ITV Racing Tips: Lead on – Sea The Stars colt looks ready for Derby battle

 | Friday 31st May 2024, 17:19pm

Friday 31st May 2024, 17:19pm

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It's quite simply the most prestigious and fabled flat race in the calendar. Anyone's calendar. Time for the Betfred Epsom Derby, and the classic crop of three-year-old colts chasing immortality on the Downs.

ITV cameras are there to beam the key Epsom action far and wide with five fabulous contests, including of course the big one, which is scheduled for 16:30. Everyone at Betfred is excited to be part of such an historic and important race, and we hope you enjoy what's sure to be a thrilling afternoon of top-drawer sport. Here are my ITV Racing tips for Saturday, June 1 - Derby Day!

ITV Racing Tips Saturday

Epsom

  • 14:00 - Breege each-way @ 13/2
  • 14:35 - Embesto @ 7/2
  • 15:10 - Due For Luck each-way @ 11/2
  • 15:45 - Clarendon House each-way @ 5/1
  • 16:30 - Macduff each-way @ 14/1

The ITV schedule for Saturday June 1

14:00 Epsom - Princess Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by My Pension Expert) Group 3 1m 1⁄2f
14:35 Epsom - The Betfred Diomed Stakes (Group 3) 1m 1⁄2f
15:10 Epsom - The Betfred 3yo Dash Handicap 5f
15:45 Epsom - The Aston Martin Dash Handicap 5f
16:30 Epsom - THE BETFRED DERBY (GROUP 1) – 1m 4f

All Today's Horse Racing Odds

Rationale;

14:00 Epsom - Breege each-way @ 13/2

What a fantastic programme of races, with of course the Betfred Derby as the highlight; but all contests are for me absolutely wide-open, and offer terrific value if you've got a 'view.'

The terrestrial coverage gets underway with this 8.5f G3 for fillies and mares, and I'm relying upon a North Yorkshire raider from the yard of John and Sean Quinn. Nine are slated to face the starter, and I'm suggesting an each-way play.

Breege is a four-year-old Starspangledbanner filly who reappeared for the season 28 days ago at Goodwood in a Listed heat. She ran exceptionally well to be beaten just a head on soft ground. Any lingering bit of cut and juice in the deck here won't be an issue.

She very nearly secured a G3 at the same West Sussex venue in August, and is absolutely worthy of a tilt at this. I'd venture so far as to say she'd welcome ground on the easy side, and though potentially needing to find a couple of pounds on official ratings she's entitled to come on for her seasonal bow and has a very serious chance in my book.

Goodwood is a quirky, undulating track that demands agility, adaptability and athleticism. Epsom might be left-handed, the opposite of Goodwood, but those characteristics will still be high on any wish-list.

Breege each-way 14.00 Epsom

14:35 Epsom - Embesto @ 7/2

Another Group 3, The Diomed, and again over a trip of 8.5f. Newmarket handler Roger Varian trains our selection, and James Doyle takes the mount.

Embesto is a four-year-old Roaring Lion colt who enjoyed a very successful 2023, from an impressive, emphatic maiden win on debut at Yarmouth to a G3 success at Salisbury.

He ran a blinder at Longchamp in a G2, beaten just over 2l when signing off for the season at the end of September, and was short enough in the betting (2/1) when reappearing for a new campaign at Goodwood in April.

He faded late, and will surely strip fitter for the run today. He'll probably need to, but I feel he's got the most potential improvement in this field on what will only be career start number seven.

Both trainer and jockey are among the winners, and in an ultra-competitive heat I'm very hopeful.

Embesto 14.35 Epsom

15:10 Epsom - Due For Luck each-way @ 11/2

A fiendishly-tricky 5f sprint handicap for three-year-olds, with luck-in-running a significant requirement if winning prospects are to be entertained.

I'm putting my faith appropriately in Due For Luck, a Due Diligence gelding, and another in the care of John and Sean Quinn. Jason Hart is the only jock to have sat on him in a race, and he's once again on top.

