AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SILVESTRE DE SOUSA: Epsom Friday (Oaks Day)

The first of two days at the Investec Derby meeting at Epsom gets under way on Friday with the feature being the Investec Oaks where I ride Lavender’s Blue for Amanda Perrett. More about her chances later, but it’s exciting to ride one with a real chance in a Classic. There is always a terrific atmosphere at Epsom and Derby day on Saturday is like no other on the calendar. The noise, buzz and smells are unlike anywhere else you ride as a jockey. I remember a few years ago heading down to the start for one race at the track on Derby Day and getting a whiff of a barbecue! I was starving and riding at 8st 2lb and hadn’t had any lunch so it was painful. Anyway, here are my thoughts on my rides on Oaks Day…



RAYONG (2.00pm Epsom Investec Woodcote Stakes)

I’ll be putting on the blue and white King Power silks for the opening race which I’ll be wearing aboard Bangkok in the Investec Derby itself. Hopefully I can carry them to victory aboard Rayong who won well for Karl Burke from a wide draw on debut at Carlisle. That was the same race last year’s winner took on the way to Epsom so that is a positive. The reality is that this is a big step up and it will be tough to beat the likes of Pinatubo and Misty Grey. We will give it a good go though!

MASHAM STAR (2.35pm Investec Mile)

A typically competitive looking Epsom handicap where I ride Masham Star for Mark Johnston. He was a good second for me at Chester last weekend and comes here in good form. The big negative is stall 14 as it won’t be easy from there but hopefully with a bit of luck we can keep out of trouble.

MORANDO (3.10pm Epsom Investec Coronation Cup)

Another one for King Power, but this time it’s Andrew Balding’s Morando in the Group One Coronation Cup. He was brilliant at Chester last time when conditions were in his favour, but this will be tougher on faster ground. He definitely seems to have improved but has it all to do against the likes of Kew Gardens, Lah Ti Dar and Old Persian. Not to mention Salouen on whom I came within a whisker of winning this 12 months ago.

LAVENDER’S BLUES (4.30pm Epsom Investec Oaks)

The big race of the day is the Investec Oaks where I’m thrilled to be riding Lavender’s Blues for Amanda Perrett.

She made a real impression on her debut at Newmarket last month and stepped up on that again at Newbury last time. I actually beat her aboard Queen Power but she is a filly we like a lot so that was some performance.

She will need to improve again if she is to trouble the best of these, but she is entitled to take her chance and if her stamina lasts out she should be competitive.

John Gosden holds a strong hand with his two fillies and Aidan O’Brien’s Pink Dogwood is reportedly very good.

HAPPY POWER (5.15pm Epsom Investec Surrey Stakes)

I ride Happy Power for Andrew Balding in the Surrey Stakes and he’s another one that wouldn’t want the ground to get too quick. He was a good winner at Newbury last month and followed that up with a good run behind his elders at Haydock. This looks a really hot renewal with Angel’s Hideaway and Space Blues looking hard to beat.

NOBLEMAN’S NEST (5.50pm Epsom Investec Zebra Handicap)

First run of the season for Simon Crisford’s Nobleman’s Nest who I won nicely aboard at Yarmouth last September. That was a good step forward and I’m hoping he can build on that from just a 4lb higher mark. However this is his first run of the season so it won’t be easy.

Good luck


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