Rascal to strike as long as he gets smooth trip in the Dash

Bill Esdaile
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RACE 4 3.15pm
Investec Specialist Bank Dash

THERE is no faster five-furlong track anywhere in the world than Epsom’s downhill straight. It is run at a lightning fast pace and just this week Stone Of Folca was officially listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the quickest ever five furlongs clocked when landing this prize two years ago at 50/1.

It was nowhere near as fast 12 months ago but it looked a top class renewal with Ryan Moore producing Duke Of Firenze with a withering late run to nail Fair Value and a few others near the line.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old came from stall 19 and it usually pays to have a high draw in this race as they can run against the stands rail where the camber is greatly reduced.

I thought SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL ran an incredible race to finish second behind Duke Of Firenze when only a three-year-old that day. He had the worst possible draw in stall one and weaved his way through in the final furlong to almost get to the winner.

There is always the danger of a hold-up horse like him meeting traffic problems, but he is better drawn in 18 this year and, as long as the gaps open for Danny Tudhope, he should go very close.

David O’Meara’s horses are running supremely well and Smoothtalkinrascal got up in the shadows of the winning post on his second start of the season at Musselburgh, breaking the hearts of the connections of the wonderful old-timer Borderlescott.

I think this son of Kodiac is a Group class sprinter in the making and he should be backed at 8/1 with Coral.

If my first selection doesn’t get the breaks, there shouldn’t be any excuses for my second tip EVEN STEVENS, who is a front-running speedball and will hopefully shoot out of the gates like a bullet.

He showed up for a long way at York last time and this rapid course should suit him down to the ground; it’s just a shame the race isn’t run over four furlongs rather than five, as I’m sure he’ll be in front at the furlong pole.

A mark of 90 is by no means insurmountable, and with promising claimer Matthew Hopkins taking 7lb off, his chance is further boosted. As short as 8/1 with Coral, try to get some 12/1 and let’s hope that he can last home.

As is always the case in this race there are loads of other runners that have decent chances. Caspian Prince was an easy winner over course and distance back in April and he has the assistance of top pilot Adam Kirby.

Steps is interesting on the back of his win at Haydock last weekend and his claims will improve with every drop of rain that falls. I also couldn’t rule out Andrew Balding’s Swan Song who disappointed behind Steps last Saturday, but had an excuse as David Probert took the hood off too late.

■ Pointers…
SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL e/w 3.15pm Epsom (today)
EVEN STEVENS e/w 3.15pm Epsom (today)