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Epsom undercard - 14.00 preview

If you're off to Epsom for Derby Day or just sitting in front of the telly, you'd best be armed with more form and tips than just the big race. Prolific contributor William Kedjanyi, @keejavOV, (his blog) has the Friday freedom to study the form all day, something I used to have years ago now, so he has taken on previewing the whole day.

Let's start off with the opening race...

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Investec Private Banking Handicap Class 2 for 3YO only, 1m2f 1400 local

Several likely types, as ever here, and Dutch Uncle makes the most appeal following his fine third in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. Second to a well known rapid improver by the name of Jack Hobbs last season, he took his own maiden with ease and in his two handicap starts he has been beaten a neck by subsequent winner Subscontinent when ahead of two subsequent winners off marks of 80, before a creditable front running third in the London Gold Cup behind the highly rated Time Test and the previous Newmarket winner Dissolution, with the hard pulling Gibeon held well behind.

The form of that contest has already been franked to a certain extent with the fifth Space Age having won since at Newmarket and he should be up to going close.

Little did connections of Stravagante know that they were bumping into a Group horse in a handicap beforehand when taking on Jack Hobbs on his Sandown return. Even taking the Derby second favourite out of the picture, that form looks well up to scratch with the fourth and fifth since having finished first and second in a Sandown handicap while the third (who beat him just a head) was a previous handicap winner, one that he would have beaten if he hadn’t been pushed back to last around the home turn. A mark of 89 is very fair and he looks to be the one to beat for a yard that has a strong record in this race while finding plenty of improvement from their seasonal reappearances.

Mark Johnston’s Resonant showed a fine attitude to land a Goodwood handicap when last seen, following a 10 length Newmarket maiden win, but he was well in that day and races off a much harsher revised mark (up 9lbs here). It’s likely that he has more improvement to come here, but he may not be as well treated as the other of the front pair in the market although he should be hard to pass from the front, as it’s been hard to make ground up from behind so far here.

The 10 furlong handicap that Mezjay was third in did not look to be an especially strong one and while it was a fair effort on debut, more is needed here. Shaakis has been rapidly improved this season, winning comfortably on his return at Chelmsford before a sound effort in the Esher Cup at Sandown. The impressive winner Mutakarez has since won again, looking to be a group horse in the making, and s tep up in trip wouldn’t hurt his chances.

This is Taper Tantrum’s seasonal debut but he shaped with great promise when taking a nursery at Windsor, showing a fine attitude to lands odds on quotes at Windsor over just further than an extended mile. This step up in trip should be no problem and he is an interesting horse to follow with the rest of the reason in mind.

Crymro’s reappearance third at Ripon has been proven to be solid form for the grade so it was no surprise that he ran such a decent race at Chester, although his surprise defeat of Sir Isaac Newton has led to him being hit with an 11lbs rise in the handicap and it’s hard to think he’s especially well treated here.

Off a higher mark than the 77 that he had when making a fine seasonal reappearance at Doncaster, Tadqeeq was nosed out of a mile handicap at Ripon but was a disappointment at Haydock latest and has not shaped as if he was crying out for 10 furlongs on those starts.

Cosmic Ray has disappointed twice since landing a weak Windsor handicap and must be more tractable if he’s to have a major say. Lostock Hall’s return was a fair one but it leaves him behind Dutch Uncle on form and he must explain a very poor showing afterwards; Cornelius should enjoy this trip but must improve, and the same goes for Steady Major.

Advice: 2 pts each/way Dutch Uncle (8/1 general)

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