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Matt Chapman exclusive: We’ll see a superstar win the Epsom Derby – if the storms stay away

One of the best days on the calendar with both Aidan O'Brien and California Chrome looking to make racing history.

by Matt Chapman | June 6, 2014

Derby Day. One of the great occasions in British sport that guarantees a place in the history books for whoever is crowned champ. For most of us, though, it’s about finding the winner so let’s see if we can chip away at the Paddy Power profits. You hear me Paddy?

There’s been opposition to AUSTRALIA (4pm) in the Derby on the basis the price isn’t big enough for a horse yet to win at the highest level.

However, I am all over the Aidan O’Brien hotpot and the Irishman will make history as the first trainer to saddle three consecutive Epsom Derby winners if one of his team scores. I expect Australia to show us what the trainer has been saying all along – that he is a star in the making.

The colt has the best piece of form in the race when finishing third third in the 2,000 Guineas to Night of Thunder – with the runner up Kingman later bolting up in the Irish version.

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Don’t tell anyone but …

He is bred to be much better at 1m4f and private conversations I have had with connections in Ireland have left me in no doubt he is the real thing. Of course the hotpots get beat – you only have to look at Dancing Brave in 1986 – but I expect Australia to win and win well. Take that Paddy!

There’s a slight worry that about him on soft ground so keep an eye on the forecast as storms are forecast. But it would have to be of biblical proportions to knock Australia off course.

Saturday’s card starts with a 1m 2f handicap and I think BLACK SHADOW (1.35pm) will go well here. He’s dropping back in trip but could be off a handy mark of 93, having only been a length behind Honor Bound (who ran in Friday’s Oaks) at Windsor two runs ago. Rain-softened ground won’t be a problem.

It’s all about speed in the Woodcote Stakes and I can’t get away from BAITHA ALGA (2.05pm), who would have won much more easily at Chester last time but for being hampered at a crucial stage. Promises much.


Cirrus des Aigles is miles clear on ratings (123) in the Coronation Cup. But I have never been a fan of him over 1m 4f, so will have an each-way (or without the favourite) punt on last year’s Oaks heroine TALENT (2.40pm) . If she’s ready on her seasonal debut she should go well.

Dash for the cash

If sprint handicaps are your thing than the 5f Epsom “Dash” is one of the best sights in racing. The draw plays a big part and I like SEEKING MAGIC (3.15pm).

Was very consistent last year and wasn’t beaten far when ninth of 21 at Newmarket on his seasonal debut when not getting the best of runs and Paddy’s paying the first five home.

Triple Crown

Meanwhile, don’t forget the Belmont Stakes live on Attheraces on Saturday night.

California Chrome is looking to become the first horse to complete the famed Triple Crown in 36 years since Affirmed in 1978. While 33 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness stakes in its history only 12 have gone on to win the Triple Crown by landing the Belmont Stakes and the last to do it was Affirmed in 1978 ridden by Steve Cauthen.

It’s so hard to do so I’m going to take a chance with WICKED STRONG each-way. He looks sure to relish the extra distance.
Hopefully we will have a cracking Derby Day – even better if Paddy is miserable by the end of it! Yeeehaaa!

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