THE first day of the Cazoo Derby Festival at Epsom with the Cazoo Oaks, the third of the 2021 classics, the feature of the Friday. My selection Santa Barbara, the 1,000 Guineas fourth for Aiden O’Brien, will go off favourite here. This year’s renewal has a more open look than last year when Love easily won, with Teona and Zeyaadah from the Roger Varian team flying the flag for the home challenge and Aidan O’Brien has four other runners in the field including Snowfall, winner of the Musidora at York and the heavily backed Divinely.
Earlier on in The Coronation Cup Al Aasy looks hard to oppose at odds that are likely to shorten and I prefer to have an each way play on Albaflora (see below).
We are back with hospitality too at Epsom with 4,000 racegoers at the course and they will have a fantastic day watching top-class racing.
Enjoy whether on Epsom Downs or at home.
The Wine Tipster.
2.00 Epsom – Woodcote EBF Stakes (6f)
Dusky Prince won well on good to firm in April on debut at Brighton, which is a tricky track with plenty of undulations, so he seems sure to handle Epsom. Having won easily at Brighton, he looks like he had lots of potential and can step up today.
2.35 Epsom – Handicap (1m ½f)
Irish Admiral won on seasonal debut on his first start for William Haggas at Wolverhampton and then ran well to finish third behind Surrey Pride and Makram (second on Monday). Dropped out the back early on, he then travelled up well to hold a good chance two out when making his challenge.
Irish Admiral drops back a couple of furlongs in distance today, which won’t be a problem and he looks sure to handle the quick going as his sire won on good to firm. He looks the most progressive in a field short on depth.
3.10 Epsom – Coronation Cup Group 1 (1m 4f)
Albaflora (each way) looks a very smart four-year-old who is really improving for the Ralph Beckett team, who are in good form. She comfortably defeated a good field time last month at Ascot on soft going, beating Tribal Craft (won since) by seven lengths, with higher rated runners in behind. Albaflora has won on good going and gets every yard of this trip.
3.45 Epsom – Cazoo Handicap (1m 2f)
Data Protection is an Epsom course specialist with course form figures of 13124.
On seasonal debut he failed to settle in a rough race at York and did well to finish third on that occasion. Although he has won over shorter at Epsom, this looks his trip these days with wins at Newmarket and Sandown last season. Last year he finished fourth in this contest to Sky Defender, who reopposes and I’m expecting a much stronger performance this year from Data Protection.
4.30 Epsom – Cazoo Oaks Group 1 (1m 4f)
Santa Barbara (nap) can strike for the Aidan O’Brien team here and win on her third career start.
She was too short a price for the 1,000 Guineas off the back of a maiden win as a juvenile and she finished fourth to stablemate Mother Earth, who was my selection. Santa Barbara travelled well for a long way before showing her inexperience in the last furlong and she is the runner in this field who visually looked the most likely to improve significantly from their last start. This is her first start over a mile, yet with her breeding by Derby winner Camelot and out of the mare Senta’s Dream, she looks sure to stay.
Ocean Road looks the best of the bigger priced runners in this open renewal. She blew the start when second favourite in the Oaks trial at Lingfield last time out when third behind Sherbet Lemon before travelling well in the second half of the race. She was second to late absentee Noon Star on debut last season and she will appreciate the better ground here, definitely stay and Hugo Palmer’s yard are in good form.