Epsom racecourse

Epsom’s flat season springs into action


The Flat racing season gets underway at Epsom on Tuesday with the Spring Meeting – a competitive six-race card to kick off the new campaign at the Surrey track. 

Racing gets underway at 2.10 with a 13-runner handicap before rounding off at 5.05 with another big field handicap, this time with 11 set to head to post. 

The opener (2.10) gets the new season underway and it’s set to be a fast and furious 5f sprint. Last year’s winner of this race, Lihou, is back to defend his crown having returned to the turf after some less than impressive outings on the all-weather over the winter. The chief threat to the reigning champion could come from Glory Hunter, who won in the mud over this distance at Thirsk a fortnight ago. 

Race two on the card (2.40) is the Blue Riband Trial Stakes, seen by many as a trial for the Epsom Derby later this year. Chief Little Rock doesn’t hold a Derby entry but sets the standard in the Trial on Tuesday, having finished second in both the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh and the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket. Arabic Legend is worth keeping an eye on as well, second in a listed race at Salisbury last season before switching to a new yard having disappointed in the Autumn Stakes. 

The third race of the afternoon (3.20) is a class two handicap over the 1m2f trip around Epsom and the preference is for Qitaal, trained by Charlie Johnston, who returned to racing after two years off to score at Doncaster and can defy a 7lb hike in the weights here to make it two wins from his last two runs. 

Race four (3.55) sees 13 runners head to the start for the 1m4f handicap in class three and Sussex trainer Gary Moore sends Champagne Piaff to Epsom – and with a very eye catching jockey booking to boot with one of the world’s best Flat jockeys, Ryan Moore, set to get the ride. He is very much of interest in this one, but could find stern competition from Splendent, who is back at his optimum trip having previously ran over two miles and not found it to his liking. 

The penultimate race on the card (4.30) is a novice stakes over the extended one mile trip and the selection is for the Harry Charlton-trained Midair, second of nine in a Goodwood maiden and subsequently only narrowly beaten at Kempton in the final strides last time out. 

Finally, the Epsom card comes to a close (5.05) with the 1m handicap for three-year-old’s and the preference here is for Mr Baloo, who secured a third career win at Kempton last time out and a winner of a Nursery contest at Epsom back in October last year so track experience could come to the fore. 

Epsom selections – Tuesday (via Punchestown odds)

2.10 – Lihou

2.40 – Chief Little Rock

3.20 – Qitaal

3.55 – Champagne Piaff

4.30 – Midair

5.05 – Mr Baloo

Image: David Jones  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

© 2021-2022. No content may be copied without the permission of Epsom and Ewell Times Ltd.