Thursday 27 October 2016

Pinstickers guide to the Epsom derby

Success Days
Success Days

Who is likely to come up trumps at the showcase race?

CARBON DATING (Pat Shanahan)

Highly tried this year in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and the Irish 2,000 Guineas, but has come up well short on both occasions. Likely to be nearer last than first. 1

ELM PARK (Andrew Balding)

Looked every inch a Derby contender as a juvenile and deserves his place after finishing third in a red-hot renewal of the Dante at York. However, it is difficult to see him turning the form around with Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs and did not appear entirely comfortable when galloping on the track last week. 6

EPICURIS (Criquette Head-Maarek)

A Group One-winning two-year-old in France, but disappointingly beaten on his seasonal reappearance. Has not been seen in the subsequent two months, so interesting he is sent across the English Channel by his brilliant trainer. One usually hits the frame at a big price and he could be the one. 8


Not entitled to be as short as he is on what he has achieved and would probably not be here had one or two of his stable companions who had been pencilled in as Derby contenders not come up short this spring. 5

GOLDEN HORN (John Gosden)

Looked the part on his first start of the year at Newbury and enhanced his reputation with a scintillating display in the Dante. That form is undoubtedly the best on offer, but stamina doubts remain and he might just fall short at prohibitive odds. 9

HANS HOLBEIN (Aidan O'Brien)

Has done nothing wrong this year, following up a comeback success at Leopardstown with a determined effort in a soft-ground Chester Vase. Guaranteed stayer, but a couple of these should have a few more gears. 6

JACK HOBBS (John Gosden)

Has come a long way since winning his maiden at Wolverhampton a little over five months ago, subsequently bolting up in a Sandown handicap before finding stable companion Golden Horn too hot to handle in the Dante. However, the step up to a mile and a half is likely to suit Jack Hobbs and he might just reverse the form. 10


Earned his Derby slot by winning the Lingfield Trial, but will probably need to find another stone of improvement to win the big one. Might give each-way backers a run for their money, but hard to see him winning. 5

MOHEET (Richard Hannon)

Hugely expensive colt at 800,000 guineas and looked good on debut last year, but has been beaten in the Craven and the Guineas since. Step up in distance will need to work its oracle. 4

ROGUE RUNNER (Andreas Wohler)

A second runner for Qatar Racing, along with Elm Park, and his lack of strong form would suggest he is aiming to help get the best out of the owners' number one hope. 2

STORM THE STARS (William Haggas)

Runner-up behind Hans Holbein at Chester before winning at Goodwood, so not a complete a no-hoper. The yard are in scintillating form at the moment, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility he could run into minor money. 5


Followed the traditional Irish route to Epsom by winning the Ballysax and Derrinstown Trials and has done in some style from the front. Would likely be half the price if he was trained by Aidan O'Brien and deserves respect. The drying ground might not play to his strengths, though. 6


Golden Horn is the most likely winner if he can reproduce his Dante performance, but even his owner has major concerns about the step up to and a mile and a half and it could be he has done his running at the business end of the premier Classic. With that in mind, preference is for stable companion JACK HOBBS, who should relish the rise in distance and clearly has a huge engine. Given he did not make his debut until the day after St Stephen's Day, the scope for improvement is huge. Of those at bigger prices, French hope Epicuris is worth a speculative each-way punt in case some of the big guns come up short.

1. Jack Hobbs

2. Golden Horn

3. Epicuris

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