Epsom Derby Festival Tips: Back Tarfasha's stamina to win through in the Oaks

Tarfasha runs in the Oaks at Epsom on Friday afternoon
Tarfasha runs in the Oaks at Epsom on Friday afternoon

Tony Calvin turns his attention to the Epsom Derby Festival and picks out a few fancies for day one including a tip for the Oaks...

"Marsh Daisy very nearly got the vote but the more I looked at her impressive Goodwood win, and her pedigree, then I came to the conclusion that stamina could be her Achilles heel. And that is likely to be Tarfasha’s strong suit."

Back Tarfasha at 8.88/1 in the 16:00 at Epsom

I am risking a Joey Barton Question Time moment here, but what the hell. If you are as ugly as me, you are entitled to stick your neck out once in a while.  If I had one, that is.
Anyway, I can't recall who told me this - or if it is just some latent sexist claptrap surfacing randomly in an Oaks tipping piece - but I'm pretty sure that someone once did.
"Never be too impressed when you meet a girl with a holiday tan, as it will eventually fade, and possibly with it your interest in her," said the wise, yet unrecalled, sage.
It's all a bit different now in the age of the spray tan obviously, as any Aintree racegoers will testify.
But that comment sprang to mind when assessing the chances of the market leaders in the Oaks this morning. Marvellous and Taghrooda both had their day in the ante-post sun after impressive last-time out wins, and had their admirers immediately fawning all over them post-race.
But the more distanced those efforts become, so the luster becomes dimmed. And at the moment, in terms of the current odds and looking at the other women who have turned up to the party since, I am looking at two plain Janes.
I narrowed my current fancy down to two, Marsh Daisy and Tarfasha, and have been going one way and, then the other, all afternoon.
Marsh Daisy very nearly got the vote but the more I looked at her impressive Goodwood win, and her pedigree, then I came to the conclusion that stamina could be her Achilles heel. And that is likely to be Tarfasha's strong suit.
I think that we can safely assume soft ground fears for her are a thing of the past judged on the weather forecast - famous last words - and the form she showed when winning over 1m2f at Naas last time is among the best on offer here.
And the step up to 1m4f is likely to bring about further improvement as she is related to classy stayer Saddlers' Rock and Galileo Rock, placed in the England and Irish Derbys last season, and also the St Leger.
Back her at 8.88/1 in the Oaks at 16:00, to acquire that healthy, winning glow at around 16:05 on Friday afternoon. 
Talking of glowing, I got my fingers well and truly burnt siding with a short-priced Sir Michael Stoute handicapper in Rye House on Saturday, and that was very much a lesson learnt.
So I am going swerve Abseil in the Investec Mile Handicap at 15:20, as that has the potential to go off at a very silly price indeed.
The rumours from the stable suggest that this horse has at least a stone in hand of his current handicap mark of 92 which, if true, would obviously see him win this with his head in his chest en route to a crack at the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
The problem is that his price will fully reflect that - he was smashed in the betting in a handicap at Sandown last week, only to be withdrawn because the ground went against him - and I can't be playing at around 2-1 in a race as competitive as this.
No, I am going to stick to my normal MO and take him on with a couple of horses slurping in the last-chance trough. Step forward, Jacob Cats and Dance And Dance.
Now, stop laughing and listen.
It does take some leap of faith to side with Jacob Cats after three pretty moderate runs this season - and a whole host of disappointing runs in the last campaign too -  but at least the handicapper has given him every chance as a result. And he did show a bit more sparkle when a non-staying sixth over 1m2f at Newmarket last time.
He has been dropped 9lb since the start of the season, has form at downhill tracks, and I am hoping that the first-time visor can rev him up. They will need to but the price compensates for the doubts.
Dance And Dance has become something of a 'drain horse' - don't bother sticking your money over the counter, go direct to sewer, as it saves time - but I am giving this frustrating sort one last chance. Honest, guv.
He was only just touched off by a short-head after making the running last time. That was a welcome return to form but coming from behind in a fast-run race is what this cheeky monkey wants and I have to chuck a few quid at him to follow up his win in this race three years ago, which came off a 6lb higher mark.
Look to back Jacob Cats and Dance and Dance at odds of 40.039/1 and 12.011/1 or better respectively.
I can't excited by the make-up of the 13:35 or 14:45 - though my token selections here are Odeliz and Gregorian respectively - but I am going to play in the 1m2f handicap.
I was tempted by another past race winner in Resurge - he won this last season and in 2011 - and Salutation, until the latter's two poor efforts around here gnawed away at me sufficiently to dismiss him.
But in the 14:10, back Charles Camoin at odds of 17.016/1 or bigger.
No big story here. He won over course and distance on Derby Day in 2011, is now lower in the weights than when winning at Ascot last season, and has been dropped 2lb for a couple of decent efforts this term, including here last time. 
I fear Hi There, fourth in that race after meeting trouble and with Ryan Moore now aboard. But Charles Camoin is a fair shout at the odds with his small stable, with three winners in the last fortnight, in decent nick.

Recommended Bets

Back Tarfasha at 8.88/1 in the 16:00 at Epsom
Back Jacob Cats at 40.039/1 or better in the 15:20 at Epsom
Back Dance and Dance at 12.011/1 or better in the 15:20 at Epsom

Back Charles Camoin at 17.016/1 or bigger in the 14:10 at Epsom

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