CH4 Racing presenter Nick Luck picks out his best bets on Investec Oaks day at Epsom.
There is some doubt about Minding’s capacity to see out this trip but it truth there are relatively few in here that are guaranteed to get home on pedigree and her class can carry her the extra distance.
The horse I like at a bit of a price is the Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Seventh Heaven, ridden by last year’s winning jockey Colm O’Donoghue. I think she’s got a lot of physical presence and, for all that the Lingfield Oaks Trial was a messy race run in a poor time, I just get the feeling that she has a lot of improvement in her.
I’m going to take a chance on Hyperfocus in the Woodcote (2.00). I’m not convinced that the Sea Of Snow/Legendary Lunch Windsor form is particularly strong and Hyperfocus has got a nice debut win on soft ground to his name. He’ll obviously have to improve again but he saw out a stiff five on his debut and I think he will do better over an extra furlong (albeit on a less demanding track). Tibr would be a serious threat but I would want the ground to dry up a bit for him, given his US pedigree.
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The ten-furlong handicap at 2.35 looks an open heat on paper but I’m not sure the handicapper has quite caught up with Dark Red yet and, in common with so many of the stable’s horses this season, he just seems to be in the peak of health. It helps when you have the regular services of Ryan Moore to call upon but this horse is already proven on the track, handles cut in the ground and this isn’t a particularly deep renewal of this race. I thought he was always holding Felix De Vega at Chester last time, although any ease in the ground would obviously help the latter’s cause. I wouldn’t be amazed if old Fire Fighting ran quite well at a price given this represents a notable drop in class and if the ground started to dry up I would be tempted to back him each-way. As things stand the ground is a bit of a worry.
In the Diomed Stakes (3.10), I’m really quite sweet on the chances of Decorated Knight. That was a good performance at Goodwood last time, where he built nicely on his seasonal debut. He’s bred to be a pretty good horse, he’s steadily progressive and he’s got form with cut in the ground, so he’s well worth a shot at this level. The horses rated higher than him (Custom Cut and Sovereign Debt) are not progressive and Arod will be compromised by softish ground, although he would clearly be a class apart at his best.
The Investec Mile (3.45) looks a very tough race for punters but Fieldsman looked right back to his best on his first run for George Scott and back in the day he won a handicap around here in pretty impressive fashion.