BY: Paul Harrison
The main supporting act on Epsom’s Derby Day card is the Coronation Cup (Epsom 3.10). Run over the same course and distance as The Derby this event for older horses was been won by some pretty smart performers over the years. Mill Reef, Singspiel and Yeats all feature on the list of previous winners.The trainers represented in this year’s renewal will no doubt be relieved to see the absence of any Aiden O’Brien runner in the field. The Ballydoyle maestro has won no fewer than seven of the previous ten editions of this race.
All eyes will be on potential superstar filly Dolniya from Alain De Royer-Dupre operation. Having shown tremendous promise during her three year old campaign, culminating in a fine fifth in The Arc, she appears to have improved markedly over the winter. Group 1 success had proved elusive last term but she made no mistake on her first attempt at the top level as a four year old.Her dominant, two and a half-length success in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan,marked a clear career best. Available at 1.83 Dolniya probably is the most likely winner but holds little appeal from a punting perspective, particularly as this track isn’t certain to play to her strengths.
Overall this doesn’t look the strongest of fields for a Group 1 contest. Pethers Moon ran a race full of promise on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury but then ran abysmally last time out at Ascot. Roger Varian’s Ayrad is clearly held in some regard having taken in a French Derby and Champion Stakes in his career to date. He comes here in good form having held on well in a Listed race at Goodwood last time out. That appears to be his level though as he has finished nearer last than first in his three previous attempts in Group races. Flintshire and Sheikhzayedroad , finished behind Dolniya last time out and it is difficult to see them reversing the form.
All of which just leaves John Gosden’sRomsdal. This chestnut colt by Hallingboasts some seriously smart three year old form,making the frame in two classics last term. He followed up a third placed finish here in the Derby, with a close second to subsequent Arc fourth Kingston Hill in the St Leger. Two lengths in front of Kingston Hill at Longchamp was the aforementionedFlintshire. On a strict line of form through Kingston Hill there shouldn’t be much at all between Flintshire and Romsdal . There is however an enormous difference in the price of the two horses, Flintshire is trading at around the 2.75 mark whilst Romsdal is available at a massive 26.0. That is simply too big a difference and the clear value play here is to back Romsdal each way. The final seal of approval comes from the fact that William Buick may be allowed to dictate the pace. The other five runners are all tracking/hold up types with the possible exception of Pether’s Moon. If Buick can get the fractions right, Romsdal could prove tough to pass having already illustrated a liking for the track and proven he stays this far and further.