1pt win Mackaar @11/1, 14:45 Epsom, Wednesday

Epsom hosts its Derby Trial at 2.45 today, attracting seven runners in what looks a wide-open heat.

Cape Of Good Hope, a full brother to the brilliant Highland Reel as well as Royal Ascot winner Idaho, is the 7/4 favourite and there to be shot at on the back of his juvenile form, where he was solid enough but showed signs of inexperience.

First time out he has to be taken on as he’ll be far from tuned up to the max here.

I don’t think the second favourite Turgenev is the answer as he seem to be priced up short simply because his trainer John Gosden has won the last four renewals of this race.

Interestingly only two horses have Derby entries in this race, Cape Of Good Hope and MACKAAR, and I fancy the latter’s chances as he has proven stamina for this 10f trip and has already had a run this season when winning on the all weather a few weeks ago.

He’s by Cape Cross, whose progeny love fast ground and include two winners of the Derby and the Arc in the same season, while his damsire sired Workforce, winner of the Derby in 2007.

He’s certainly got the pedigree and is unexposed on turf, having run three times on the all weather to date, and trainer Roger Varian is in great form at the moment with a strike rate of over 20% in the past two weeks.

11/1 seems well worth a go with so many boxes ticked, and the stable must rate him to justify his entry in the big one on June 1st.

The other one I like is Cap Francais for Ed Walker, a Frankel colt who has won his last two starts and makes his seasonal reappearance.

He doesn’t have a Derby entry but Walker is talking up his Derby chances, so he’ll have to win this race to qualify and avoid a supplementary fee.

It’s an interesting dimension to the betting as it might just mean we see those without entries a little more forward in their preparation, however I’d prefer to see a bit more ease in his 7/1 price to have a go.

1pt win Mackaar @11/1, 14:45 Epsom, Wednesday

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