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Tote Placepot: Epsom Tips for Saturday, 1st June

All eyes are on Epsom on Saturday, with the 245th renewal of the Derby taking place on the downs. With the famous track as the focus, we look at the first six races to try and land the Tote Placepot.

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Leg 1: 1.25pm

Leg 1 Selections: (5) Whiskey Pete, (9) Cool Legend

The two worth a gamble in the opener both ran at York 16 days ago, and though neither performed as was hoped, there is a fair chance at least one of them steps forward significantly in this race.

Firstly, there is COOL LEGEND who improved throughout late 2023 to eventually strike on his third start at Kempton over 1m3f. The third and fourth have both won since, and he may have needed that York run to blow some cobwebs away. A mark of 81 will surely be defiable at some stage and William Haggas’ decision to drop him in trip may prove a sensible one.

The second choice is WHISKEY PETE, who was pulled up in that same race when emptying very quickly. His jockey reported he lost his action, which, if anything, makes it all the more convincing that he is fit turning up again so quickly. He was well supported into favouritism for that York race, after also improving from race to race at two, and a revival could well occur.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Lester Piggott Handicap

Leg 2: 2.00pm

Leg 2 Selections: (1) Astral Beau

Blaming the bounce factor can often be risky, but it is very possible that affliction blighted ASTRAL BEAU when she was disappointing at Newmarket on her second start since returning for the season. She had previously run well up to scratch when chasing hom recent Lockinge runner-up Charyn at Doncaster, and though she usually requires softer ground to be seen at her best, she was a close third in this a year ago on good-to-firm. 

Whatever the weather decides to do, she looks capable of being in the thick of things and double figure prices could offer a useful boost to the Placepot.

Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By My Pension Expert) (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

Leg 3: 2.35pm

Leg 3 Selections: (4) Regal Reality

Last year’s winner is far from a guarantee to repeat the feat, but this Group 3 is full of horses in uncertain parts of their careers, either being out of form or struggling to find their best trip. REGAL REALITY has often been in the latter category during his time on the track, but the nine-year-old wore down Highland Avenue in this a year ago and has admirably maintained his form since then. 

He has only narrowly failed to place on his first two starts this term, the second time when totally missing the break in a much stronger race at Chester, and we know this course and distance suits.

Betfred Diomed Stakes (Group 3)

Leg 4: 3.10pm

Leg 4 Selections: (4) Sturlasson, (16) Grandlad

Due For Luck certainly deserves some after his Chester third, but he was sluggish enough out the stalls that day, which would be a negative given the rapid nature of Epsom’s 5f. While too many front runners can sometimes spoil the broth, it pays to have early pace and both STURLASSON and GRANDLAD look to have just that.

The former belied a poor run of form to steam home at Navan last time and conditions could be absolutely ideal for him to repeat the trick. He never saw another rival, nor did Grandlad until close to the line at Goodwood when narrowly holding on. He is up 3lb for that victory, but Epsom has stylistic similarities to Goodwood over this particular distance and he is open to more improvement after just four starts.

Betfred 3YO “Dash” Handicap

Leg 5: 3.45pm

Leg 5 Selections: (3) Silky Wilkie, (13) Lethal Nymph

A frustratingly small field for the Dash, with only 15 taking part to ensure the Placepot is down to top three. There was drama in this a year ago too, with some stalls opening marginally later than others, costing a fair few their chance.

Perhaps that is why the field is smaller, but the field size means it is worth hedging and playing a couple for Placepot purposes. SILKY WILKIE could almost be worth backing on his own, as this may well have been plotted for him. He was second last year, beating third-placed Clarendon House who opposes, but is remarkably 8lb lower in the weights with very few poor runs since, albeit no victories. All told he is 19lb better off with Clarendon House, and first time cheekpieces should ensure he fully sees this out.

The other who promises to be well suited to this is LETHAL NYMPH, whose trainer Paul Midgley won this in 2015 and 2018. His charge had endured a slow start to 2024, but bumped into only a handicap blot at York last weekend, and the lightning nature of this race should see few finish ahead of him once again.

Aston Martin “Dash” Handicap (Heritage Handicap)

Leg 6: 4.30pm

Leg 6 Selections: (11) Los Angeles, (14) Sayedaty Sadaty

City Of Troy is banker or bust material in this, as it is likely he either blows the field away, or tails home long behind the wake of the winner. As a result, he is not Placepot material even if you sway more towards the former opinion.

In my preview of the race, I tipped LOS ANGELES, but he is also Placepot worthy as he looks adaptable to any ground and is extremely likely to improve for this step up in distance. He is bred for the job and looked ultra professional so far, so a berth in the places looks a likely destiny for him.

If you want to add one at a big price, there are reasons to believe SAYEDATY SADATY could sneak in. His trainer’s outsiders regularly outperform their odds in this race, with 50/1 shot Khalifa Sat (2020) and 150/1 chance Hoo Ya Mal (2022) both finding only one too good in their respective Derby appearances. Tom Marquand’s mount this year needs to find similar improvement, but he is bred to be all about stamina, should have no issues with any ground, and is taking part in what could be an ordinary year for the contest.

Betfred Derby (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (No Geldings)

Placepot Selections For Epsom On Saturday 1st June

Time
Race
Our tip
Place bet
Cool Legend Cool Legend
Result
6th 11/1
Whiskey Pete Whiskey Pete
Result
7th 16/1
Regal Reality Regal Reality
Result
7th 9/2
Sturlasson Sturlasson
Result
2nd 9/1
Grandlad Grandlad
Result
8th 6/1
Silky Wilkie Silky Wilkie
Result
7th 4/1
Lethal Nymph Lethal Nymph
Result
8th 14/1
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