Where to watch racing this weekend
May 31, 2018
As the first weekend of June fast approaches, racing fans across the UK are looking forward to several meetings nationwide.
The most anticipated of these will take place at Epsom Downs, which will host the coveted Derby along with a host of other Class I and Class II races. In total, there are five flat race meetings and four jump events scheduled for this weekend, so there’s plenty to keeps fans happy over the course of 48 hours.
So, here’s our rundown of this weekend’s best races and the runners who are likely to compete for top honours.
Epsom Downs, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June
The iconic meeting at the idyllic Epsom Downs will take place on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June, with plenty of thrilling races set to take place during this time.
Make no mistake, the standout event here is the Investec Derby, which will take place at 16:30 on Saturday and is a Grade I flat race that represents one of the UK’s five classics. The race itself will see 12 runners compete for a first prize of £850,650, making it one of the most lucrative events of the entire season.
The initial odds have John Gosden’s three-year old colt Roaring Lion as clear front runner, with his current odds of 7/1 set to shorten considerably over the course of the next 24 hours. He certainly enters this race in excellent form, having come first in a field of nine at York last time out on 17th May.
Prior to this, he also won at Newmarket in September, in the type of good to soft conditions that may well prevail this weekend. Much will depend on how much rain falls between now and Saturday, of course, but Roaring Lion is certainly well placed to challenge here.
Dermot Weld’s three-year old Hazapour (8/1) is also expected to contend in the Derby, despite having only made his debut on the flat last August. He has won two of his four outings to date, while he was particularly impressive when winning at Leopardstown last time out from a starting price of 16/1.
Earlier on Saturday, eight runners will also compete in the Class I, Grade III Investec Diomed Stakes. This one-mile flat race carries a first prize of £51,039, and there are several pedigree competitors in contention for first place.
The pre-race favourite here is David Simcock’s seven-year old runner Arod (10/3). He has placed in both flat races in May, winning impressively last time out at Windsor over a similar distance and coming a close second at Kempton at the beginning of the month. He’ll fancy his chances here, although he’s unlikely to have it all his own way once the race gets underway.
We also like the look of the 9/2 shot Century Dream, who is four-years old and trained by Simon Crisford. He is renowned for his consistency in soft and heavy conditions, while his superb win at Ascot on 2nd May providing a timely reminder of his ability. He enjoyed similar successes at Haydock and Newbury in September and October respectively, so he’ll approach this race in buoyant and optimistic mood.
Perth, Sunday 3rd June
As the dust settles on Epsom Downs and the Derby, race goers will flock to Perth on the 3rd June to enjoy another bumper day of action.
The highlight of this seven-race jump meeting is the Energy Check City of Perth Gold Cup Handicap, which is a Class II event with a total of 19 runners. The winner will take home £18,768 too, so it’s a stellar race with a prominent cast of pedigree horses.
Nicky Henderson’s Baden is an early front-runner here, with this seven-year gelding having won of his three outings since March (he also placed fourth at Cheltenham during this time). He was certainly victorious last time out on 13th May, when he placed first at Ludlow in good conditions.
Martiloo is another runner who’s expected to compete, with this eight-year old mare set to enter the race in peak form. Trained by Miss Pauline Robinson, Martiloo won superbly at Ayr on 7th May, before following this victory up with an outstanding run at Aintree just 11 days later.
Two consecutive wins have certainly captured the attention of bookmakers, particularly with this mare known to fare well on good to soft ground.