Our racing expert marks your card for this afternoon's action at Epsom.
The opening 7f nursery looks competitive but James Tate’s ROYAL VARIETY is entitled to go well on her handicap debut off what looks a fair opening mark of 69, having shaped with promise in her qualifying runs. A sister to Listed-placed 1m2f winner Linguistic, her best effort came in a Thirsk novice two starts back when staying on into fourth just behind a now 80-rated runner and two places ahead of Divinity, who has won well since to boost the form.
Her most recent outing came at Nottingham 14 days ago and while she could only finish last of the five runners, it didn’t help that she had no pace to chase and didn’t settle at the back of the field. They should go a bit quicker up front today, which should help bring her stamina into play more, and it’s not hard to imagine Jamie Spencer bringing her with a well-timed run to land the spoils.
Mark Johnston’s CAPE ISLAY is fancied to get the better of main market rival War Eagle in the 1m1/2f maiden. The daughter of Cape Cross shaped with considerable promise on her racecourse debut at Nottingham, staying on nicely from well off the pace into third behind the aforementioned Divinity, who enjoyed an uncontested lead. That effort can be marked up as she looked green and wasn’t the best positioned given the way the race was run. Sure to improve for that experience, she runs here in preference to a couple of alternative engagements later in the week and in a race her stable has won for the last two years. UPDATE – all the money has been for War Eagle – into 4/6 from 7/4 – and that suggests he’s been working well at home and is expected to open his account this afternoon.
BECCA CAMPBELL looks the answer to the 1m4f handicap on the card. Eve Johnson Houghton’s has been in decent form of late, including when finishing second over course and distance two starts under today’s apprentice rider Georgia Cox. She would have finished closer than fifth on her most recent outing at Chepstow had Cox not given her too much to do and the latter will be under strict instructions to engage top gear a bit sooner this afternoon. Given that scenario, the five-year-old should be able to go close off a 1lb mark lower than her last winning one and with her ability to handle soft ground proven.
All odds were correct at time of posting.