1pt win Los Angeles @6/1, 1pt each-way Macduff @14/1, 16:30 Epsom, Saturday

1m4f (1m4f6y) Betfred Derby (Group 1) (No Geldings) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo)

You have to stay well to win a Group One over 12f and this year’s Derby contenders have plenty to prove in that department. City Of Troy, like Auguste Rodin last year, is on a recovery mission after a complete no show in the 2,000 Guineas and backers at an uneasy 3/1 are hoping lightning strikes twice. By Justify and out of a precocious two-year-old who didn’t stay 12f as a 3yo, stamina is far from guaranteed even if the horse returns to peak form, and he’s got the trickiest draw of all in stall one. He’s got to be taken on. I can pretty confidently rule out Voyage and Dancing Gemini through a combination of form and striding data – they all look doubtful stayers – whereas I’m not sure I’m quite buying the strength of Ambiente Friendly’s Lingfield win, and he might want better ground too. Two that the ground has come right for are LOS ANGELES and Ancient Wisdom but both have the ignominy of being second strings – Ancient Wisdom wasn’t even certain to run here until two stablemates came out. I really like both their chances and at the time of writing they’re both 6/1 and it’s Los Angeles who ticks the most boxes. He looks certain to stay with his big long stride and 10f G1 win as a 2yo, and I love how he’s got an unblemished 3/3 record. He strikes me as a type that could really open up down the hill, hit the line hard and prove impossible to pass. The other one I’ve been keen to back in a wide open race is MACDUFF. By Sea The Stars, whose progeny progress with age and stay well, his dam is a half-sister to superstar miler Kingman and his striding matches that of a Derby winner – it’s identical to Golden Horn’s. You get the impression there’s plenty more to come after his reappearance at Sandown when Ralph Beckett’s string were running below form and his juvenile form was very solid, finishing close to good yardsticks like Al Musmak and Ghostwriter. His sire Sea The Stars rarely produces 2yos and all his best progeny show their hand at three and four and I’m expecting a big run.

1pt win Los Angeles @6/1, 1pt each-way Macduff @14/1, 16:30 Epsom, Saturday (1-4, 1/5)

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