Turf Talk: Looking for a new Dawn in Epsom Derby

THE greatest flat race of all is finally upon us and I’ve never been so confident about a horse with stamina issues staying the unique one and a half miles at Epsom Downs since Dancing Brave, and we all know it wasn’t the trip that beat him but a catastrophic jockey error.

Dawn Approach is my favourite horse running on the flat this year, as I watched him walk into the winner’s enclosure on Guineas day at Newmarket I was bursting with pride, having backed him through the winter for that race. It was a special day. Since then I have been constantly asked whether this fine strapping son of a chestnut Derby winner (New Approach) will get the trip at Epsom, the simple answer is yes, I have no doubts whatsoever.

He’s a hot favourite however and the current odds of even money don’t appeal in the slightest as a betting proposition so I may simply watch and savour the race as a spectacle. I have to say that my original Derby horse was Dawn Approach’s stablemate, Trading Leather, He’s still entered but is a doubtful runner as I write, following his third in last Saturday’s Irish 2,000 Guineas. This is a shame as he could have run into a place at a big price.

On the Derby undercard, the ‘Epsom Dash’ is raced mostly downhill over the minimum trip and is historically known as the fastest 5f in the country. As usual, I’m bullish about a horse’s chance, this time it’s a previous winner who has incredibly has been dropped 10lb since he won it last. We all know it’s common knowledge that most horses who attempt to repeat a victory generally do it with more weight rather than less, the handicapper usually see to that. But this time he’s given us a bit of chance and I intend to take full advantage.

Captain Dunne is an 8yo brute of a horse who only knows one way of running and that’s going full tilt from the moment the stalls open. If lady luck kindly gives him a high draw he’s a big player in this at about 12/1. I have to give a shout out to Tax Free in the same race at 33/1. If he can recapture something near his best form he’ll think he’s been let loose off a mark of 88. 

Selections Saturday 1st June

Epsom Derby – Dawn Approach

Epsom ‘Dash’ – Captain Dunne and Tax Free (e/w)