Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips from day 2 of the Epsom Downs Derby Festival as well as the best of the rest from around the UK on Saturday 3 June 2023.
EPSOM DOWNS DERBY FESTIVAL DAY TWO
Race 1 Betfred Diomed Stakes (Group 3)
No5 REGAL REALITY
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Ryan Moore
This isn’t the hottest Group 3 and granted the nature of the field and the unique course the enigmatic REGAL REALITY could see the cards fall in his favour.
The now eight-year-old can be a law unto himself but is one of those that can match it with more highly rated foes on his day. Furthermore, his jockey knows how to get the best out of him, and he will probably leave his recent defeat at this level at Newmarket behind him.
Race 2 BETFRED DERBY (Group 1)
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Richard Kingscote
It’s not difficult to envisage lightning striking twice in the Premier Classic, with Stoute and Kingscote repeating their 2022 triumph with Desert Crown with the talented PASSENGER.
The son of Ulysses created a favourable impression with his debut success in the Wood Ditton Stakes, after which Ryan Moore urged Stoute to run him in a Derby trial, and that happened in the Dante Stakes at York.
With Moore committed to the O’Brien stable, Kingscote took over but experienced a nightmare trip at the business end of the extended mile-and-a-quarter race.
Passenger had travelled beautifully, but the colt was persistently refused a gap, necessitating a much later-than-ideal move by his jockey that saw him switched to the outer and staying on for a share of third behind the winner THE FOXES.
It is a genuine hard luck story, and having been supplemented into today’s field Passenger needs to show he stays. Should that occur he can definitely turn the tables on those that beat him in Yorkshire (WHITE BIRCH finished second).
AUGUSTE RODIN was a champion two-year-old but failed to show up in the 2,000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien is insistent that we will see the real version of his spearhead runner in the contest, but I’m not certain the son of Deep Impact will either handle the track or relish a battle when the whips are up. He’s favourite on reputation above what he’s actually achieved this year, and therefore worth taking on.
Frankie Dettori’s final Derby ride ARREST ticks plenty of boxes in view of the fact that he’s taking solid form into the race and was always in control in the Chester Vase. He has nothing to fear from ADELAIDE RIVER on that showing, and as so often happens should have learned a lot about track craft from his experience round the tight Roodee circuit.
MILITARY ORDER has taken the same route here as his brother Adayar who was beaten in the Lingfield Trial before triumphing in the one that mattered two years ago. The Frankel colt exuded a professional approach when convincingly scoring on that reappearance, and is guaranteed to stay the Derby distance.
If there was to be a shock, the latter’s Lingfield victim WAIPIRO might provide it. He made a good fist of taking on the eventual winner on what was only his third career start, and can build on it.
Prediction: 1st PASSENGER, 2nd Military Order, 3rd Waipiro, 4th Auguste Rodin, 5th Arrest
Race 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Group 3)
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Ryan Moore
Stoute has a soft spot for this distaffers’ prize and could have the answer with POTAPOVA. Named after a legendary ice skating duo, the daughter of Invincible Spirit has the balance and brawn to handle these unique undulations and delighted connections in her winding up gallop last week.
Race 4 No8 BETWEENTHESTICKS (Each Way)
Trainer: Jack Channon – Jockey: George Bass
The sight of these sprinters engaging on the fastest five furlongs in the country is a thing to behold, and one that can take away a cheque is BETWEENTHESTICKS. The selection showed he is coming to hand when narrowly beaten by Estate at Salisbury and from a good draw is weighted to turn the tables. Jam Jungle is consistent, and should also be included in exotic permutations.
Race 6 No2 TORITO (Each Way)
Trainer: John Gosden – Jockey: Benoit De La Sayette
TORITO enjoys a plum draw in this race around a left-handed bend that remembers Epsom legend Lester Piggott. A winner at Nottingham who ran very well in defeat against Artistic Star at Sandown, he can stave off the challenges of Fox Journey, Perfect Play and Masai Mara.
Race 3 No6 BACK SEE DAA
As the only filly in the field for this valuable novice stakes BACK SEE DAA enjoys the benefit of the 5lb sex allowance. She has to turn the tables on Onslow Gardens from Ascot last season but hails from a stable whose horses are stepping up in the approach to Royal Ascot.
Race 4 No4 RATHGAR (Nap)
Trainer: Jack Channon – Jockey: Charles Bishop
RATHGAR represents races at Newmarket and York that have worked out. He’s a progressive colt by Ulysses who is sure to benefit stepping up to this extended mile and three-quarters, and has been working well at home.
Race 3 No6 THANKSBUTNOTHANKS (Nap)
Trainer: Dominic Ffrench Davis – Jockey: Callus Shepherd
THANKSBUTNOTHANKS got to within three-quarters of a length of a well-regarded foe on debut and with that experience under her belt can open her account to earn a late ticket to Royal Ascot, where her owners Amo Racing will be armed to the brim with two-year-old talent.