Early Bird – Ante Post

Unfortunately I will be away this weekend, missing several decent handicaps along with of course the Oaks and the Derby. Therefore I am accumulating all my thoughts here in my ante post recommendations so you don;t miss out.

Friday

3:45 Epsom – Not So Sleepy & Brorocco

Favourite may be tough to beat in Ajman King who is a course and distance winner though it wouldn’t be the first ‘good thing’ to get beat in this race. Look atBrorocco last year having gone off 11/4 favourite for this race having already proven itself on the course. However, a steady early pace resulted in it not settling early and just couldn’t get competitive. Is only 3lb higher this year and does possess a great turn of foot when getting the pace to set the race up. Looked in need of the run at Newmarket first time up this year as well as finding things happening a bit fast for it on the straight 1m 1f. Looks to have been targeted at this, it may need some luck but I am sure it can win off its current mark.

Another to have been targeted at the race is Not So Sleepy who won it last year. Didn’t get the best of runs having got in a barging match to make the space but stayed on really well when getting the chance and under a good ride got there at the right time. Adam Kirby is the perfect jockey for the horse whilst you could argue that the horse is coming into the race in better form than last year having finished third at Chester 21 days ago. Off the same mark as when winning last year it is obvious it has a good chance.

1pt win Brorocco @ 9/1 Bet365, Coral and Betway

1pt win Not So Sleepy @ 10/1 Bet365, Ladbrokes and Boylesport

4:30 Epsom – Bye Bye Baby

This race is cutting up though Aiden O’Brien has more than half the runners with 5 of the 9 entrants. Trends are a little hard to come by for something that sticks long term. 13 of the last 16 winners had finished in the first two last time out. This would rule out the favourite Wild Illusion who also would fail due to having the coffin box in stall 1 which has failed to place in 14 of the 16 recent runnings. Ejtyah, Flattering and I Can Fly also fail having finished outside the first 2. This leaves Bye Bye Baby, Give And Take, Magic Wand and Perfect Clarity. It is rare for this race to be won by a horse with just two runs to its name. Taghrooda did it but with the race likely to be run on soft ground then experience could be crucial. Magic Wand has been popular for this and is currently 2nd favourite. However, stepped up significantly for the better ground last time which obviously leaves that concern in my mind. Finally Give And Take has done little wrong, in fact it has improved with every run culminating in winning a group 3 last time. Stamina is a real issue though for me. Sire was a miler and its progeny have a poor record over further. This is the only horse to have won over 1m 2f from 13 attempts and both to have tried 1m 4f failed also. Stamina will be at a premium on rain softened ground so I want to be confident the horse will see the trip out. That leaves me with Bye Bye Baby. Officially second highest rated in the race and second highest on RPR. Three times a winner on rain softened ground including soft/heavy last time in a group 3 over 1m 2f. Stamina in the pedigree is no worry being out of Galileo whilst the dam was runner up in an Oaks herself. Might not be the O’Brien first choice but that is never a worry. Could be the one to take them along and be hard to pick up.

1pt win Bye Bye Baby @ 7/1 Skybet and 888bet

5:50 Epsom – Black Bess & Rip Orf

Hard to figure whether these are bets or not as no bookmaker has priced up this market yet, though obviously I am hopeful on a price. This will also highlight how I work and how I determine what is value. Quite simply I imagine a price it should be in my head and compare it to what the bookmakers are offering. If it is significantly higher with the bookmakers then it is a bet. Numerous times I look at a race come up with one or two horses I want to bet only to rule it out when I see the prices. That is just part and parcel of the game and comes down to experience. Unfortunately not something you can just teach or read up on overnight as it is all about a feeling for the race. Anyway, the two horses that interest me here are Black Bess and Rip Orf as shown above. Black Bess is very significant because it has a fine record on rain softened ground since turning three where its figures read: 113162. The 6th can be forgiven as it didn’t seem to see the mile trip out at Ascot. Comes into the race in form having won on good ground last time. The 2nd hasn’t been seen since but the 3rd was runner up in a handicap on its next run along with the 5th who then won on its start after that giving the form a solid look. 4lb higher but an in form mare should never be ignored.

Rip Orf I believe is a well handicapped horse having finished runner to Pouvoir Magique who has bags of potential.  Pulled clear of Surrey Hope in third and back down in trip on easier ground may be a good move, plus it has form on ground with ease in it. In form he is continuing to improve and I suspect is the one they all have to beat.

1pt win Black Bess @ anything above 7/1. If 12/1 or bigger then back it 1pt e/w.

1.5pt win Rip Orf @ 9/2 or bigger.

Saturday

2:00 Epsom – Book Of Dreams

Competitive handicap though personally nothing that stands out as being a clear candidate with negatives about most of the field. Towards the head of the betting Poet’s Prince was a good runner up last time but has gone up another 5lb in the weights and is already 20lb higher than at the start of this year. Court House has ridiculously gone up 12lb in the handicap for finishing 2nd in a 3 runner race. Admittedly it was a listed affair but it was run at a slow early pace and I can’t justify that weight rise. Ship Of The Fen was a winner first time up this year but the form of that win is horrendous. Two of the horses just in behind have since finished last in their respective races. Tigre De Terre hacked up by 10 lengths in a weak race last time and will find this much harder off its revised mark. I have therefore gone with a big priced outsider who I believe and am confident will start much shorter. Firstly Silvestre De Souza has been booked for the ride and there is no one riding as well as him at the moment. So well in fact that punters are backing his rides blindly no matter the horse. Secondly assuming the ground remains on the soft side then it has the form on the ground. A winner on the a/w it then went and hacked up by 6 lengths on heavy ground over a mile at Musselburgh. Was a little disappointing next time on soft though not sure the race was run to suit. Flopped the last twice which explains the price but they were both on good ground where it was outpaced over a mile. Step up in trip looks a sensible move, handles the ground and is now only 5lb higher than when winning by 6 lengths so if able to return to that form, quite possibly on the easier ground then it can outrun its odds.

0.5pt e/w Book Of Dreams @ 25/1 Betfred 1/4 odds 4 places

3:45 Epsom – Dark Shot

Bought with this in mind having been unlucky in running last year in the Dash, it is just 1lb higher though with a 5lb claimer on board it will have less weight. From a yard that does so well with sprinters, it is the only one of those prominent in the betting that won’t have a problem on easier ground. Its record with ease in the ground is 5221 though the win was the only run over 5f with the rest having been over a furlong further. 5f with easy ground maybe its ideal conditions as it can find things happening a bit fast for it, whilst it comes into the race in good form having finished 2nd in a big field 16 days ago. Will need some luck from both the draw and the race but it seems to have a very good chance.

1pt win Dark Shot @ 8/1 widely available

4:30 Epsom – The Derby

I’m afraid I just can’t see past Saxon Warrior for the race. Bred to stay, it looks a class apart from this field plus it even has form on ground with give in it. The only concern for me would be how it handles the track as it is a big horse who may become unbalanced on the contours. However, it can still win on class alone in this. Might have been tempted to take it on with something e/w but you are basically betting on two places from so many runners that it is literally a lottery. Best bet for me is to sit, watch and enjoy.