Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse racing tips and the latest news.
SAXON WARRIOR is taken to overcome an awkward barrier draw and forecast softer ground conditions to secure a seventh win in the Investec Derby for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
The son of Japanese-based stallion Deep Impact was on Thursday drawn in the little-fancied barrier one in the field of 12 runners for the feature race on Saturday at Epsom, where the ground is currently described as soft after 22mm of rain on Tuesday and more rain expected.
Andrew Cooper, Epsom’s Clerk of the Course, reported that the ground remains Soft ahead of the Investec Derby Festival, which begins on Friday.
The track had 22mm of rain on Tuesday and more rain is forecast today.
Cooper said: “Tuesday was an odd day as we thought we had escaped the rain relatively lightly, but it really opened with intense showers in the middle of the afternoon which were non-stop for around two hours.
“We ended up measuring 22mm of rain that night when it finally eased off around midnight.
“Yesterday was a dry day, but it was overcast for most of it so the ground didn’t dry out that much.
“Today, we were forecasting and are at risk of showers. We’ve managed to avoid the rain so far this morning which seems to have petered out slightly when it got to the M25 – we’ve had nothing measurable here this morning.
“It is humid and it could kick off here at any point throughout the day, so we could see a shower at some point this afternoon.
“The forecast is reasonably encouraging for the weekend. There is a slight risk of a shower on Friday, but generally we are going to stay dry with most of the rain going to the northwest.
“It looks like we’re in a two-day window of pleasant and dry weather. I have no hesitation in leaving the ground at Soft currently, but it is approaching Good to Soft ground up until the last mile.
“If we had a dry day today, we wouldn’t be far from calling it Soft, Good to Soft in Places. The Going Stick reading was 5.7 this morning, it was 5.5 yesterday, so it has been drying slightly.”
Saxon Warrior heads the betting for the £1.5million contest after extending his unbeaten record to four starts when securing an emphatic victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on good ground at Newmarket on May 5 and has won on Good and Good to Soft ground.
“Saxon Warrior is in very good form at home and has come out of the 2000 Guineas very well. He is a good traveller and a very well balanced colt,” said O’Brien who has won the Derby with Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), and Wings Of Eagles (2017).
“We were always looking forward to stepping him up in distance. In the 2000 Guineas, he travelled like a miler and quickened like a miler, but we always thought he was going to be a middle distance horse – he is very good.”
O’Brien currently has five of the 12 entries in the Derby, with the favourite is set to be joined by Delano Roosevelt, The Pentagon, Kew Gardens and Nelson.
The feature race on Friday is the Investec Oaks where the Clive Cox trained Perfect Clarity is fancied to prevail.
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