EXPERT RACING TIPS: EPSOM DERBY DAY

You’ll find expert racing tips for the Epsom Oaks right here on the Betfair Hub. Selections, form comment and betting tips on Epsom Oaks racing are brought to you by Betfair’s European form analyst Rory Flanagan.

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EPSOM DERBY TIPS | SATURDAY 4 JUNE 2022

Rail: Cutaway with fresh strip of watered ground
Track Conditions: Good 4

The Epsom Derby is the toughest test in the world of racing. 2419m of grueling English countryside,
uphill, downhill, undulating, sharp corner, long straight to the finish. There’s nothing else like it and
regardless of your investiture, it’s a spectacle well worth watching.

Many champion racehorses have been successful at Epsom, and plenty of pretenders have been found
out. Even the connections of Frankel didn’t think he could handle Epsom, and thus took the seemingly
weaker option at Ascot instead.

The rail is being moved to reveal a fresh strip of ground so don’t be surprised to see several runners
attempt to hug the fence in the early races. It’s been watered in an attempt to counter any bias, so it’ll
be intriguing to see how it plays ahead of the Derby. The forecast rain isn’t scheduled to arrive until at
least after the big race but English forecasts are reliably unreliable.

BEST BACK OF THE DAY – Race 3 | #4 MODERN NEWS for 4 units

Since the much-needed gelding op, MODERN NEWS has now won 5 of his last 7 races with wet ground a
reasonable excuse for the defeats. His turn of foot is excellent and the ability to put a race to bed quickly
means this could be over a long way from home.

BEST LAY OF THE DAY – Race 5 | #2 DESERT CROWN for 5 units liability

I may well end up with egg on my face but I cannot find a shred of enthusiasm for Desert Crown. As far as I’m concerned he beat trees in his first two starts on flat tracks, now tackles Epsom with gate 12 to
contend with. He beat Bluegrass by the same margin that Piz Badile did, and that horse is triple the price.
No doubt he’ll travel powerfully and loom strongly, but this price is total garbage. He’s much better
backed in the run when his price balloons.


Race 1 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

14. SWILCAN BRIDGE
7. WAR HORSE
12. NOLTON CROSS
4. BLUE TRAIL

SWILCAN BRIDGE has some patchy form on synthetic but I firmly believe he’s best suited on firm turf and
gets that here. There is a non-existent weight to carry, just a bad gate to offset. The Balding stable is
struggling this year but i attribute that to Oisin Murphy’s suspension.

NOLTON CROSS has a similar profile to Swilcan Bridge and I envisage a positive ride is on the cards here
from the good gate and jockey booking. He was only just pipped by WAR HORSE last time who now drops in weight for this and looks astutely placed. Atzeni has a job to do from barrier 10, but there should be cover if trapped wide.

BLUE TRAIL is questionable on turf form.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – NOLTON CROSS for 1.5 units

BACK (WIN) – WAR HORSE for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) – SWILCAN BRIDGE for 1 unit


Race 2 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

7. TECHNIQUE
3. MRS FITZHERBERT
1. BASHKIROVA
4. POTAPOVA

TECHNIQUE’s form on rattling ground is much more consistent than her form on softer ground, and this
could allow her to take this as the joint highest-rated in this field alongside MRS FITZHERBERT who is now
3/3 under George Rooke.

Both of these are taken to topple the Cheveley Park pair of BASHKIROVA and POTAPOVA.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – MRS FITZHERBERT for 2.5 units

BACK (WIN) – TECHNIQUE for 1.5 units


Race 3 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

4. MODERN NEWS
6. ZAKOUSKI
5. MUTASAABEQ
3. MEGALLAN

Since the much-needed gelding op, MODERN NEWS has now won 5 of his last 7 races with wet ground a
reasonable excuse for the defeats. His turn of foot is excellent and the ability to put a race to bed quickly
means this could be over a long way from home.

He tackles MUTASAABEQ who was always questioned about whether he gets the mile or not, so 1700m is an even further doubt. In his favour is gate 1, so he’s assured of an economical trip throughout. 

ZAKOUSKI partners with James Doyle for the first time in a long time who is 2/2 on the horse. He’s been a
long way below his best the last three runs but on his best form he could win this with a leg in the air. I
am staggered by the price, so the market will be intriguing. His first-up form is 1514213, and comes here
off a 90-day break.

