Gosden can land third Investec Derby Trial in eight years with Marzocco

Bill Esdaile
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THE INVESTEC Epsom Derby dates back to 1780 and is the most prestigious race for three-year-old colts in the world. It’s also the richest race in the British calendar with a prize fund of £1.325m and the showpiece on Saturday 7 June is shaping up to be another cracker.

Newmarket hosted its first meeting of the Flat season last week and Godolphin’s True Story burst onto the Derby scene with a brilliant performance in the Feilden Stakes, trouncing the well-backed Obliterator by seven lengths, with a further six back to the third horse.

The way Silvestre de Sousa struggled to pull up the son of Manduro afterwards suggests he’ll relish the 1m 4f of the Investec Derby and he’s now as short as 8/1 for that.

On Saturday week back at racing’s HQ, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas will lead to a shake-up of the market with Australia, general 5/2 Derby favourite, and Kingston Hill, 10/1 third-favourite, both in action.

And today it’s the £50,000 Investec Derby Trial (2.50pm) at Epsom with the winner guaranteed a place in the Derby field.

You can give a chance to all nine runners. Course form is always a huge advantage on this idiosyncratic track so Andrew Balding’s Signposted needs respecting having landed his maiden here.

However, he’s not looked a world-beater in four starts. Moontime surprised connections when winning on debut but, as he’s already gelded, he won’t be able to compete in the Derby anyway.

Hartnell looks opposable with a penalty. He’s rated 103 after seven runs and he’s vulnerable to an unexposed sort.

John Gosden has started the campaign in red-hot form and his MARZOCCO looked a nice prospect when winning his only start at Kempton in October. He’s one of two unbeaten horses for the yard, alongside Italian import Nonno Guilio, but jockey bookings suggest the former is the stable’s best chance at 7/2.

The son of Kitten’s Joy has reportedly been working well and this looks a decent starting point before a possible shot at the Dante Stakes next month.

Most people believe you need to be drawn high on the sprint course but three of the last four winners of the opening Investec Wealth and Management Handicap (1.45pm) over five furlongs have been stalled between one and five.

STONE OF FOLCA is drawn 15 of 15 and with four eggs next to his name is perhaps a surprising selection. But this is one speedy horse and on one of the fastest sprint courses in the country he might be hard to peg back at 9/1.

John Best called this one the quickest he’d ever trained when he pulled off a 50/1 shock in the Dash here two years ago – some praise when he’d also trained Kingsgate Native to Group One sprint glory.

The six-year-old is 6lb lower now and is a fair each-way bet.

The Investec Property Investments City and Suburban Stakes at 3.25pm is incredibly competitive with five previous course-and-distance victors in the 17-strong field, and numerous others with strong chances.

Sylvester Kirk’s string is hitting form and CHARLES CAMOIN might be able to negotiate a potentially tricky draw in 17 and land another win here.

He’s lightly-raced for a six-year-old and made a promising reappearance in Newbury’s Spring Mile 11 days ago. That was over an inadequate mile and back up in trip he looks primed for a big run.

■ Pointers…
STONE OF FOLCA e/w 1.45pm Epsom
MARZOCCO 2.50pm Epsom
CHARLES CAMOIN e/w 3.25pm Epsom