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Derby pick has a familiar lookPosted on Thursday 25th May 2017 @ 14.33

One horse stands out as having outstanding Epsom Derby credentials and he remains a very backable price.

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Two years on from the famous Derby success of John Gosden's tremendous colt Golden Horn, the same trainer and owner (Anthony Oppenheimer) combination look set to hit the target again with their unbeaten Cracksman (9/2), writes Paul Alster.

A lot could change in the final days ahead of the running of the world's greatest classic race, but if the recent Group 2 Betfred Dante result is any kind of a pointer - and in the last decade-and-a-half it has been the outstanding Derby trial - then without even setting foot on York racecourse Cracksman managed to enhance his Derby prospects via the success of the Mark Johnston-trained Permian.

The ground at York was a cause for concern - plenty of rain in the preceding 36 hours having turned the Knavesmire into a testing circuit - but

Permian, narrowly beaten by Cracksman in the Epsom Derby Trial a few weeks earlier before hacking up in the listed Newmarket Stakes at HQ on Guineas weekend, gave Cracksman a mighty boost by showing real spirit to see off Godolphin's Benbatl in tenacious fashion.

The admirable Permian is now a best priced 14/1 shot for the Derby and I expect him to run well and maybe grab a place. Benbatl (25/1) could improve again for a better surface, but Cracksman, who did everything wrong before finally getting into stride at Epsom very late on to nose out Mark Johnston's horse, appears to have plenty going for him.

The son of Frankel has reportedly done really well since his Epsom, a success that came on the back of a pleasing maiden win on his only start as a juvenile. With mastermind Gosden clearly pleased with his late decision to not risk his potential star on the pudding-like ground at York, Frankie Dettori's mount may arrive at the start on Derby Day a rather fresher horse than Permian and Benbatl.

However, he will also have to see off a strong challenge (as always) from the Aidan O'Brien-trained contingent, among whom Cliffs of Moher (4/1), a son of Galileo who won the listed Dee Stakes at Chester in eye-catching fashion, is likely to be the stable No.1, and a big danger.

The other horse to keep a close eye on is Martyn Meade's Eminent (7/1), winner of the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April but then readily outpaced behind Churchill in a muddling stop-start race for the Qipco 2000 Guineas back over the same course and distance a few weeks later. Eminent has always looked more of a middle-distance prospect, and the vibe from the Meade yards suggests they feel their charge is going to run a very big race against Cracksman, Cliffs of Moher, and the rest.

The Oaks, a day earlier on Friday June 2, according to the bookies appears to be at the mercy of O'Brien's ante-post favourite Rhododendron (13/8), winner of last term's Group 1 Dubai Fillies Mile, and a good runner-up to stable companion Winter in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Although she should be suited by the extra half-mile, there's no certainty that the same won't apply to Winter, so if the latter takes her chance the current 16/1 on offer looks a generous each-way price and is something of an insult given the fair record of 1000 Guineas running well subsequently in the Investec Oaks.

Article Posted on Thursday 25th May 2017 @ 14.33

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