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Who will shine at Epsom this weekend? *H&H Plus*


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  • With the Derby and Oaks taking place behind closed doors at the Surrey racecourse, it’s set to be a very different meeting this year, but the horses will remain the stars of the show. Carl Evans takes a look

    The Investec Derby

    English King – bay colt by Camelot out of Platonic (Zafonic)
    Form: 71-1
    Foaled: 11 April 2017
    Breeder: Ecurie Des Monceaux Et Al
    Owner: Bjorn Nielsen
    Trainer: Ed Walker
    Jockey: Frankie Dettori

    Businessman and racehorse owner/breeder Bjorn Nielsen has enjoyed a run of success with brilliant Stradivarius, who recently won a third Ascot Gold Cup. Nielsen jokes he has been trying to breed a Derby winner for years and instead created one of racing’s great stayers. However, English King – a horse bred in France and bought by Nielsen as a yearling for €210,000 – could provide him with Epsom glory. A winner at Newcastle last year (the second and third placed won next time out), he then showed acceleration and power when winning last month’s Lingfield Derby trial. Frankie Dettori has since been booked for the ride and English King is by a stallion who won the Derby.

    Kameko – bay colt by Kitten’s Joy out of Sweeter Still (Rock Of Gibraltar)
    Form: 1221-1
    Foaled: 7 April 2017
    Breeder: Calumet Farm
    Owner: Qatar Racing Ltd
    Trainer: Andrew Balding
    Jockey: Oisin Murphy

    In September 2016, Qatar Racing boss Sheikh Fahad Al Thani accepted the advice of racing manager David Redvers and bought a yearling colt by US stallion Kitten’s Joy. The colt became champion Roaring Lion (third in the Derby), so they went back to the same sale in 2018 and bought this son of Kitten’s Joy for $90,000. He, too, is a huge talent, winning last year’s Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy before landing the Group One 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last month. After producing four failed foals, his dam was sold at the age of 13 in November 2018 for $1,500. After Kameko, you could add three noughts to her value, although Qatar Racing nipped in and bought her privately when realising her son could be special.

    Mohican Heights – chestnut colt by Australia out of Mohican Princess (Shirley Heights)
    Form: 11-3
    Foaled: 11 April 2017
    Breeder: Kevin Molloy
    Owner: Sun Bloodstock Sarl
    Trainer: David Simcock
    Jockey: Andrea Atzeni

    Here is a colt who, although a Derby outsider, has shown enough to suggest he can get involved in the finish. Having won his debut race as a two-year-old, he changed hands at a sale in London for £520,000 and then scored again for his current trainer. On his 2020 reappearance, he made eye-catching late progress to finish third to another Derby hopeful, Pyledriver, at Royal Ascot. His sire won a Derby, as did his dam’s sire.

    Pyledriver – bay colt by Harbour Watch out of La Pyle (Le Havre)
    Form: 1417-21
    Foaled: 14 March 2017
    Owner/breeder: Knox & Wells Ltd & R Devlin
    Trainer: William Muir
    Jockey: Martin Dwyer

    This horse won his debut race last year at odds of 50/1 and more recently landed Royal Ascot’s Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at 18/1, so why do punters regularly ignore him? He failed to attract a bid when offered for sale as a foal, he is by a sire whose brief career ended prematurely due to arthritic issues, his dam failed to win over hurdles and his capable trainer is not a household name. But his dam, La Pyle, is a half-sister to a Group One winner over the Derby trip and her son’s Royal Ascot win was emphatic.

    The Investec Oaks

    Love – chestnut filly by Galileo out of Pikaboo (Pivotal)
    Form: 4211513-1
    Foaled: 13 April 2017
    Breeder: Coolmore
    Owner: Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Sue Magnier
    Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
    Jockey: Ryan Moore

    The amazing trainer Aidan O’Brien and the no-less amazing group of owners, who patronise his Co. Tipperary stable, are responsible for this filly – the very impressive winner of last month’s Group One 1000 Guineas. Reproduce that performance and she is set to become O’Brien’s eighth Oaks winner. She has won on varying ground, and while yet to race beyond a mile looks sure to stay the Oaks trip. Her two full sisters had no problem with it, but daughters of Galileo have a heck of a start in life.

    Frankly Darling – bay filly by Frankel out of Hidden Hope (Daylami)
    Form: 2-11
    Foaled: 19 April 2017
    Breeder: Hascombe and Valiant Stud Ltd
    Owner: Anthony Oppenheimer
    Trainer: John Gosden
    Jockey: Frankie Dettori

    Raced keenly but that did not stop her being a most impressive winner of Royal Ascot’s Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes. Will need to be a little more conservative if she is to win an Oaks, but she has shown she has stamina and a turn of foot. Jockey and trainer combination is deadly, and Dettori won the Derby on Golden Horn for this owner/breeder.

    Ennistymon – bay filly by Galileo out of Lahinch (Danehill Dancer)
    Form: 7-12
    Foaled: 4 January 2017
    Owner/breeder: Evie Stockwell
    Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

    This filly’s owner has bred the winner of the Oaks six times and the Derby eight times by virtue of giving birth to her son, John Magnier – the genius behind Coolmore Stud and Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables. Evie Stockwell, who is in her mid-90s, now has a good chance of breeding an equine winner of the Oaks. Ennistymon, a daughter of the great sire Galileo, finished strongly when second to the John Gosden-trained Frankly Darling at Royal Ascot, and while she needs another gear to gain revenge she certainly merits respect.

    Peaceful – bay filly by Galileo out of Missvinski (Stravinsky)
    Form: 912-1
    Foaled: 22 January 2017
    Breeder: Coolmore
    Owner: Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Sue Magnier
    Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

    Aidan O’Brien is convinced this filly will stay further than a mile, the distance over which she proved a comfortable winner of last month’s Group One Irish 1000 Guineas. She has a brother who stayed two miles and while her dam showed speed, she also stayed a mile. The influence of Galileo is likely to have injected talent and stamina into this filly and she’s not short of experience.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 2 July 2020