MEGALLAN will likely be given an enterprising ride by Dettori, but his 12L defeat at $1.70 with no excuses last time is alarming.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – MODERN NEWS for 4 units

BACK (WIN) – ZAKOUSKI for 4 units (without favourite)


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Race 4 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

7. FINE WINE
10. LIVE IN THE DREAM
13. DUSKY LORD
14. MID WINSTER

The Epsom Dash. The fastest race on the planet. They’ll go faster than an economic stimulus cheque as
they all charge down the hill over the minimum trip.

FINE WINE made all last start at York when flying out of the gates and never looking like coming back to
them. He’ll attempt to repeat the dose but is sharply up in the weights which means he’s much more
likely to fade this time around.

I’m most enthusiastic about two promising sprinters in LIVE IN THE DREAM and DUSKY LORD who only have 8 & 6 starts respectively. They’re both on winnable weights and drawn close to either flank should the field split in two. I’m leaning to the middle being the faster part, or one large pack drifting over the lower-drawn side behind Justanotherbottle’s early toe.

I’ve always felt MID WINSTER would thrive at this track as she has no love for uphill finishes, so she’s my roughie to blouse them late if getting gaps.

MOKAATIL has been set for this and gets the valuable Harry Davies claim to offset last start’s win. He won this last year.

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – LIVE IN THE DREAM for 1.25 units

BACK (WIN) – MOKAATIL for 1 unit

BACK (WIN) – DUSKY LORD for 0.75 unit

BACK (WIN) – MID WINSTER for 0.5 units


Race 5 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

14. STONE AGE
9. NATIONS PRIDE
8. NAHANNI
2. DESERT CROWN

I may well end up with egg on my face but I cannot find a shred of enthusiasm for Desert Crown. As far as I’m concerned he beat trees in his first two starts on flat tracks, now tackles Epsom with gate 12 to
contend with. He beat Bluegrass by the same margin that Piz Badile did, and that horse is triple the price.
No doubt he’ll travel powerfully and loom strongly, but this price is total garbage. He’s much better
backed in the run when his price balloons.

STONE AGE might suffer at the hands of his stablemates as he’s a total control freak and needs the lead
to be seen to best effect. He turned away his rivals by 9L and 6L this prep from the front, and Aidan
O’Brien has Changingoftheguard engaged here as well who will likely have no other option than to bolt
to the front from gate 16. If Stone Age is indeed allowed to dictate the race they just might not get past
him with a fast fence.

NATIONS PRIDE was paid up late for this for a cool $140,000 so clearly Appleby thinks the world of him and he’s done very little wrong in his career thus far. He is the type who likes to sit handy then smoothly progress to the lead before kicking on in the final two furlongs, so I expect him to sit just in behind the leaders with his stablemates for company, Walk Of Stars and NAHANNI.

Clearly Appleby doesn’t have that much faith in the pair or he’d not have supplemented Nations Pride. I’m of the opinion though that the difference between stable second and third string runners at Godolphin are much more capable than in the O’Brien stable. Take Adayar as your evidence of that last year.

NAHANNI is a course winner and already a two-time distance winner who was only getting warm late on when winning back down in trip here for the Derby trial. He’s a pure stayer and one for the ledger and I think he can shock at odds. He’s much more of a proven formula than 75% of this field and there’s $26 on
offer. 

Betting Strategy

LAY (WIN) – DESERT CROWN for 5 units liability

BACK (WIN) – STONE AGE for 2.5 units

BACK (WIN) – NATIONS PRIDE for 2 units

BACK (WIN) – NAHANNI for 0.5 units


Race 6 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

8. MASCAT
5. FARHAN
1. AADDEEY
4. BOSS POWER

Betting Strategy

I don’t think I’ve ever backed a placegetter in this race, nor will I ever want to. Leave me out.

No bet.


Race 7 | Epsom Racing Tips | Rory Flanagan’s Selections 

10. NELSON GAY
1. COMMANCHE FALLS
2. REGIONAL
7. ALLIGATOR ALLEY

Betting Strategy

The rain might arrive and turn this into more of a nightmare than it already is. Pace is drawn wide, they’ll
want to go along the fence. Leave me out

He’s been scratched from the wet before so if the rain shows up early, it’s probably best to leave it out.