Epsom Derby Day Tips: Ebanoran is the stand-out play this Saturday

Tony likes Ebanoran's chances in the Derby at Epsom
Tony likes Ebanoran's chances in the Derby at Epsom

Tony Calvin turns his attention to Derby day at Epsom and has selected three big-priced fancies for the day's racing...

"The fact that Ebanoran is at Epsom at all is a massive pointer to his chances, as was his “victory” in the Derrinstown last time."


John Oxx has had a rough time of it since Sea The Stars won this race in 2009 - his numbers and winners have declined alarmingly - but he can put himself back on the world map when his Ebanoran wins the Derby at 16:00.
 
Back him at 17.016/1 or bigger.
 
Oxx also won this race for the Aga Khan with Sinndar in 2000, and in fact he is a remarkable two from three in the Classic, his only other Derby runner being Alamshar, who was only beaten a length into third in 2003.
 
So the fact that Ebanoran is at Epsom at all is a massive pointer to his chances, as was his "victory" in the Derrinstown last time.
 
That was a messy race and no doubt connections of the second and third - runner-up Fascinating Rock got the race in the stewards room - will be fancying their chances this afternoon, but I thought Ebanoran comfortably looked the best horse in that race.
 
He has an impressive turn of foot, but if you have a look at the dam's side of his pedigree he is bred to excel for the step up to 1m4f for the first time. The ground won't be an issue, the draw has been kind to him, and how he is twice the price of Geoffrey Chaucer is a total mystery.
 
Of course, this race revolves around your view on Guineas third Australia. But, at around 7-4, I don't have one. 
 
I am sure there are better 7-4 shots today, and worse ones too, and if he is as good as the stable believe him to be, then well done to his backers, who will be collecting. 
 
I won't be one of them, though.
 
If I had to have a second bet in the race it would be Chester winner Orchestra, but I think Ebanoran is the stand-out play at his current odds and I am happy to go it alone with him.
 
William Haggas is a superb placer of his horses - and they are also red-hot just now, with June form figures of 1131121131 going into Friday's racing - and I think he has probably been targeting Flippant at the 13:35, for some time. 
 
Back her at 11.010/1 or better.
 
I know that he has Yenhaab in here too, who will probably be a much shorter price, but why do I think that Flippant has been laid out for this handicap and is the one of his to be on? 
 
A glance at Flippant's owner gives you a clue. 
 
She is owned by Bernard Kantor, who just happens to be the MD of Investec, sponsor not only of the Derby but also this race.
 
And Flippant has a profile which suggests she can deliver. Today's 5lb claimer Nathan Alison was on board when she won by a neck over a mile in the soft at Chepstow on her reappearance last month, and he didn't have to get serious with her to get up close home.
 
I think she remains very well-treated off just a 4lb higher mark, as the form is working out pretty well. The second and fourth have run well in defeat since, while the third has won since.
 
Alison was of the opinion that the soft ground suited her at Chepstow and that is a concern as it looked genuine fast ground at Epsom today, and her trainer is worried on that score, too. But she won on good ground at Haydock last season - and those possible thunderstorms tomorrow may help - and what seals the deal is that I think the step up in trip will suit her, too.
 
I can't see any angle in the Woodcote, though if I was pressed then Brian Meehan's Leicester winner Lightning Stride would get a very narrow vote, and while I am not playing in the Coronation Cup either I was sorely tempted to lay clear form choice Cirrus Des Aigles in this column.
 
If no rain materialises by race-time I probably will, as I think he is vulnerable on good ground, but I will sit and wait for now.
 
It is not that he hasn't won on it, but good ground brings the likes of Flintshire more into play. And, as we have seen with Miss France's victory in the 1,000 Guineas, Andre Fabre's rare runners over here must be given the utmost respect, and there are other possible contenders, too. 
 
This is not his optimum trip, and who knows how the 8yo favourite will react when he sees Epsom for the first time? 
 
It scares me - as does the thought of running a mile and a half, flat out - and I am 44yo.
 
At around 1.865/6, I'd rather be a layer myself and have the field running for me, but I'll make that call just before the off.
 
I am going to give another old-stager a chance though, as I wasn't expecting 10yo Judge n Jury to be backable at odds of 32.031/1 and bigger in the Dash at 15:15.
 
He may not have the legs anymore to cut it in this company, but I don't think he should be available at around 33-1 considering he showed a welcome return to form when second at Nottingham last weekend, is drawn in stall one and has proven course form, having finished fourth in this race back in 2010.
 
Tangerine Trees, Elusivity and Even Stevens also headed a long shortlist but I will just stick with the one big-price play.
 
Be lucky.

Recommended Bets

Back Flippant at 11.010/1 or bigger in the 13:35 at Epsom
Back Judge n Jury at 32.031/1 or bigger in the 15:15 at Epsom
Back Ebanoran at 17.016/1 or bigger in the 16:00 at Epsom

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