2.00 Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes (Conditions Race) 6f
To start Oaks Day we have two year olds here over six furlongs. This track will suit some horses and others just wont be able to handle it.
DRAGON COMMAND at the forecast prices looks to be too big for me. He has a line of form with Rayong who re-opposes and he meets him on better terms this time around.
He is getting 5lb for getting beaten ¾ of a length. It is fair to say Rayong will improve but this race might just need a horse with some experience behind him.
On his debut Dragon Command was green but when the penny dropped he stayed on well in the final furlong. He cut out much off the pace last time at Carlisle and I don’t think that suited. Hold up him and come with a late run at Epsom could pay dividends here at a solid each way price.
2.35 Investec Mile Handicap 1M
The first competive handicap of the meeting and trainer David O Meara looks to hold the potential aces in the pack.
FIRMAMENT is his best chance in this race on form and the draw has been kind to him as he has drawn stall 4. This horse has not won since August 2016 when he beat Mustashry who has subsequently won the Group One Lockinge this season.
Firmament has been knocking on the door numerous times and deserves a return to the winners enclosure. His mark has gone up a pound from his last run to 94 but he has been placed off marks higher so I think he definitely has a big run in him. For those who followed my York previews I have to mention David O Mearas other runner here Hortzadar.
He thinks a lot of this horse as I mentioned, he has a poor draw for this race so it could be worth a small reverse forecast as he could be staying on late and fast.
3.10 Investec Coronation Cup 1m 4f
SALOUEN returns to this race after finishing a very gallant second to Cracksman last year when he made most of the running and nearly held on. He has plenty of course form as he also finished midfield in the Derby back in 2017.
He finished sixth in the Arc De Triomph behind Enable last season and on that form alone he is overpriced here for me. He should be second favourite behind Kew Gardens and on ratings he has only 3lbs to find. Ballydoyle will have Cypress Creek doing the pacemaking duties so if Oisin Muphy can sit second and get first run on Kew Gardens I can see him causing a minor shock.
Salouen is a credit to the small stable of Sylvester Kirk and he was very impressive from the front at Ascot last time out.
3.45 Investec Wealth and Investment Handicap 1m 2f
As I have already mentioned course form is vital for this two day Epsom extravaganza.
WHAT ABOUT CARLO is one horse who has a real affection for the tight turns and long undulating straight. He finished third in this race last year when not getting any sort of luck from off the pace and absolutely flew home when out in the clear but was unable to pick the leaders up.
He was off a mark of 100 that day and he will return this year off the exact same mark. He blew away the cobwebs fitness wise last time out with a very solid run to finish second behind our Coronation Cup selection Salouen.
This race has undoubtedly being in the mind of trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and I can see a massive run from this horse at a double figure price.
4.30 Investec Oaks (Group 1) 1M 4F
FRANKELLINA is another that I selected in the York previews and I am going to continue to follow her in the feature on Day One.
To finish so close after being left three lengths at the start was a remarkable run and the more I watch the replays the more it suggests to me that she wasn’t stopping close home.
The step up to a mile and a half is a question but should she stay I really can’t understand why she is so big in the market. Many pundits have suggested that the Musidora wasn’t as strong as recent years and the form wont hold up. When this filly won on her debut she battled and put her head down. Last time out she battled aswell.
This filly for me wont be stopping and if it does turn into a battle close home she could edge out one of the fancied market rivals.
5.15 Investec Surrey Stakes (Listed) 7F
SPACE BLUES another horse from my York Previews who I suggested had the potential to be better than handicap class and he duly showed that with a devastating turn of foot when James Doyle got him into the clear. He takes a small rise in class here and for me the Appleby team will be very disappointed should he get beaten.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) May 15, 2019
Royal Ascot will surely be on the agenda after this and he will be my nap of Day One.
5.50 Investec Zebra Handicap 7F
WAR GLORY will be the selection in the final race on the day for the Richard Hannon stable. For those who followed the last leg of my treble on Brigadier Gerard evening at Sandown, Lush Life came late and fast to catch War Glory close home. This form for me is extremely strong and I think it will be worth following through the season.
Sean Levey who is on board here will have a perfect position from stall eight and he will be able to slot in off the pace and pounce close home. His handicap mark of 94 is manageable even though he hasn’t won off a mark so high. Solid chance.