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Epsom racing tips: Double chance for O’Brien in Coral Coronation Cup

| 03.06.2021

Derby Festival day one preview

The Coral Coronation Cup (3.10) is the first of two mouth-watering Group One races up for grabs on the opening afternoon of the Cazoo Derby Festival at Epsom on Friday.

The mile-and-a-half contest has an illustrious roll of honour and has been dominated in recent years by trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled a record eight previous winners.

This year the Ballydoyle handler fires a formidable twin assault, with full brothers JAPAN and MOGUL both in contention in terms of Epsom racing tips.

At 10/3, dual Group One winner Japan is the better fancied of the pair, having put a largely underwhelming 2020 campaign behind him with a comeback victory in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester last month.

O’Brien said: “Everything has gone well with Japan. We were delighted with him in Chester and we hope he’ll keep progressing.”

Japan’s stablemate and sibling Mogul, who has also won twice at the highest level, is a 6/1 shot off the back of finishing third in the Prix Ganay in France on his latest appearance.

“In France they went very slow, which wouldn’t have suited him, and the ground went against him as well,” O’Brien added. “He’s been working very nicely as well.”

The hot favourite for the Coral Coronation Cup is the William Haggas-trained AL AASY.

The son of Sea The Stars has been hugely impressive in winning successive Group Three prizes at Newbury this spring and is a shade of odds-on at 10/11 to successfully step up to Group One level for the first time.

Haggas said: “He’s as good as we can have him – we’re very happy with his condition.”

Further strength in depth is added by 10/1 shots PYLEDRIVER and ALBAFLORA, while HIGHLAND CHIEF (33/1) completes the line-up.

4.30 Cazoo Oaks

Classic honours are up for grabs here when 9/4 favourite SANTA BARBARA leads a five-strong O’Brien team.

The Camelot filly was well fancied for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on just her second career start following reports of sparkling workouts – and was far from disgraced in finishing fourth.

O’Brien said: “Santa Barbara is very well – she was always very special in her work. You would imagine normal, natural improvement will come. She hasn’t shown us anything in her work to suggest otherwise.”

With Ryan Moore keeping faith in Santa Barbara, Frankie Dettori comes in for the ride on her stable companion SNOWFALL, who earned her tilt at Oaks glory with a front-running victory in the Musidora Stakes. She is next in the betting at 9/2.

DIVINELY (10/1), WILLOW (33/1) AND LA JOCONDE (50/1) complete the trainer’s quintet.

Of Snowfall (pictured below), O’Brien added: “Snowfall is good. She was probably a little bit weak last year, but she’s bred to be a Classic filly and is bred like a filly that could get the trip.”


Roger Varian is also well represented, with Cheshire Oaks runner-up ZEYAADAH (11/2), Musidora Stakes third TEONA (6/1) and Lingfield Oaks Trial runner-up SAVE A FOREST (33/1) all in contention.

Varian said: “I think Teona is extremely talented and I hope she won’t make the sort of juvenile mistakes she made at York.

“I hope Zeyaadah will stay. There’s definitely a bit (of improvement) in the locker.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Save A Forest run a nice race.”

Jane Chapple-Hyam’s 1000 Guineas runner-up SAFFRON BEACH (10/1) is another to consider in an open contest.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication



Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.