The Weekends Racing – By the Sportsman Racing

Two good winners from three on the blog last week with Power at 6-1 and Bated Breath at 10-3. This week it’s the daddy of all the Flat races in the UK with the Derby at Epsom. It’s a slimmed down version this year though, with only nine runners, the smallest Derby field for over a century.

Camelot won the 2000 Guineas without coming out of second gear and has nine times Derby winner Lestor Piggott in his corner. Piggott declared on Monday “It’s all over, Camelot has only got to be steered home”. It’s hard to disagree with Piggott. Camelot was not fully wound up for the 2000 Guineas looking as big as a bull in the preliminaries yet the winning margin of a neck could easily have been four lengths had the horse been ridden more aggressively by Joseph O’Brien. The only negative which could stop him winning at odds of 4-6 looks to be the undulating track. The step up to the 1m4f will bring improvement about in the horse and indeed with his pedigree it was a terrific feat for him to win the 2000 Guineas at all. Watching the re-run of the 2000 Guineas, after the job was done, Joseph O’Brien had a hard task pulling the horse up as he headed off into the sunset.
If you don’t fancy the price on offer, who represents the value each-way alternative? Bonfire sits second in the layers lists at a general 9-2, 4-1 and though he is unexposed and an exciting talent, question marks surround his temperament and the ability to handle what shall be a vociferous crowd. The value therefore may lie with Thought Worthy at odds of 16-1 generally. The John Gosden-trained colt is progressive, will handle the good, good to firm going and looks assured to stay the 1m4f.  A small-each way play would be the suggestion.
In the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup at 2.40 over the Derby trip , St Nicholas Abbey looks sure to go off a short price to win the event for the second year running. A consistent top-level performer in 2011 he followed up his Coronation Cup success with a third in the King George and a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. While a worthy favourite the horse does tend to sweat and get on edge before his races which won’t be aided by the boisterous crowd in attendance. Value seekers can side with the in-form William Haggas’ Beaten Up. Disappointing last time out in Dubai when second to St Nicholas Abbey, Beaten Up looked too fresh and ought to be given another chance. The three-year old made significant strides in 2011 and ended the season with the highest rating of any three-year old in the powerful Haggas yard. Bred to be suited bHaydock Parky further than twelve furlongs, Beaten Up is not short on speed and may be able to turn the screw on the favourite at odds of 9-2 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365.
At Haydock it’s a case of “here’s looking at you kid” with Kevin Ryan’s Bogart in the Listed Sandy Lane Stakes at 3.40. The three-year old landed a couple of valuable races last year and put up his most impressive career performance two weeks ago when fourth in the Duke Of York Group 2 Stakes. Bogart was swimming in some serious waters last time out and dropping back into his own age group he can go close.
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