By News Team
Last Updated: 3rd July 2020
For the first time ever, the Oaks and Derby will be run on the same day making up for a spectacular day at Epsom on Saturday.
Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts on both Classics as well as the other races on the card.
Simcock and Atzeni could be on cloud nine with Mohican Heights
I would never normally be as confident that a 18/1 shot would run well in the Derby (4:55pm) – particularly when Aidan O’Brien fields half a dozen opponents – but I have a strong feeling for MOHICAN HEIGHTS in this year’s edition.
Unbeaten in a brace of juvenile races, he made his stable debut on his second start at Salisbury, dismissing King George V handicap third Subjectivist and Berlin Tango (who ties into most of the Derby form) with contempt.
His comeback run came behind Pyledriver – and in front of Mogul – in the King Edward VII, when he was given a ride that suggested Royal Ascot wasn’t the be-all and end-all. He made ground wide and promisingly from the rear, but his effort flattened as though he would take a big step forward for the run.
Certainly, stamina is not an issue, either on his classy staying pedigree or his efforts last year. His stable is now starting to roll, and with Andrea Atzeni (big percentage rider at the track) seemingly preferring him to Highland Chief (on whom he was offered the mount), I’ll take my chances at big odds.
Kameko (4/1) would nearly have been a bet on genuinely quick ground, but I worry that the rain will simply make this too for a horse of his pace. In many ways, I hope I am wrong, because he’s a gorgeous horse and a brilliant talent. As for English King, he clearly has a bright future, but he’s pretty short on what he’s done so far.
Of the O’Brien group, Mogul is too short at 9/2 and Vatican City is an uncertain stayer. Russian Emperor (13/2) makes most appeal – he has the strongest form and time credentials, but he’ll need to travel more sweetly around Epsom than he did at Ascot.
Frankly looks a Darling of an Oaks bet
I am giving Frankly Darling the nod at 15/8 in the Oaks (3:40pm). She might want to switch off a little better than at Ascot, but the same owner/trainer have Tiempo Vuela in the race, who might ensure that the pace is honest and even. I cannot envisage Frankie Dettori sitting too far off the speed here, and I suspect that she’ll get first run on Love, for whom the ground may be a disadvantage.
For each-way money – if the eight stand their ground – I’d be interested in Queen Daenerys outrunning her odds at 22/1.
Balding newcomer chanced in the Woodcote
In the opening Woodcote Stakes (1:50pm), I’m taking a chance that the nicely bred CALCUTTA CUP might be above average at 17/2. It would take a smart effort for a newcomer to win this, but he’s well-bred and in the hands of trainer who does well at this track and has plenty of two-year-olds for guidance. He gets five pounds from four winners who don’t set an insurmountable standard. Mutazawwed would be my pick of those that have run.
Voyage can enjoy Safe passage in Surrey Stakes
SAFE VOYAGE looks to have been found a very good opportunity in the Surrey Stakes (2:25pm). He is the clear form pick, ran a blinder on his comeback behind a subsequent Group 2 winner, and should win if he handles the track on ground he relishes at 5/4.
Palmer’s Ironclad the pick in competitive handicap
I’ll take a chance that IRONCLAD is a bit better than his mark in what is usually a pretty spicy handicap (3:00pm). His siblings were very smart, but a little quirky, and the gelding operation might do the trick. He was generally progressive last year anyway, and he won’t mind a little rain at 15/2.
Onassis can go back-to-back
Finally – and this is not just sentiment – I genuinely think our friend ONASSIS might sprig yet another surprise in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes (4:15pm), even though ratings suggest she can’t. Although I made the case at Ascot, I honestly did not expect her to bolt up in that style. This is a pretty threadbare division this year, and plenty of these have a lot to prove. There is no knowing the ceiling of her improvement and she’s bred to be very smart indeed. She’s available at 12/1.