On 1st June I normally have two things on my mind, firstly, “Where is my top hat?” and secondly, “So-and-so will be my Derby bet”. This year was different. Worryingly I have already found the hat and for some strange reason it no longer fits like a glove. I think failing hair follicles are the issue! Also I couldn’t pick my Derby winner.

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise as this week we seem to have had more ‘refusals’ than at the Grand National. A field of 12 should be assembled by 4pm tomorrow afternoon but with the weather being a little unpredictable at the moment we may have less at off-time.

My grandfather once told me to pick the best horse and a likely stayer and back both. Based on those criteria we can do better and just pick JAN VERMEER (3%).

The Investec Oaks this afternoon at 4.05pm looks a real cracker. None of the runners seem outstanding but it is definitely highly competitive on paper. Henry Cecil has been in terrific form so far this season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him notch another winner or perhaps a one-two. However, I’m going to be backing an Irish raider in the form of Jim Bolger’s AKDARENA (3%). She has won twice this year and can make it three times lucky this afternoon.