Andy Ayres has the latest paddock gossip ahead of the Derby and picks out his best bets for Saturday's racing at Epsom

THERE’S AN awful lot of money on the line at Epsom today.

Lord knows how much the Investec Derby winner will be worth when he trots off to stud, but Aidan O’Brien can’t afford to miss that bonus ball and is holding plenty of lottery tickets.

Meanwhile, the home team is headed by dapper Hughie Morrison who wore his office carpet out deciding whether to supplement TELECASTER.

Hughie finally hit the `go’ button after a smoother than silk gallop on Monday morning and his young gun is fancied to give the Ballydoyle brigade plenty to do.

Its dollars to donuts the Buck House telly was tuned into racing from Sandown on Thursday night, where The Queen’s Divine Covey (3-1 to 10-11) was bet like a good thing in the opener.

Unfortunately she didn’t look strong enough to knock the skin off a rice pudding and was beaten the length of a Heathrow runway behind 33-1 rag Graceful Magic.

The Billy Bunters got a bit back with Fox Leicester (11-4 to 5-6), who was one of five winners on the day for Brazilian dynamo Silvestre de Sousa.

There’s more chance of Tony Adams and Arsene Wenger sitting at the Spurs end in Madrid tonight than this fella giving one a poor ride and he’s a proper punters’ pal.

James Fanshawe’s Pondus (11-4 to 7-4) put up the night’s best performance when he steamrolled a fair field in the 1m2f novice.

You could buy a leg in Eden Hazard with the amount of dosh that arrived for this fella near the off and he’s definitely one for the notebook.

By the way, let’s give the Sandown executive a pat on the back for managing to get the horses in the paddock on time after last week’s debacle.

I’m told trainers were left in no doubt fines would be issued if they didn’t toe-the-line and those strong-arm tactics seem to have done the trick.

Nothing gets track regulars moaning more than admission prices and all manner of ruses have been used to nip-in without actually handing over any readies.

A character named `Bang On It’ Mick was a master at the tried and trusted method of plucking an owner’s name from the paper before nipping to the racecourse office and claiming their ticket.

Saturday sizzlers

We’ve got TELECASTER (4.30, Epsom) on our side in the big`un at Epsom today, but the rest of the card is best left to Sir Michael Stoute.

Newmarket’s cricketing knight has been in blinding form and has got massive shouts with VERACIOUS (2.35, Epsom) and ZAAKI (3.10, Epsom) in a brace of Group 3’s.

Even more tempting is Stoutey’s unexposed and improving SEXTANT (5.15, Epsom).

This former juvenile delinquent looked like a new man when dotting-up at Ascot last time and can nick this before have a crack at something bigger.


Now Mick is a proper cockney, craftier than a bag of monkeys and someone who knew all the chaps that mattered back in his day.

Anyway, he rocked-up for a quiet mid-week card at Leicester, found the slightly snooty lady who ran owners and trainers and told her he’d got a runner and was there to collect his ticket.

“And who are you?” she asked.

“Stavros Niarchos…..” Mick replied, relying on her knowledge of Greek shipping tycoons being a bit iffy.

The lady stared at Mick in his wide-awake suit and John Motson sheepskin, before saying:

“That’s fine Mr Niarchos …..and would you like the complimentary fish and chips voucher?”

Adam `Batman’ West is rapidly becoming known as a double shrewd operator and landed a tickle with Couldn’t Could She (11-2 to 9-4) at Brighton on Tuesday.

That didn’t do much for the mood of Swindon Town chairman Lee Power, who had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp after his well fancied Fair Power chased the winner home.


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