2:00Investec Private Banking Handicap
A difficult start to the Placepot on Derby Day 2017 with an eight runner handicap.
Hajaj ran a creditable race at Ascot on his reappearance last time out and has received an extra 4lb for that but he could prove to be ahead of the handicapper if performing well here. Charlie Fellowes has asked his charge to step up in trip by half a mile and if he is able to handle that he could be a nice type but it is a big risk especially around the Downs. Tartini (1) was once touted as a potential Derby horse John Gosden, he runs on Derby day just not in the big race! Lightly raced for a three year old he has been dining at the top table in trials and he could just have too much class for these. The form is weighed heavily in his favour with the horses that beat him taking in the Derby. A drop in grade could be the making of him and a rating of 95 looks lenient to us. Desert Skyline was narrowly beaten on his only run over ten furlongs on ground he may not have appreciated. Newmarket is a course unlike any other and whilst Epsom is the same it is a different challenge that a few of these will have to master. A handicap winner already this season he has won in decent sized fields and also in smaller fields so this could turn into a real match up with Tartini and the result could go either way.

2:35 – Princess Elizabeth Stakes
Absolute Blast has had just that in her runs on the all weather this year finishing in the places in every single run. Archie Watson has come into sensational form and it could be a special day for the young trainer as he bids to saddle his first Epsom winner. The form behind the mare looks strong and if she can translate that form to the turf she stands a fantastic chance under Pat Smullen. Laugh Aloud (7) is the one they all have to beat in this race and she is our selection for Godolphin. A dominating performance at Goodwood really has left its mark and if she can perform anywhere near to that level it will be a performance to remember. Interestingly it is James Doyle that takes the ride with William Buick on French raider Silver Step but he is a good jockey and we like her a lot. Urban Fox was a wild outsider in the Guineas but she wasn’t disgraced in that race and put it up to Dabyah in the Fred Darling meaning on form she stands a real chance. James Tate will now know what he has on his hands and a return to this level could see her hit the frame. Epsom Icon won this race last year and has to be respected for Mick Channon and Czabo cannot be written off either for the same trainer.

3:10 – Investec Diomed Stakes
A competitive renewal of the Diomed with plenty in with a chance.
Sovereign Debt has proved a real coup for Ruth Carr taking in a double since moving to the yard including a Group 2 at Sandown in April beating Gabrial who re-opposes here. The grey is likely to be popular with Placepot players however it will be difficult to carry top weight around Epsom in our opinion. He is fully capable of landing a place however we are looking elsewhere. Oh This Is Us and Kool Kompany represent the Hannon family and both are good horses on their day. The first of the two is most likely to play a role in the race and he has transformed from a good handicapper to Group level performer. Kool Kompany was a force a few years back but it would take a big rise in standard to win here. Folkswood (4) is our selection. The crossbar was rattled in a Meydan Group 1 and in the Earl of Sefton so we are hoping this could be his time to win. A good run at Chester last time should have prepared him for the tight track at Epsom. Here Comes When is respected also for connections.

3:45 – Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ Handicap
A blink and you’ll miss it contest over five furlongs down the chute at Epsom!
Paul Midgley is normally the man to go to in these races and we think it could center around his charges once again. Line Of Reason is coming into the race in a decent bit of form and was unlucky in his last race at York when denied a late charge. Desert Law (9) is a previous winner of this race back in 2015 and looked back to his smashing best when winning at Musselburgh on his most recent run. Oisin Murphy keeps the ride after that run and drawn 9 he is near a decent bit of pace for him to aim at. Duke Of Firenze and El Astronaute are going to feature prominently in Placepots too. The first of the two was third in this race last year and David Griffiths is known for setting up his horses well for big races whilst El Astronaute is very quick and could be at home on faster ground should it come up that way.
It is a really difficult race to pick the winner of and anything could help you continue onto leg 5.

4:30 – Investec Derby
The biggest race in the UK is finally here and what a race it is going to be!
Cracksman took the trial run over the course at Epsom in fine style back in April and connections certainly know how to prepare a horse to win this race. A good spin at Breakfast With The Stars will have him on point for the race and the form of that trail could not have worked out any better with Permian winning the Dante. Mark Johnston’s runner is the chosen mount of William Buick and that is a big tick in his box. The Dante has long been a trial to keep a keen eye on and the manner of his win makes it even more so. He is high on the shortlist but we are going to look elsewhere. Best Solution (2) is the one to be with in our eyes. Saeed Bin Suroor is normally very relaxed about his horses yet he has been quite vocal about this runner. Disappointing on dirt in Dubai he responded well to take the Lingfield trial. Pat Cosgrave has kept the ride and whilst his form may not be as good as the two named above he could have the most scope to progress and we are taking a chance with him. Dubai Thunder is also a noteworthy runner for the boys in blue but going from a maiden to the biggest Group 1 in the land is an almighty leap!
Aidan O’Brien sends an armada over and his best chance looks to be Cliffs Of Moher. The chosen one for Ryan Moore, he was a tad difficult at Chester when winning the Dee Stakes but you never can rule out a Ballydoyle runner. Capri and Venice Beach look to be the other two worthy of a spot in your Placepot for the lads. Wings Of Eagles could set a nice pace under Paddy Beggy and plenty have a chance. The final horse worth a mention is Eminent for Martyn Meade. The son of Frankel would be the fairytale winner and he will appreciate the step up in trip but this trip may stretch him too far.


5:15 – Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap
This race looks to revolve around the Sir Michael Stoute trained Shraaoh for AL Shaqab. Legendary with progressing four year old horses this proved correct once again at Goodwood las time when he was a close second in a very valuable handicap. Recently gelded and off since August he will need to be in decent form to win but he should be good enough to place. Whinging Willie (10) is the one we think should get you over the line and into Placepot glory. Gary Moore is a shrewd trainer and when it comes to big money handicaps he usually has a decent hand to play. An honourable second to the very smart Galapiat over this course last time he will know the undulations well and should deal with them better than the others. The visor goes back on for this and we are expecting a good run from him. Eddystone Rock is worth a look as he steps up to twelve furlongs for the first time today. Sixth in the Lincoln is very good form and he was a multiple time winner in Ireland previous to joining the Best yard. Carntop ensures a royal representative at Epsom and now handicapping he could be interesting however recent performances have been very underwhelming.

 

Straight line Placepot:
Leg 1 – Tartini (1)
Leg 2 – Laugh Aloud (7)
Leg 3 – Folkswood (4)
Leg 4 – Desert Law (9)
Leg 5 – Best Solution (2)
Leg 6 – Whinging Willie (10)