More to come from Permian in open Derby
"It's a great thrill, maybe the greatest, to win the Derby. I've been lucky enough to win some big races all around the world, but there is something extra special about winning the Derby."
Michael Stoute, who spoke the above words, doesn't have an entry in this year's Derby so he won't be getting that thrill in 2017, but with five wins in the world's greatest Flat race, he's had his fair share.
Those of us who will never ride, train or own a horse in the Derby (4.20 Epsom) can only get our thrills from betting on it, and it's not been a bad race for punters in recent times, with the last winner in double figures being High-Rise for Luca Cumani at 20/1 in 1998.
In 2017, one thing the layers all agree on is that the John Jenkins-trained Diore Lia hasn't a hope, with quotes of up to 1000/1 on the maiden filly available yesterday.
This week, jockey Gina Mangan was told by the BHA she wasn't allowed to ride the Mary Todd-owned animal in the big race, using a rule that protects the best interests of safety and of the sport.
Mangan, a relatively inexperienced 7lb claimer, has been replaced by 5lb claimer Paddy Pilley and while I feel sorry for Mangan, you'd have to wonder why the horse itself is allowed to line up at all.
The entry's purpose is to raise money for charity, so dissenters risk coming across as cold-hearted, but this is the Derby, and a horse rated 71 by Timeform has no place here if you ask me.
To put that into context, Cracksman is rated 132 with the potential to improve, a difference in ability then of at least 61lb! Ryan Moore said the BHA decision was correct, stating in his Betfair column that "It is not quite like turning up at the start of the Formula One race driving a tractor, but it isn't far off".
I suppose the argument could be made that if no-hopers are not allowed, there would never be the fairytale stories such as Leicester winning the Premier League having been priced at 5,000/1.
Everything has some sort of chance I suppose - remember the Aengus King-trained Capture The Drama winning a maiden hurdle last year at Gowran, priced 100/1 with the bookmakers but available at 1000.0 on Betfair?
It's an interesting sideshow I guess, but getting back to the business end of the market, John Gosden's Cracksman may go off as favourite around 4/1 under Frankie Dettori.
Based on his two winning races thus far including the Derby trial here in April, he's going to be a top-class animal, but he was a little green when beating Permian last time and was forced to work hard for the odds-on success.
I would have liked to see him run once more before today and although highly respected, he's a little short for me in the betting.
Permian has since won twice, including the Dante, and has been supplemented at a cost of £85,000. Trained by Mark Johnston, he's likely to get distance and ticks the right boxes for me around 8/1.
Although he has now raced ten times, which some would see as a negative, he appears to be still improving and jockey William Buick was singing his praises after a good workout last week.
What I like about this son of Teofilo is how uncomplicated he is. What you see is what you get - he runs to form, learns with experience after both a win and a loss and gets that bit better every time.
While Cracksman will come on for the Derby Trial, the selection has already done so and with the prospect of more to come, he's well worth a couple of quid this afternoon.
Aidan O'Brien has multiple entries, the best of which is likely to be Cliffs Of Moher under Ryan Moore. A Galileo colt, he won the Listed Dee Stakes on his seasonal return at Chester priced 4/5 although he had to work for it.
Again, it's all about how much improvement he's likely to have in him but he's almost certain to be thereabouts.
Earlier on, John Gosden's Laugh Aloud is tipped around 5/4 to win the Group Three Fillies' Princess Elizabeth Stakes (2.35 Epsom).
Having won a Listed race in September, she looked in need of the run when making her seasonal debut to finish fifth in a similar race on the all-weather at Kempton in April. But she got back to winning ways in another Listed event last time against some horses which had decent enough form in the book, so it looks fairly solid.
James Doyle does the steering and if he gets her into her preferred front-running position early on, she could be hard to catch.
The Investec Corporate Banking 'Dash' Handicap (3.45 Epsom) looks quite open as one would expect for a 20-runner 5f handicap, with Duke Of Firenze likely to prove popular in the betting having won a competitive handicap at York last time at the expense of Rasheeq.
He could be one to keep an eye on for a while but at the prices today, preference is for Edward Lewis, a David O'Meara-trained four-year-old which was chalked up at 9/1 in the markets yesterday evening. Rated 96 for a racing weight of 9st 1lb, he's down 4lb in the weights having finished fourth of seven in a handicap at Thirsk recently.
That seems to be a big enough drop considering the ground, described as soft, was a little too testing and I'm willing to give him another chance today with conditions in his favour.
Previously, he won on good-to-soft off today's mark at Lingfield under Josh Doyle, who was claiming 5lb.
Doyle is back on board today now claiming 3lb but I reckon Edward Lewis is well treated at this rating and I'll be very disappointed the bookie isn't handing me some place money at the very least this afternoon.
2.0 Epsom: Hajaj
2.35 Epsom: Laugh Aloud
3.10 Epsom: Oh This Is Us
3.45 Epsom: Edward Lewis
4.30 Epsom: Permian
7.40 Newcastle: Abjar