A high draw is a big advantage here on what's one of the world's fastest 5f courses. It means you've a chance of nabbing or at least racing close to the nearside, high-side rail, and that's even more significant if there's give in the ground.

The selection is drawn 19 of 20, which could hardly be better, but of course he needs to trap and to hold that spot early on. He's an improver at three, being beaten just half-a-length at Chester 24 days ago after a slow start - not what you need there, or indeed here.

I'd say the start is where this one can win or lose the race - and if he's away smartly I reckon we're in with a tremendous shout. We're paying five places each-way, so that's absolutely the way I'm leaning here.

Due For Luck each-way 15.10 Epsom

15:45 Epsom - Clarendon House each-way @ 5/1

Another 5f 'dash,' this time for seasoned handicappers. Same thoughts about that high draw being a potential godsend, and our selection Clarendon House is drawn a very useful 12 of 15.

Sprint maestro Robert Cowell trains, and the brilliant Tom Marquand rides. Clarendon House was beaten a neck in a blanket finish last term in this, from stall two - a fantastic effort. So much better drawn then on Saturday - but he's paying for some cracking performances on that day and subsequently because he's up 11lb from last year's rating of 100.

The six-year-old Mehmas gelding has more than a touch of class, and has some Listed and Group exposure. I can see Tom popping along in the first half-dozen near the golden rail and producing him at the furlong to take this £50,000 prize back to the Cowell yard at the gorgeously-named Six Mile Bottom, in Cambridgeshire.

Clarendon House each-way 15.45 Epsom

16:30 Epsom (The Betfred Derby) - Macduff each-way @ 14/1

It's been thrilling crowds since 1780. A race that has spawned copycat events in most countries around the world. One synonymous with names like Sea Bird II, Shergar, Nijinsky, Sea The Stars, Sir Ivor, and Galileo. So important for the sport in terms of breeding - just think of the influence of the likes of Galileo and Sea The Stars in the modern day, in terms of producing champions.

We're absolutely delighted to be associated with the race, and look forward to a thrilling showdown.

So - who's winning the 2024 Betfred Derby? In keeping with my theme of the day, we could hardly have a more wide-open Classic. As I write, it's around 7/2 the field. Even predicting which horse will start favourite is a tricky assignment.

My eye has been drawn to one at a tasty each-way price - and a horse that for me has been asking to stretch out over this mile-and-a-half journey. Macduff is bred to go well - by 2009 hero Sea The Stars, and with speed built-in on the dam's side.

He's appeared just four times in public, and has a broadly progressive profile. One run at three - on seasonal reappearance he contested Sandown's G3 Classic Trial over 10 furlongs, and was a running-on second behind Godolphin's Arabian Crown, a huge fancy for this himself until suffering a setback.

Macduff is trained by Ralph Beckett, and carries the feted Juddmonte silks. These colours have adorned three previous Derby winners - Quest For Fame, Commander in Chief, and Workforce; but are arguably best-known for one that agonisingly, narrowly failed here - the great Dancing Brave.

Rossa Ryan rides, and his association with the stable really seems to have crystallised of late. I've a feeling Mr Beckett knew he had horsepower of this calibre coming through and was anxious to utilise one of racing's outstanding, emerging talents.

The horse has something to find to win this - a remark we can make about pretty much all of the field, in all candour. But this trip might just enable him to make that leap, in those famous colours, and for this up-and-coming rising star in the saddle.

We're paying four places each-way, and Macduff is certainly as I write an attractive e/w price. We've known plenty of lively-priced scorers in this (for example Serpentine, 25/1, and Wings Of Eagles, 40/1 - both well within the last decade), so once again that's the sensible option in my book.

Macduff each-way 16.30 Epsom

If you're playing, have fun, and good luck. Derby Day is up there with any of our great sporting occasions, and we honestly can't wait. Enjoy, savour, marvel.

SUPER Lucky Bonuses: Place a Lucky 15, 31 or 63 at Epsom this weekend and get up to a 50% CASH BONUS if all your selections win! (Credited in cash within 24 hours)

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ITV Racing tips from Betfred Insights.

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