THE Cazoo Epsom Derby Festival features the Cazoo Oaks on the Friday, with the Cazoo Derby run on Saturday and this year in memory of the legendary Lester Piggott, who won the world’s most famous Flat race a record nine times as a jockey. My first memory of Lester Piggott was his success on the courageous The Minstrel in the 1977 Derby under an incredible ride. This race had a big influence on my love of flat racing, and I have been lucky enough to be in the company of Sean Magee, who spent a great deal of time with Lester Piggott, collaborating on some books with this brilliant jockey.
This year’s renewal of the Cazoo Oaks is a high class one with rightly heading the market Emily Upjohn at Unibet 11/10 after her wide-margin Musidora success at York for the John Gosden team and this Sea The Stars filly looks sure to appreciate the trip. Her stablemate Nashwa at Unibet 7/2 really caught the eye in the Fillies’ Trial at Newbury ridden by Hollie Doyle, who would be the first female jockey to win a British Classic and what a story if Hollie achieves this. The only negative would be whether Nashwa will truly get the trip.
With Emily Upjohn likely to be 11/10 or evens I have marked up two each way selections for the Cazoo Oaks, who can take the favourite on in a Group 1 which has been won by two market leaders in the last ten years.
I will be at Epsom presenting and enjoy whether on the Epsom Downs or #athome watching on ITV or Racing TV.
The Wine Tipster.
2.00 Epsom – Cazoo Woodcote EBF Stakes (6f)
Estate still looked like he was learning on the job when second to Commander Straker at Bath last time but ran on willingly enough in the latter stages to think that the penny is dropping. Interestingly, trainer Andrew Balding clearly thinks he can reverse form with Commander Straker here, and it is worth noting that Estate had looked very green on debut on his previous start at Chester and went in the notebook on that occasion. Estate can take the Woodcote as he definitely looks open to improvement.
2.35 Epsom – Handicap (1m ½f)
Corazon Espinado won this contest in 2021 and older horses have a strong record in this race with this seven-year-old having a good chance of following up again. His Epsom record is excellent with four wins from nine appearances and only two starts outside the first three. Admittedly his recent record at other courses is not very exciting so he has now dropped to a mark of 85, with his 2021 victory here off 84. Corazon Espinado’s return to his favourite course looks sure to bring out another good run and he can’t be overlooked here.
3.10 Epsom – Dahlbury Coronation Cup Group 1 (1m 4f)
Pyledriver can follow up on last year’s game success when beating Al Aasy and take this year’s renewal with Frankie Dettori in the plate. Pyledriver showed he was back to form when a ¾-length unlucky fourth in the Sheema Classic in March when no room to make an effective challenge. Pyledriver has had a little break since, is top rated and he’s simply the best horse in the race.
3.45 Epsom – Cazoo Handicap (1m 2f)
Moktasaab (nap) can make it a hat-trick for this season in a race which has seen four winners in the last five years carrying more than 9st. Moktassab is carrying 9st 2lb and although he went up 12lb for his last success at Goodwood beating Caradoc, who reopposes, he just powered away in terrific style. This four-year-old is open to significant improvement and given he handled Goodwood so well then Epsom will bring out the best in him.
4.30 Epsom – Cazoo Oaks Group 1 (1m 4f)
Concert Hall is having her ninth career start as was the 2021 winner, the much-missed Snowfall also trained by Aidan O’Brien. Concert Hall on seasonal debut won a Listed contest over 1m 2f at Navan, beating Magical Lagoon in a tight finish, when doing all her best work in the latter part of the race. She then finished third to the very smart winner Homeless Songs and Tuesday (reopposes) in a deep looking Irish Guineas last month when finding the 1m trip too short. Concert Hall will relish the step up to this distance and this thoroughly genuine filly will be doing her best work late on.
With The Moonlight looked so well at Newmarket when winning the Listed Pretty Polly over 1m 2f at the Guineas Festival by nearly five lengths in truly eye-catching style. She looked like she’d wintered so well and was very forward, whilst the second hasn’t franked the form admittedly I was at the Guineas meeting and With The Moonlight has confirmed that impression when rewatching the Pretty Polly. It may be that as the season progresses others will catch up to her physically, however nothing will here and the step up to two extra furlongs will be ideal for this Frankel filly.