Permian the pick for Derby

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Permian looks the value call in a wide-open renewal of the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Mark Johnston’s colt might not be your orthodox contender for the world’s most famous Flat race, but there is no doubt he has plenty going for him.

The son of Teofilo won three times from six starts as a juvenile, but looked to have his limitations exposed at the back-end of the season and after suffering defeat in a Bath handicap on his three-year-old debut, he hardly looked like a legitimate Derby hope.

However, he has made giant strides forward since, with his narrow defeat to Cracksman at this track in April followed by a dominant win at Newmarket and victory in the Dante Stakes, which has long been considered Britain’s best Derby trial.

Permian might not have the X-factor of some of his opponents, but what he does have is bags of experience, which could prove crucial in this big field.

His Dante success just about sets the standard and while the likes of Cracksman, Cliffs Of Moher and Eminent could improve past him, Permian is a solid bet to place at least at double-figure odds.

Laugh Aloud looks the one to be on in the Investec-sponsored Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

John Gosden’s Godolphin-owned filly rounded off the last campaign with a Listed success at Newmarket and after blowing away the cobwebs at Kempton, she dominated from the front at Goodwood a month ago.

Similarly positive tactics are likely to be effective around Epsom and given she has only run eight times, it is not inconceivable more improvement will be forthcoming.

Custom Cut can win the Investec Diomed Stakes at the fourth time of asking.

David O’Meara’s stable stalwart ran for his previous trainer George Kent in 2013, but has finished second and third in the last two renewals.

He returns in fine fettle after winning the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown and looks sure to be involved again.

The Investec Corporate Banking “Dash” will be fast and furious, which should bring out the best in previous winner Desert Law.

Paul Midgley’s veteran sprinter charged home to win this fiercely-competitive handicap with a degree of ease a couple of years ago.

He spent much of last season in the wilderness, but the upside is his rating dropped and he is now only 5lb higher than when striking gold here in 2015.

* Tips -

Epsom: 2.00 Drochaid, 2.35 Laugh Aloud, 3.10 Custom Cut, 3.45 Desert Law, 4.30 PERMIAN (NAP), 5.15 Barwick, 5.50 Watchable.

Doncaster: 1.55 Mishko, 2.30 Reflect Alexander, 3.05 Bella Alissa, 3.40 Sante, 4.15 Airton, 5.10 Valcartier, 5.40 Afaak.

Musselburgh: 1.40 Wigan Warrior, 2.15 Rebel Assault, 2.50 Glitter Girl, 3.25 Euro Nightmare, 4.00 Desert Dream, 4.55 Royal Brave, 5.30 Jonny Delta.

Epsom: 2.00 Drochaid, 2.35 Laugh Aloud, 3.10 Custom Cut, 3.45 Desert Law, 4.30 PERMIAN (NAP), 5.15 Barwick, 5.50 Watchable.

Double: Permian and Custom Cut.