The first day of the Derby meeting at Epsom looks a cracker with the Oaks taking centre stage. Nick Luck thinks  history might be made…


LEGEND OF XANADU looks the call in the opening Woodcote Stakes on Oaks Day at Epsom (2.00pm). This colt is bred to run a fair bit further, but Mick Channon has won this with progeny of Sixties Icon in the past and – in this big field with cut in the ground – you’re going to need to get home well. As such, I was quite taken with the way Legend Of Xanadu appeared to step forward for the extra furlong and the addition of William Buick at Redcar last time, and he makes quite a bit of appeal at 9/2.

OH THIS IS US might just roll back the years in the World Pool handicap (2.35pm) at 9/1. He has often reserved his best for this track, and won the Diomed last year on easy ground, having once finished second in it to the mighty Zaaki. He has been holding his form fine in completive handicap and now rolls into one with conditions to suit. His apparently bad draw could yet become a good one if the racing starts to unfold down the stands side.

HUKUM, at 9/2, gets the nod in the Coronation Cup (3.10pm). This is a really classy horse granted a good race at this trip, and I’d be fairly sure that neither Manobo nor Living Legend will give High Definition a whole lot of peace up front. That leaves defending champ Pyledriver and the selection with the likelihood of the best trips here, and my read of the Dubai form (where the former eyecatchingly ran out of room, but the latter had to run against the pace bias) makes them very closely matched. At twice the price, Hukum is preferred.

GOOD BIRTHDAY is an each-way play at 10/1 in the 10-furlong handicap (3.45pm). He doesn’t really win the races that his ability suggests he should, but he again travelled like a dream at Newmarket last time, and I always think Epsom (where this horse has never run before) suits the type of horse who does plenty on the bridle. He’s six pounds better off with Bad Company and he loves a bit of dig in the ground.

NASHWA can give Hollie Doyle victory in the Oaks (4.30pm) at 4/1. For all I’ve tried pretty hard, I can’t see far beyond the Gosden pair (Kawida to run well at odds if you really want a wild one), but I don’t think the disparity in prices represents the difference in what they’ve achieved. I take a strong view of the Newbury form (good time, too), with three useful and good looking fillies pulling a mile clear off a good gallop. Doyle seemed to want to test Nashwa thoroughly that day and she didn’t come up short. The pedigree isn’t laden with stamina, but there are 10 and 11 furlong runners in there and Frankel usually makes sure. Cut in the ground won’t be an issue either, while it might be for Emily Upjohn.