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Weekend Winners: Macduff backed to bring home Derby honours at Epsom

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The Weekend Winners team are back with a look at this weekend’s Classics, with angles aplenty ahead of a big weekend of racing…

Kate Tracey is joined by Declan Rix of attheraces.com and BetVictor’s Sam Boswell to preview the Derby and Prix du Jockey Club.

The team began the show with a look at Saturday’s Epsom classic, with the panel in disagreement…

Declan Rix…

“It’s an open race on the face of it if City Of Troy doesn’t get back to his best. On peak performances, he is comfortably the best horse in this race but I’m going to have to swing with Macduff. He was a really nice Juvenile last season, getting better and better with each run. He finished his campaign with an effort in the Royal Lodge behind Ghostwriter and Capulet – that form looks really good now doesn’t it?

Macduff Is Declan Rix'S Selection
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Macduff is Declan Rix’s selection

“I thought it was a marginal career best on his seasonal debut in the Classic trial at Sandown, he looked a happy horse being back in the game. He shaped a little better than the distance beaten, getting tired in the 100 yards, and I suspect he’ll come forward for the run. He’s bred to be a good horse, he’s by Sea The Stars and his dam is from the family of Kingman – it’s a proper Juddmonte pedigree. The better his ground, the better his chance.”

Kate Tracey…

“The main play for me is going to be Ambiente Friendly. Rab Havlin is taking his opportunity and he’s a fine jockey, but I don’t understand why you would change a winning formula. Callum Shepherd got him so well balanced coming down the hill at Lingfield, and I almost like the fact he’s so in the jockey’s hands.”

“That run up the hill from the gates to the first bend is a crucial part of the Derby and you need a horse that carries you there. He’s not a straightforward horse but I make him the most straightforward play.”

Sam Boswell…

“I’ve come back to City Of TroyI know he’s going to have to overcome a dreadful run in the 2,000 Guineas. We saw last year what happened with Auguste Rodin, although I know that run wasn’t as bad. The draw in one is not ideal but this is a race over one mile and four and I wonder whether we’re going to see a change of tactics here. Most of his runs last year he came prominent to the fore, but perhaps we’ll see a change here. I’d rather have a better draw but I think he’ll drift before the off, and if I can get 4/1 or 9/2 I think he becomes a bet. Redemption awaits.”