday, the Epsom excitement doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.

Several Stakes races and exciting handicaps feature on Saturday’s card, including the thrilling Epsom Dash Handicap, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and the Diomed Stakes. However, all previous races dwarf in comparison to the main event of the day - the Epsom Derby, which remains one of the richest and most famous flat races in the world.

Let’s take a look at all the races being staged at Epsom this Saturday and try to figure out who will walk away with the big prizes.

2:00pm Investec Private Banking Handicap Class 2 (3yo) 1m2f

Tartini’s encouraging finishes in highly-regarded Derby Trial’s sees him carry the tag of favourite into his handicap debut. Hajaj was a 33/1 shot when he beat two handy handicappers in Graphite Storm and Juanito Chico to a Class 4 handicap title at Ascot and Charlie Fellows’ charge could be a big danger at the bottom of the weights.

DESERT SKYLINE ran a solid race on his reappearance and came within a whisker of winning the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket, but lost out in a photo finish to Grey Britain. David Elsworth’s three-year-old won twice carrying this kind of weight last season and he will enjoy the extra juice in the ground.

2:00pm Epsom selection – DESERT SKYLINE (4/1 William Hill)

2:35pm Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) 1m

Laugh Out Loud has secured two Listed titles in her last three starts and after an impressive win at Ascot last time out, it’s understandable to see her sitting atop the betting. Czabo and Elbereth are classy operators and if Absolute Blast can bring her all-weather form to the turf, she could be a big player.

Looking at the current betting, it could be worth taking an each-way chance on URBAN FOX, who was last seen weakening to an eighth place finish in the 1000 Guineas. She may only be a three-year-old, but James Tate’s filly has plenty of experience in this kind of race. She finished third in Group 3’s at Goodwood and Doncaster last season and ran well to come home second on her reappearance at Newbury, passing the post just a length behind Dabyah in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes.

She has raced outside Grouped company just once in her last seven appearances and on that day she beat Unforgetable Filly to a Class 2 title at Newmarket. Being a three-year-old, she will carry almost a stone less than many of her older rivals and that could make all the difference in the fight for this lucrative title.

2:35pm Epsom selection – URBAN FOX each-way (12/1 BetVictor)

Urban Fox (near) winning well at Newmarket back in September.


3:10pm Investec Diomed Stakes (Group 3) 1m½f

Folkswood has joined Oh This Is Us at the head of the betting for this Group 3 contest during the past 48 hours and they look like two outstanding candidates for the title. However, with all the entrants looking so tightly matched in rating and very little to split them when looking at the form card, a chance could be taken on GABRIEL landing a huge win on his 50th appearance in a Stakes race.

Richard Fahey’s fans-favourite has only landed two Stakes titles during his long career, but he’s looked in good shape so far during his eight-year-old campaign. He came within a length of winning the Lincoln on his first start of the year, before finishing second to Sovereign Debt in the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown. 

Gabriel seems to have lost very little of his old magic and his longevity at the top of the sport has to be admired. A long-overdue win on Saturday would leave the Epsom stands rocking ahead of the Derby and Fahey’s old-timer is more than capable of taking home the title.

3:10pm Epsom selection – GABRIEL (9/1 bet365)

3:45pm Investec Corporate Banking "Dash" Handicap Class 2 5f

In a race as tightly congested as this, with a field of 20 sprinters set to take their place in the Epsom stalls, an each-way punt is the only appropriate plan of attack. Horses drawn on the stand’s side have often fared better than those stuck on the inside rail in races of this size and distance, which brings the likes of Kimberella and Boom The Groom firmly into the equation.

Right in the middle of the field, we find Andrew Balding’s DARK SHOT who, for the first time in eight starts, will not go to post as the favourite. The four-year-old stormed to a six-length maiden victory following a gelding operation last June and another victory followed on his final three-year-old start in a Class 3 handicap at Ascot.

He’s run well on both his start of the new season, finishing fourth in a handicap at Windsor when carrying top-weight, before crossing the line just over a length behind Vibrant Chords in a very strong handicap at Goodwood. He’ll be getting a decent amount of weight from the majority of his rivals here at Epsom and could be well placed to challenge for another victory.

3:45pm Epsom selection – DARK SHOT each-way (20/1 bet365)

4:30pm Investec Derby (Group 1) (3yo) 1m4f

Aidan O’Brien comes into this year’s Derby with six strong contenders and whilst Cliffs Of Moher sits atop the market, Venice Beach ran well in the Chester Vase and he is the only colt in the field to have won over this trip. He holds very strong each-way claims, as do the Godolphin pair of Dubai Thunder and Benbatl.

Cracksman rose to the head of the market after Permian won the Dante. Cracksman beat Permian here at Epsom earlier in the season and whilst John Gosden’s colt hasn’t been seen since, Permian has come out twice and won very well and looks a decent bet at his double-figured price.

Eminent (centre) powering to victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.


The pick in this year’s Derby is Martyn Meade’s EMINENT, who ran a stormer at Newmarket earlier in the season to win the Craven by just over a length. He struggled for pace in the 2000 Guineas and judging by the amount of effort it took Jim Crowley to pull his mount up after that Craven run, this longer trip could be right up his street.

His trainer has been pleased with his prep leading up to the Derby and he familiarised himself with the Epsom Down’s turf at the recent Breakfast With The Stars media morning. Eminent looks open to plenty of progression going up in trip and he could be the first Frankel foal to win a Classic on British soil.

4:30pm Epsom selection – EMINENT (7/1 BetVictor)

5:15pm Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap Class 2 1m4f

Barwick may be the oldest horse in the field, but he holds a course-and-distance victory to his name and put in a decent showing on his only run of the season so far. Top-weight Carntop has the quality to carry his weight burden to a good finish and Shraaoh impressed at times last season, but the one to go for here has to be GAWDAWPALIN.

Sylvestre Kirk's charge has been running well this season without reward, finishing a fourth behind Big Country in a high-class handicap at Kempton before coming to Epsom and finishing a length behind Brorocco and Banditry in third. He won well in a ten furlong handicap at this Festival last season and he's proven his stamina over this extended trip.

5:15pm Epsom selection - GAWDAWPALIN (5/1 bet365)

5:50pm Investec Asset Management Handicap Class 2 6f

Naggers and Paddy Power bring winning form with them to Epsom and deserve their spots at the top of the market. Course-and-distance winners Blaine and Clear Spring have to be respected, but David O'Meara's WATCHABLE has been running well in handicaps all season and it's about time he trotted into the winners' enclosure.

Following a fruitless off-season venture to Meydan, the seven-year-old has raced in four lucrative, high-class handicaps, finishing no less than two lengths behind the winners on three of those four occasions. He finished fourth in a hot race at Ascot behind Normandy Barriere before travelling to York and finishing a close third behind Copper Knight and Rasheeq in the Unibet Sprint Stakes. He's been handed a favourable outside draw here at Epsom and another strong performance is expected.

5:50pm Epsom selection - WATCHABLE (8/1 BetVictor)


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2017 Epsom Derby tips – Expert selections for every race on Derby Day at Epsom

Our expert takes a look through all seven races being run at Epsom on Saturday and provides readers with his expert selections.

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