2.00 1m2f (1m2f17y) Investec Private Banking Handicap (Class 2)
Not a great race from a punting perspective to start Derby Day but it may pay to look at the consistency of the William Haggas trained ALKAAMEL.
He hasn’t finished outside the first two in his last six starts and that level of consistency could be rewarded tomorrow with a big race win. His mark has gone up 22lb from the start of the year but he looks the type that is still progressing.
It could be a big day for jockey Chris Hayes in the same colours as Madhmoon in the Derby and this would start it off nicely.
2.35 1m½f (1m113y) Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Investec) (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (3yo+)
The most interesting runner here is ANNA NERIUM and her last run is the most noticeable one in her recent form.
Last time out she was second behind Awesometank who re-opposes here but the in-running comments were : “Raced in midfield, dropped to last but going well 3f out, switched off heels on outer and ridden to chase winner over 1f out, stayed on strongly final furlong, not reach winner”.
For me to see her drop to last 3f out and run on as strongly as she did to be only beaten a head is a very respectable run. They meet again off the same weights; the only thing is Anna Nerium was second in this race last year to Wilamina so course form could prove to be the key.
3.10 1m½f (1m113y) Investec Diomed Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo+)
ZAAKI is a strong form candidate here and it will take a decent performance from one of the opposition to get close.
Last time out he beat Barney Roy in a Queen Anne Trial Listed race at Ascot and the form of that was well and truly franked when Barney Roy showed an explosive turn of foot to win a Listed race at Longchamp on his next run.
Zaaki is a typical Michael Stoute improver who could finish in the high 120s as the season continues.
3.45 5f Investec “Dash” Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+)
The Denis Hogan trained HATHIQ is for me one of the plot horses on the card over the two day Derby Meeting.
His win last weekend at the Curragh was visually very impressive. He has gone up 11lb in the handicap from 84 to 95 and that just got him into this race.
If he handles the track he looks one of the bankers of the weekend for me. He is drawn in stall 18 and that could play to his advantage if he gets away quickly.
4.30 1m4f (1m4f6y) Investec Derby Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
For those who followed my York previews you would have seen I was very sweet on the chances of JAPAN for the Dante Stakes.
He ran below par at York last time out but I wouldn’t be surprised if he improved on that run and ended up in contention in one of the feature races of the season.
In all of his two year old form, he was staying on towards the end of his races, and even last time at York he only got going when the race was over.
If he can get into a rhythm early here he could be the value each way selection in a very competitive renewal of the Epsom Derby.
5.15 1m4f (1m4f6y) Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105)
Ryan Moore will be looking forward to getting back aboard SEXTANT for Michael Stoute after his impressive win at Ascot last time out under Louis Steward.
This horse last season was a bit of a monkey and struggled to get his mind on the job. He was subsequently gelded in the interim and produced a scintillating off the pace performance to win going away last time out.
He has gone up 8lb from 89 to 97 and I think that really underestimates his chance.
Like stablemate Zaaki that I previously mentioned, he is the type to progress through the season.
5.50 6f (6f3y) Investec Asset Management Handicap (for The Tokyo Trophy) (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105)
ASHPAN SAM is a bit of a speculative selection here on the basis of his recent form but he won this race in 2014/15 so he knows the course well.
His handicap mark of 86 is not too bad compared to some of his recent good runs off marks of a few pounds lower. He will no doubt be a big price here but I can definitely see him running on into a place.