A quality contest over the extended mile restricted to fillies and mares only aged three years old and upwards
On this auspicious racing day, the £90,000 first prize for this Group 3 event has attracted a good field, including contenders with proven ability at this level while others are stepping up to this grade and could be potential improvers. Ability to handle this unique track with its camber in the home straight will prove essential.
Favourite Lincoln Rocks
In a tight betting heat it is possible that northern raider Lincoln Rocks, trained by David O’Meara and ridden by Daniel Tudhope, may just start favourite.
The three-year-old Anna Nerium is the highest rated in the field and has solid claims, along with older fillies Wilhamina and Shenaningans (trained by Roger Varian, pictured) . The remaining four runners all have decent form and can by no means be ruled out of the equation.
Quality-wise, the Investec Derby is out in a league of its own, of course – see our in-depth analysis – but from a betting point of view this fine supporting race is wide open and there could be some good value to be found.
The remarkable thing about this race is that none of the runners have ever run at Epsom, and as the Surrey track is so unique it means that there is a large piece of the jigsaw missing. How will they handler the hubbub of the massive crowd? How will they handle Tattenham Corner? And how will they cope with the dramatic camber down the home straight? All will be revealed by 14:40 on Saturday afternoon.
Anna Nerium is the highest rated runner in the line-up, Richard Hannon’s filly having sprung a 25/1 surprise when landing the listed European Free Handicap at Newmarket in April (see below) before going on to run with credit when seventh in the Qipco 1000 Guineas back at HQ last month. That is very good form and she deserves a lot of respect having won in the past on good to soft ground.
Anna Nerium strides well clear in the Listed bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) April 18, 2018
The other three-year-old is Dance Diva, third in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury last month before appearing to find fast ground against here when runner-up at York last time out. Richard Fahey’s filly is useful and her chance is not dismissed lightly especially as she is likely to go well in the soft ground.
Marty Meade’s Wilhamina will cope well with conditions and she will stay, having proven herself at up to 10 furlongs. Her second place behind the smart Wuheida on fast ground in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket four weeks ago is arguably the best piece of form on offer so she merits close attention with Frankie Dettori on board.
The marginal choice though is SHENANIGANS, who finished a neck in front of Lincoln Rocks at Goodwood last time having been slightly hampered at a vital stage of the race won by Nyaleti.
ICYMI: Nyaleti produced a top performance on Saturday to land the Conqueror Stakes. Where next for the three-year old? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/H7FwJ3pR9T
— Goodwood Racecourse (@Goodwood_Races) May 7, 2018
Ryan Moore has been booked for Roger Varian’s charge who has progressed through handicap company and can now make the transition to pattern race winner. Front-running Lincoln Rocks is a big danger having lost out by just half a length in the Group 3 Chartwell Stakes over seven furlongs at Lingfield three weeks ago.
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Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.