A star-studded weekend of racing on ITV gets underway with a super Saturday from Epsom which includes both the Derby and the Oaks.
The third and fourth classics of the season may be behind closed doors, but that won’t matter to the leading colts and fillies on a day where Aidan O’Brien could become the most successful trainer in the history of the Derby.
We’re all set for a huge day of top-notch equine entertainment on the Surrey slopes, and we’ve marked your card ahead of the action with our ITV Racing Tips.
RACE OF THE DAY – THE DERBY – EPSOM, 16:55
Beware the O’Brien second-string, that’s what we always say when it comes to these big races. Anthony Van Dyck won the race at 13/2 in 2019, while Wings of Eagles produced a 40/1 boil over for the Ballydoyle trainer in 2017.
There are plenty of question marks over the form of Mogul after his disappointing reappearance effort in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, so it could be down to Russian Emperor to pick up the pieces this time around.
Seamie Heffernan’s ride has progressed with each racecourse start, first going close in the Derrinstown Derby Trial before staying on strongly to defeat the likes of Berlin Tango and First Receiver in the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot.
His performance that day coupled with his pedigree suggests he’ll relish the 1½m trip on offer in the Derby, and with a decent enough draw in stall six, he should be bang there at the finish.
The main danger looks to be 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, who boasts the standout form in the race, while Lingfield Trial winner English King has the tools to challenge but needs to overcome a nightmare draw in stall one.
NEXT BEST – THE OAKS – EPSOM, 15:40
John Gosden is starting to develop a taste for the Oaks. The veteran trainer has won the race in three of the last six years and took the contest last time with Anapurna, who got up ahead of O’Brien pair Fleeting and Pink Dogwood.
He’ll be hoping history repeats itself this weekend with Frankly Darling bidding to edge out 1000 Guineas winner Love and the well-supported Ennistymon, both of whom are from the Ballydoyle yard.
The latter finished behind Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, with the winner being eased down by Frankie Dettori towards the line. That may suggest she has more to give on Epsom’s long run to the winning post.
Love remains the one to beat for a trainer who has won this contest on seven separate occasions, but Frankel filly Frankly Darling has a devastating turn of foot and will look to put the race to bed approaching the final furlong.
ONE TO WATCH – PRINCESS ELIZABETH STAKES – EPSOM, 16:15
Rumour has it Coldplay have been booked to play ahead of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. That’s because it could be all yellow at the line with the luminous silks of Fooraat and Cloak Of Spirits clear at the top of the market.
The former remains unbeaten for Roger Varian after romping the field to win by 7l at Chelmsford a month ago, while the latter steps down in grade after finishing runner-up in the 1000 Guineas and fifth in the Coronation Stakes.
On the basis of proven top level form, it’s Cloak Of Spirits who could come out on top for a trainer in Richard Hannon who knows what it takes to win this race after saddling Anna Nerium to success 12 months ago.
SATURDAY 4th JULY, ITV RACING SCHEDULE
13:50 Epsom – Woodcote Stakes
14:25 Epsom – Surrey Stakes (Listed)
15:00 Epsom – Investec Handicap
15:40 Epsom – The Oaks (Group 1)
16:15 Epsom – Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Group 3)
16:55 Epsom – The Derby (Group 1)
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication