It’s the biggest day of the Flat season as the Derby at Epsom takes centre stage.

Here are Nick Luck’s fancies for Saturday’s action.


NOLTON CROSS is taken to win the Derby Day opener (2.00pm) at 8/1. A fine (promoted) second to today’s rival War Horse at Sandown on his turf debut last time, he might well have won but for that interference and is better off here. Slightly more give in the ground should suit and he’s nicely drawn for a rider who takes this track by the scruff of the neck.

MRS FITZHERBERT looks the wrong price at 5/1 in the Princess Elizabeth (2.35pm). She beat Bashkirova pretty decisively at Goodwood and, what is more, might have won more comfortably if she had a better trip. This isn’t a race with huge depth and this constant filly can keep progressing.

MUTASAABEQ is fancied at 5/2 to win the Diomed (3.10pm) for my fellow William Hill ambassador Charlie Hills. He’s a strong traveller who could be very well suited to this course and has the plum draw to save ground behind the speed. That speed is likeliest to come from Modern News, but Megallan will keep him honest and could set things up nicely for the selection.

MID WINSTER is a big price at 20/1 in the Dash (3.45pm), but she can post a career best and get at least a slice of the action. Paul Midgley has simply never had his horses in better form and this mare is in her absolute prime judged on the way she has taken her form to a new level this season. She has serious early pace, and she can stretch that a long way down here if the rain doesn’t come in torrents.

NATIONS PRIDE is my Derby fancy (4.30pm) at 7/1. He may have emerged rather quietly at Moulton Paddocks, as he required a supplementary entry to the race, but he has looked completely dominant in all his victories and has now accrued plenty of experience. I loved how well balanced he was into the dip on the Rowley Mile, smashing up a fairly useful rival in Hoo Ya Mal, after which William Buick described him as “proper”. His granddam Satwa Queen was an absolute top notcher over middle distances, while Teofilo seems to impart loads of stamina.

Changingoftheguard can fare best of the Ballydoyle trio while Desert Crown is bound to run well, though I am a little concerned about his inexperience and slight lightness of pedigree.

In addition to Nations Pride, I’ll be having a little each-way stab on MASAKELA at 66/1 – he had some tip top juvenile form (notably when just touched off in the Superlative by Native Trail) and there are some seriously stout stayers in his pedigree. Of the ones at really long prices, he makes by far the most appeal.