Tuesday afternoon saw Epsom Downs host a race fixture for the first time in 2021 with the Spring Meeting as the Classic talk begins to take centre stage with jumps racing all but coming to a close in Britain at Sandown this Saturday.
Where there are six contests, there are six winners, and it proved to be a difficult day for punters with only one of the market principals landing success in Surrey.
The Epsom Derby Festival lies now just over five weeks away, with the first two curtain-raisers for three-year-old’s at Newmarket in the form of the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas being hosted a week on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
But what exactly could we take from yesterday’s fixture on the Downs that could point you in the right direction for your punts in the main events over a mile-and-a-half this June?
Take a read of our thoughts after Tuesday’s Spring Meeting came to a close.
GODOLPHIN STRONGHOLD IN COLT DIVISION CONTINUES
After Master Of The Seas took the Craven Stakes in Suffolk a week ago to exact his Guineas credentials, Charlie Appleby flexed a Derby contender in the form of Wirko in the Blue Riband Trial.
The Kingman colt had two spins to open his career on the all-weather at Wolverhampton and Kempton in 2020, but clearly benefitted for the step up in distance at Epsom during yesterday’s Spring Meeting under William Buick.
Operating at a 33% win-rate, the Appleby camp are in flying form and they were the last English stable to take the famous race following Masar’s win back in 2018.
Undoubtedly, their representative for the 2021 renewal is one to keep on side and is still a best-priced 25-1 shot for the June showpiece to follow up his Spring Meeting heroics.
BRYN DIDN’T GIVE IN
Favourite backers were left disappointed as Uncle Bryn tasted a first career defeat for John & Thady Gosden on his turf debut, but there was still a lot to like about his battling display at Epsom.
He raced keen and green on seasonal debut, perhaps hitting the front earlier than ideal under Frankie Dettori with the long run-in still to climb on the Downs, and opening the door for a better-placed Wirko to run both him and the likeable Technique down.
But in reality, he was only beaten by just over a length by a horse who had a much calmer run of proceedings.
Wirko was a worthy winner, but Gosden confirmed to the Racing Post that his charge would “mentally come on for the run” and the colt, by 2009 Derby winner Sea The Stars, is perhaps worth giving another chance in the Dante at York in less than a month’s time.
Let it not be forgotten that De Ex Bee, the 2018 Derby runner-up, also finished third in this race three years ago.
VICTORY CAN CHIME AGAIN AT THE DERBY FESTIVAL
In the last two editions, the City And Suburban Handicap has supplied two victors later in the campaign at the Derby Festival.
John Gosden’s Royal Line and the former William Knight trained Soto Sizzler landed glory in this contest before going onto take handicap wins in Surrey on their next starts.
Clearly, the course experience has proved pivotal in recent renewals of the contest and Victory Chime may be no exception later this year.
He won at the track previously back in August 2019 and based on recent history, this contest could have been the ideal preparation for him should he return to the Downs for the Derby Festival in just under two months’ time.