Trainer John Gosden saddles the well-bred filly SO MI DAR in a bid to land a second straight success in Wednesday afternoon’s Investec Derby Trial (2.30pm) at Epsom.
Having won the 10 furlong prize with Christophermarlowe 12 months ago, the Newmarket handler will be hoping the daughter of Dubawi can repeat that success.
Tomorrow’s assignment is a huge step up from the Windsor maiden she won at the backend of last season, but the fact that Gosden has thrown her in at the deep end here against the boys suggests he holds her in the highest regard.
Only Tesoro, the horse that finished eighth behind my selection at Windsor, has gone on to win a race since.
That was a moderate affair at Wolverhampton back in December, but the vibe from Newmarket is that So Mi Dar is no ordinary filly and I’m prepared to take the 4/1 on offer.
I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off a small, speculative bet on her for the Investec Oaks at 25/1.
Admittedly, the investment may well be cooked just after 2.30pm this afternoon. However, if she runs out an impressive winner, you will be lucky to get half those current odds.
Her biggest danger on paper looks to be Aidan O’Brien’s Claudio Monteverdi who has the benefit of a run earlier this month under his belt.
That Leopardstown maiden success was boosted by the emphatic win of the third at Navan on Sunday.
It’s hard to get a gauge on where he sits in the Ballydoyle pecking order, but the truth is he may not actually need to be too near the top to land the spoils here.
As for the rest, Top Beak also won at Windsor on his only juvenile start and has plenty of potential.
Beaverbrook brings the most experience to the race but it would be a surprise if he was good enough to beat either of the top two in the market.
The most valuable handicap on the card is the Investec City and Suburban Stakes (3.40pm) with a total prize fund of £45,000.
Sennockian Star won this race in 2014, but was bitterly disappointing 12 months ago and he’s a difficult one to catch right.
What About Carlo can never be ruled out on this track.
He was a strong fancy last year following an excellent fourth in the Betway Lincoln, yet didn’t manage to beat one home. A mark of 100 might just be a shade too high.
If the ground is riding really soft, Gary Moore’s Clayton will have serious claims.
He’s been running in some decent races over hurdles and was second in this race two years ago when trained by Kevin Ryan.
Moore’s horses are in great form and his son Ryan takes the ride, but I marginally favour PACIFY with the ground likely to dry out a little.
Ralph Beckett has made a strong start to the season, boosted by the arrival of his new stable jockey Fran Berry from Ireland.
Pacify ran in some decent handicaps against older horses last summer and the son of Paco Boy is likely to have improved and strengthened over the winter.
This race has tended to go to the more unexposed types in recent years – six of the last eight winners were four-year-olds – and I expect my selection to continue that trend.
So Mi Dar 2.30pm Epsom
Pacify 3.40pm Epsom