THE Investec Derby Festival gets underway with this afternoon’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes (2.00pm) where Karl Burke’s ODELIZ is going to take all the beating.
This five-year-old mare hasn’t won since September 2013, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. She has run some fine races in defeat, notably when beaten just a length by Thistle Bird in this race 12 months ago.
Admittedly disappointing on her reappearance at the Curragh in March, she ran really well to finish fourth behind Secret Gesture in the Middleton Stakes last time.
Even though the daughter of Falco is yet to win a Group race, her form is much better than her rivals today and everything looks in place for a huge run.
Lightning Thunder is her biggest threat according to the betting and the ratings. However, I’m not convinced by Olly Stevens’ filly, who has failed to shine on her last three starts.
The rest look much of a muchness really and Odeliz rates a strong bet at 3/1 with Betway.
The following Investec Wealth & Investment Stakes (2.35pm) is a typically open Epsom handicap and Mark Johnston’s three runners occupy the top three spots in the betting.
Both Fire Fighting and Master Of Finance are respected, but I’m going to pin my hopes on SENNOCKIAN STAR.
This chestnut gelding won over course and distance in April last year off a 2lb higher mark of 96 and then took another handicap at Goodwood later that summer off 101.
He then failed to win his next 11 starts before landing a Class Three prize at Chelmsford City last month. That was off 95, but on this return to turf he’s allowed to race off 94.
Stable jockey Joe Fanning takes the ride and although he has disappointed on his last two visits to Epsom, he is still worth supporting at 13/2 with Betway now that he has found his form.
The Investec Diomed Stakes (3.10pm) features a small yet select field of seven runners and the one who stands out for me is AROD.
Peter Chapple-Hyam’s colt ran a screamer to finish fourth in last year’s Investec Derby and he returned this campaign with a decent second on his reappearance, before an excellent third in the Group One Lockinge Stakes.
This trip of nine furlongs is absolutely perfect and he can confirm the Lockinge form with Custom Cut who looks vulnerable under his penalty.
ODELIZ 2.00pm Epsom (today)
SENNOCKIAN STAR e/w 2.35pm Epsom (today)
AROD 3.10pm Epsom (today)