Roaring Lion can silence Saxon Warrior


This weekend brings with it the oldest and greatest Classic of them all, the jewel in the crown of British Flat racing – The Derby at Epsom.

Saturday’s feature event is preceded on Friday by The Oaks, which last year produced the mighty spectacle of Enable’s overpowering win underneath a sky laden with thunder and lightning as torrential rain hit the famous Epsom Downs.

What of this year? We pick out a potential value selection in the Classics.

Roaring Lion – 11/2 to win The Derby

Getting away from the favourite Saxon Warrior in this race is not easy, but at odds-on it is worth having a go. Roaring Lion bids to give trainer John Gosden his third Derby success and a second in four years after the brilliant Golden Horn in 2015.

Roaring Lion has work to do with Saxon Warrior, clearly, but his recent win in the Dante at York offered plenty hope.

Oisin Murphy has been first to admit that he did not cover himself in glory at Doncaster last season when going for home too soon in the Racing Post Trophy, eventually resulting in Ryan Moore and Saxon Warrior collaring Roaring Lion by a neck on Town Moor.

The unbeaten Ballydoyle colt was a clear victor when they met again in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but since then Roaring Lion has run out a convincing Dante winner at York on his first run beyond a mile.

Aidan O’Brien is confident Saxon Warrior will have the stamina for the Derby but the fact remains he has still got to prove it.

Gosden’s charge meanwhile went a long way to proving his credentials in that regard at York and is worth a chance to get the verdict in this third joust with old foe Saxon Warrior, particularly should Murphy be able to keep his powder dry through Tattenham Corner.

At bigger prices, the O’Brien-trained outsiders Rostropovich at 40/1 and The Pentagon at 20/1 are worth considering, as we have all seen how the Ballydoyle ‘also rans’ tend to make a mockery of their prices!

Magic Wand – 6/1 to win The Oaks

The chances of O’Brien leaving Epsom without a Classic are slim in this era, so having gone against the Ballydoyle maestro in the Derby, we will wade in behind for Friday’s Oaks.

A year ago Enable was the Cheshire Oaks heroine and she arrived at Epsom an underestimated 6/1 chance before stamping her class on the field for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden.

This time around it was Magic Wand that ran out a decisive scorer in the Roodee trial, an excellent mock exam for Epsom.

The Galileo filly made the running for herself at Chester and, despite signs of greenness, she quickened up quite smartly and appeared to relish the step up in trip.

That was only Magic Wand’s third racecourse start, so the likelihood is there will be plenty more improvement to come.

With doubts surrounding Magical, she is the one for me to build on that run and prove herself a Group 1 filly.

Impressive Newbury winner Sea Of Class, available at 11/2 for The Oaks, is next in line as William Haggas’ daughter of Sea The Stars also appears to have an abundance of talent.

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