The Epsom card tomorrow boasts 3 Group 1s, including the Oaks.
I will start though with the 1.40, which is a Group 3 and over 1 mile with the going expected to be soft. Echelon won the race last year and has run consistently well in this sort of company. Her preference seems to be for faster ground and that would be the main worry. Nannina is the form horse. She won the Coronation Stakes last season and was only beaten 2 lengths by Ouija Board in the Nassau Stakes. Like Echelon though Nannina has shown her best form on decent ground.
The going may well prove an important factor in this race with the best 2 horses possibly not suited by the ground.
The 2.10 is a very competitive looking handicap. Plum Pudding was a nice winner for our list to follow the other week at Newmarket. That was on good to firm though and he has gone up 5 lbs in the weights as a result.
Rio Riva put in an excellent effort when 2nd in the Lincoln from a bad draw. He was then short of room when 5th at Ripon. The soft ground won’t be a problem. Ordnance Row did us a favour last season when winning at 20/1 in a Chester Handicap. He has shaped well on his last couple of starts and should handle the ground. Unshakeable last won in 2005 in a valuable handicap at Goodwood but showed he is in good nick when 2nd last time out on the all weather.
Hold up merchant Uhoomagoo won this race in 2004 and was a winner at Royal Ascot last season but is unlikely to relish the soft ground. Ordnance Row would be my selection.
There are two runners from our list to follow in the 2.45. Forrager was a winner at Haydock in April but subsequently unplaced when upped in trip. He is back to 10 furlongs tomorrow and should have the soft ground that is important to him. Stotsfold just failed to carry top weight to victory at Chester on his last run. He was 2nd to Temple Place on that occasion with Blythe Knight in 3rd. Blythe Knight has since come out and won a listed race at York, franking the form in style. Sotsfold has a very good record at Chester and should handle the Epsom track. The only problem may be the ground as he ran poorly on the only other occasion he met soft going.
Both Forrager and Stotsfold should run well.
St Leger winner Sixties Icon was impressive when winning the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on his return to action. He has won on soft ground and is my selection for the 3.25.
The Oaks looks very tricky to solve. Both Measured Tempo and Dance of Light have only run twice and may well be open to improvement. In addition both should handle the ground so cannot be ruled out.
Passage of Time won the Musidora at York and that has been a reliable trial down the years. I will go with her as my selection.
There are two runners from our list to follow in the listed race at 4.50. Mofarij is a half brother to Iffraaj and won in Dubai at the beginning of March. He folded tamely though on his subsequent start at Windsor which is a concern. I had high hopes for Escape Route at the start of the season but he has finished 3rd in both his races thus far. He was very unlucky behind El Bosque at Lingfield on his last run though where he met considerable trouble in running and he is worth another chance.
Captain Jacksparra has been a frustrating horse to follow as he has finished runner up on his last 3 starts. He is nothing if not consistent though and should again be in the frame in the 5.25.
Turning to Goodwood I think that Ivy Creek may be coming back to form judged on his last run at Chester. He looks to have a decent chance in the 7.20.
At Bath old Smokin’ Beau makes his 106th racecourse appearance in the 8.30.