Thursday, December 29, 2022

Runners & Riders – The Oaks and The Derby 2020

‘The Steeple Times’ analyses the selections for a somewhat damp double at Epsom on ‘Super Saturday’; we suggest enjoying The Oaks and The Derby 2020 at home

After having enjoyed the return to racing with ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ last month in spite of the inclement weather, punters are in for another treat (again without the help of ‘Him Upstairs’) in the form of The Oaks and The Derby 2020 at Epsom Downs in Surrey. It just happens to coincide with the pubs reopening for ‘Super Saturday’ and we hope that there are no mishaps on either the course or in those establishments also.


Beginning with the Investec Oaks at 3.40pm – first run in 1779 and legendarily won nine times by Frank Buckle on occasions between 1797 and 1823 – this one mile, four furlongs and six yards race is restricted to three-year-old fillies.


Today, only 8 horses (out of a maximum of 20) will run and for the first the favoured horse is the Sir John Gosden-Frankie Dettori combo Frankly Darling at 13/8 (The Sun, Daily Mail ‘Gimcrack’, Daily Mail Robin Goodfellow, Racing Post ’Newmarket NAP’, At The Races, with Love as the alternative at 11/10 (Guardian).


As a very much more exciting option, Radio 4 is going with the least favoured of the eight runners and we might do the same and pray for a comeback with an each way on Sir John Gosden’s second runner in the race, Tiempo Vuela at 100/1 from 80/1 earlier and 40/1 much earlier. Of her, the Racing Post says: “Folded tamely when favourite at Newmarket (well behind Queen Daenerys) last time.”


In the Group 1 flat race, the Investec Derby at 4.55pm – which was first run in 1780 and which was immortalised in the 1952 film Derby Day starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding – 16 three-year-olds (out of a maximum of 20) will battle it out over one mile, four furlongs and six yards in what is considered one of the greatest races in the world.


The Bjorn Nielsen owned entry with Frankie Dettori riding English King at 7/2 (Racing Post ‘Ace Tipster’, At The Races) is the favoured option this year, though Qatar Racing’s Oisin Murphy-Andrew Balding combo Kameko at 5/1 is a horse that appears on fine form having excelled in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket recently (The Telegraph, Daily Mail ‘Gimcrack’ NAP).


Of English King, Keith Melrose for the Racing Post says: “His Lingfield win was impressive and the draw is not a hugely major issue some are suggesting” whilst ‘Templegate’ for The Sun remarks of the anything but a turtle on the track Kameko: “There’s always a big question about stepping up to the Derby trip from that mile and his pedigree suggests it may be a stretch. But he travels supremely and that could get him home.”


As well as definitely going for an each way on Kameko, we might also opt for a second each way on the A. P. O’Brien trained Russian Emperor at 5/1 from 11/2 earlier (Radio 4, Guardian, At The Races).


Whilst the Racing Post remarks of him: “Looked a stayer when winning Group 3 over 1m2f at Ascot; should do well at 1m4f,” Chris Cook of the Guardian adds: “Russian Emperor is fancied to make his powerful finish count. The step up to this distance looks perfect for him and it also helps that there should still be some cushion in the ground after this week’s rain, because he is not the type to race handily and will probably have a dozen or more still in front of him at the home turn.”


Happy racing and please dear readers, just avoid ending up at A&E this ‘Super Saturday.’


Watch the day’s action live and enjoy The Oaks and The Derby 2020 and other races on ITV1 from 1.25pm.


Pictured top: Kameko ridden by Oisin Murphy winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in June. Murphy is one to watch today with rides in both the The Oaks and The Derby 2020. In the 3.40pm, he will be on Bharani Star (40/1) for Phoenix Thoroughbreds.


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The Oaks and The Derby 2020 will see action just as exciting as is portrayed in the 1952 film ‘Derby Day.’ The film was directed by Herbert Wilcox and featured his third wife Anna Neagle in the star role as Lady Helen Forbes. The film was launched with a promotion at Epsom Downs Racecourse itself.
Runners & Riders – The Oaks and The Derby 2020 – ‘The Steeple Times’ analyses the selections for a somewhat damp double at Epsom on ‘Super Saturday’; we suggest enjoying The Oaks and The Derby 2020 at home. Pictured: Kameko ridden by Oisin Murphy winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in June.
The star of the show at The Oaks and The Derby 2020 – Frankie Dettori is favourite to win the Investec Derby this year on English King.



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