Royal Ascot eye-catchers: Five who showed their Epsom credentials

Frankly Darling was an impressive winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes.
Frankly Darling was an impressive winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes.

With Royal Ascot now over, Nick Seddon has taken a look at five horses who showcased their Epsom credentials at the Royal meeting...

Frankly Darling (Ribblesdale Stakes)

Frankly Darling carries the familiar black and white silks of Anthony Oppenheimer, which are perhaps best known for being sported by Golden Horn, and it didn't take long for punters to connect the dots after she produced a taking display to get off the mark at Newcastle at the beginning of the month - with the daughter of Frankel quickly being shortened into 10/1 for the Epsom Oaks. She represents the exact same connections as last year's Ribblesdale winner Star Catcher, so it was no surprise to see the filly line up for at the Royal meeting, for a Group 2 contest which this year serves as a key pointer for Epsom rather than a consolation race.

Frankly Darling is bred for middle distances, and she took the step up to a mile and a half in her stride at Ascot, quickly putting the race to bed and staying on really well to the line. She was still very much learning on the job that day - as Frankie Dettori pointed out after the race - but it was hard not to be impressed, and there's likely to be plenty more to come from her yet. The undulations of Epsom will be a new obstacle for her, but the 11/4 on offer seems big bearing in mind she took care of a useful-looking field in taking fashion, and she is now a key contender for the Oaks - if she wasn't already.

Epsom Derby Free Bets

Pyledriver (King Edward VII Stakes)

Pyledriver is quickly becoming one of the stories of the season, in that he represents pretty humble connections in the grand scheme of the Epsom Derby, but he is making a habit of defying expectations. A straightforward type, Pyledriver looked a useful colt as a two-year-old, and he impressed with his staying on second in what appeared to be a warm renewal of the Group 3 Classic Trial at the beginning of the month. That form hasn't worked out as well as it perhaps promised to, and Pyledriver entered the Royal meeting as a 66/1 outsider for the Derby - while he was sent off as a pretty unconsidered 18/1 shot in the King Edward VII Stakes, behind another Epsom Derby contender in Mogul

However, Mogul proved to be a disappointment, and there was plenty to like about Pyledriver's tenacity to thwart the challenge of another O'Brien runner in Arthur's Kingdom once he had hit the front. He'll almost certainly need to take another step forward if he's going to have a serious chance at Epsom, but he's into 16/1 for the classic, and has the services of a Derby-winning jockey in the form of the hugely-experienced Martin Dwyer. There's an element of the fairytale about the plucky Pyledriver for a jockey who's riding for his father-in-law, but he's forced himself into the reckoning, and will be a lively outsider in what looks an open renewal of the Derby at the beginning of next month.

Russian Emperor and First Receiver (Hampton Court Stakes)

This is most likely going to be the one and only year that the Hampton Court Stakes serves as a port of call for Derby clues, though both Russian Emperor and First Receiver showcased their Epsom credentials by finishing first and second, respectively. The first-named only just failed to peg back his front-running stablemate Cormorant in the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown earlier this month, though his general price of 16/1 for the Derby in the aftermath hinted that he would show his best form when upped to a mile and a half. That theory seemed to ring true enough at Ascot, as he really came into his own in the stiff finish of the Hampton's 10-furlong trip, and needed every yard to reel in First Receiver and Berlin Tango. However, he left the firm impression that there would be plenty more to come from him over further yet - and his price of around 10/1 for Epsom could seem more than fair in hindsight. 

Meanwhile, First Receiver was ultimately collared in the dying strides at Ascot, though there was plenty to like about his performance, too. He was taking a sharp step up in class having won a maiden at Kempton at the beginning of the month, and looked completely at home in Group company. Seeing off the power-packed challenge of Berlin Tango in the final two furlongs perhaps just cost him for win purposes, but he's got plenty of stamina in his pedigree, so the step up to a mile and a half should bring about more improvement. Indeed, the frenetic nature of an Epsom Derby could suit his prominent racing style much better, and he rates as a lively outsider for The Queen - who is still chasing an elusive Derby success.

Epsom Derby Tips

Quadrilateral (Coronation Stakes)

Quadrilateral looked a filly right out of the top drawer when winning the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket last October, finishing her juvenile campaign unbeaten in the process, though her Oaks credentials took another knock at the Royal meeting. Her inability to settle seemed to cost her when third in the 1000 Guineas, and while her run in the Coronation Stakes was a more polished display in that regard, she ultimately found Alpine Star far too good on the run-in. There's no doubting that she's a smart filly, and there could well be more to come when stepped up in trip, but it appears as though a handful of fillies have improved past her this term, and she'll have something to prove at Epsom - for all that she's still available at around 10/1 in the betting. 

Latest Epsom Derby News

£20 Risk Free First Bet Money Back In Cash

New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. T&Cs apply. 18+
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
New customers using promo code C40 only. 1x per customer. Min £10/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets paid as 2x £15/€15 (expires after 30 days). Max £10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable amount £25. Casino bonus expires 72 hours from issue. Eligibility rules, free-bet rules, game, location, payment-method, currency restrictions, stake contributions and terms and conditions apply. 18+
Welcome Offer
#ad Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+
Bet £10 Get £30 + 60 Free Spins
New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.  Full T&Cs apply. 18+
Bet £5 Get £20 In Free Bets
Min £5 bet on the SBK. Rewards valid for 7 days. Free bets must be placed at min odds of 1.5. Exchange free bet limited to certain markets. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. 18+
Bet £10 & Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+
Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
18+ new customers only. Deposit, opt-in and place a £10 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater. Plus, a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+
£25 Bet Bundle
UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards average stake. One offer per customer, household or IP address. Free bet expires after 7 days. T&Cs apply