Many of the usual suspects take their chance again in a thrilling renewal of the Dash, not least Caspian Prince who is trying to win this event for a staggering fourth time.
The 10-year-old isn't the only one trying to recapture past glories as DUKE OF FIRENZE (Epsom, 3.45) makes an incredible sixth appearance in the race just a week after edging out Dark Shot in a titanic tussle at York. Trainer David Griffiths has proved a master trainer of a veteran sprinter and he has worked miracles to return the 2013 winner to form with two successes inside a fortnight.
He looks to well drawn to give a good account again and the time of his York win was as good as anything he has recorded in recent seasons.
DARK SHOT has been second and fifth in the last two runnings and is also in great heart, so is worth a saver given his affinity for this unique venue.
Duke Of Firenze 1pt ew @ 9-1
Dark Shot 1/2pt ew @ 12-1
One of Aidan O'Brien’s great strengths is identifying and nurturing talent from an early stage, but SIR DRAGONET (Epsom, 4.30) has surprised plenty of the Ballydoyle work watchers judged by the unorthodox way he has found his way tackling an Investec Derby.
Some close to the the son of Camelot thought he was so under the radar they were touting him as a future Triumph Hurdle project further down the line. Those theories were blown out of the water at Tipperary when Sir Dragonet burst onto the scene with an emphatic victory, but it was at Chester where he truly held court, slamming six rivals in the Vase with a show-stopping performance.
Some felt the selection was grossly flattered that day by his ability to operate on soft ground and that may be the case, but his effort on the clock suggested he is no clown but a genuine Derby contender.
Sir Dragonet 2pt win @ 11-4
ARTISTIC RIFLES (Doncaster, 4.50) was a winner in a solid time over Sunday’s trip on the round course here last time in a better race. He is progressing nicely but can still sneak into a Class 4 handicap and can rate higher as the season progresses.
Artistic Rifles 2pt win @ 9-4
However, prior to that the three-year-old colt had posted promising runs at Salisbury and Goodwood where he was narrowly beaten. He looked a shade unfortunate to be denied on the nod by the re-opposing Mayfair Spirit at the former track and couldn’t quite reel in the winner on the Sussex Downs after the race ended in a sprint finish.
Cheekpieces join the tongue tie on Sunday and this race does not look the strongest.
Htilominlo 1pt ew
DAGUENEAU (Nottingham, 5.40) hasn’t had a great start to the season but ran well for most of the two-mile distance here 12 days ago. He was forced to race wide and that looked to catch him out late on.
It was certainly a big improvement on his previous tame effort and he now drops back to his course and distance-winning trip from a year ago.
The selection looks to be coming to hand.
Dagueneau 1pt win
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