The flat racing season is now well under way in the UK and Ireland and last month, we had the first two classic races of the season contested at Newmarket. The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas. This Friday and Saturday we will see the third and fourth classics of the season contested at Epsom with the Oaks being run on Friday and the Derby taking place on Saturday.

Unfortunately, we won’t see the winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare, taking part in either race at Epsom and neither will the winner of the 1,000 Guineas, Mother Earth, although second placed Saffron Beach will be competing in the Oaks on Friday.

The Epsom meet is always one of the highlights of the British Flat Racing season and interest in both the races is sure to be huge, not just in the UK, but around the world.

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Let’s now take a closer look at the two-day meeting at Epsom Downs this week, starting with the Oaks meeting on Friday, followed by Derby Day on Saturday.

Epsom Downs Oaks/Derby Meeting

Friday 4th June – Oaks Day

  • 00pm – Cazoo Woodcote EBF Stakes
  • 35pm – Coral ‘beaten By A Length” Free Bet Handicap
  • 10pm – Coral Coronation Cup
  • 45pm – Cazoo Handicap
  • 30pm – Cazoo Oaks
  • 10pm – Play Coral “Racing Super-Series” For Free Surrey Stakes
  • 40pm – Cazoo Derby Festival Handicap

The idle three races of the day are the top races on Friday with the Cazoo Oaks at 4.30pm the third classic of the racing season (following on from May’s 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas races at Newmarket).

Saturday 5th June – Derby Day

  • 00pm – World Pool At The tote Handicap
  • 35pm – Princess Elizabeth Stakes
  • 10pm – Cazoo Diomed Stakes
  • 45pm – World Pool ‘Dash’ Handicap
  • 30pm – Cazoo Derby
  • 15pm – Northern Dancer Handicap
  • 50pm – Cazoo Handicap

The Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Diomed Stakes and World Pool Handicap are three big races, but they pale when compared to the biggest flat race of the season in the UK, the Derby. Who will be the latest horse to add its name to the illustrious list of winners of this fourth classic race of the season?

Our Tips For The Big Races At Epsom This Week

Friday June 4th

3.10 – Coral Coronation Cup – Our Pick – Al Aasy (4/5)

The first tip for me is also the one I have most confidence in for the six races I’m giving you a tip on. Al Aasy is the class act of this field having won four of its last five races, including both runs this season. You can expect the Aiden O’Brien duo of Japan and Mogul to push W.J.Haggas 4-year-old hard but he is the quality pick in the field.

3.45 – Cazoo Handicap – Our Pick – Dream With Me (5/1)

If the Coronation Cup looks to have one clear favourite, the Cazoo Handicap is a much more open race. Blue Cup is the early front runner in the betting, while last year’s winner of this race, Sky Defender is another that has drawn support. Hms President, Data Protection, Victory Chime and Strait of Hormuz are all well backed too. For e though, Mark Johnston’s Dream With Me has shown impressive form of late winning three of its last four and I think at 5/1, it is the pick here.

4.30 – The Oaks – Our Pick – Zeyadaah (11/2)

As you would expect for the third classic of the season, there is a stellar field of runners in this race. Saffron Beach, second in the 2,000 Guineas, is back to try its luck over a longer distance, but it faces stern opposition from the current favourite Santa Barbara, as well as the likes of Snowfall and Teona. However, my pick to land the win here is the impressive Zeyaadah who won all three outings last season and finished second on its only run so far this year in preparation for this race.

Saturday June 5th

3.10 – Cazoo Diomed Stakes – Our Pick – Bell Rock

There are plenty of good quality horses competing in the Diomed Stakes on Saturday. Century Dream seems to be the slight favourite in the ante post betting markets, but the likes of Marie’s Diamond, Duke of Hazzard, Prince Eiji and Maximal are all also very well fancied.

Two interesting options could be Fast Steps and Lotte Marie who come into the race in good form, but both are now stepping up in class and this could well be a real test of their credentials.

For me, though Bell Rock is the stand out pick here in what should be another very enjoyable and hard-fought race.

3.45 – World Pool ‘Dash’ Handicap – Our Pick – Caspian Prince (Each Way)

This is certainly one of the most open races of the meeting and picking a winner does look to be very tricky with a number of very evenly matched horses in the race. Stone of Destiny is probably just about the favourite at the moment, but that could change come race time with the likes of Spoofing, Copper Knight, Rewayaat and Desert Safari also drawing plenty of support.

In these races, I think form over a longer period is a positive and with that in mind, Caspian Prince is my pick here, although given how competitive this race is likely to be, an each way punt may be the best option

4.30 – The Derby – Our Pick – Bolshoi Ballet

The fourth classic of the season is also the biggest race in the UK Racing flat calendar. With a list of previous winners reading like a who’s who of flat racing in the UK, Bolshoi Ballet is the clear favourite to land the win here and in truth, it is hard to make a case against that.

The Aiden O’Brien trained mount is the class act of the field and my gut feeling is that it will start the race as the odds-on favourite. Mac Swiney, Mohaafeth, John Leeper, High Definition and Hurricane Lane will likely be the closest contenders but I can’t see any having the quality to pip Bolshoi Ballet to the victory.