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This is the best renewal of the Derby for many a long summer with the likes of Sir Percy, second in the 2,000 Guineas, and Horatio Nelson, arguably last year’s best two year old, joining battle, writes Charles Andrews, the Investor. But if the enigmatic Visindar lives up to his hype he will add that soupçon of true magic to the race.

There are caveats. The bare form of his three easy wins in France is no match for some of his more battle-hardened English and Irish peers. Two statistics will also make even the most bullish Visindar backers pause: no French-trained horse has won the Derby for 30 years and no André Fabre runner has finished in the top half of the field.

This is a classic example of lies, damned lies and statistics. Fabre is one of the best trainers in the world. For a man of few words he has been consistently up-beat about Visindar. Fabre has won an Italian Derby this term and holds a nap hand in Sunday’s French equivalent. Even his second-string at Epsom on Saturday, Linda’s Lad, has place prospects. No trainer has a better crop of middle-distance three year olds and the fact that Visindar is pitched into the richest race of all is a tip in itself.

Of the rest of the field, Aidan O’Brien’s Septimus offers the best form. He won the Dante, the best trial in recent years, in good style. Having been abandoned by Kieren Fallon for doubtful stayer Horatio Nelson, Septimus can be backed each-way.

Epsom selections:

3:00 – Home Affairs (win)

4:20 (The Derby) – 1. Visindar

2. Septimus 3. Linda’s Lad

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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