The first Saturday in June each year can mean only one thing for racing fans, as Epsom Downs plays host to what is just about the most eagerly anticipated flat race of the entire season.
The eyes of the racing world will of course be on the Derby, but it takes more than one race to make a quality card, and the pick of the supporting action is this pedal-to-the-metal 5f sprint handicap.
Next Race: Saturday, 6th June 2020
The next race is scheduled to run on 6th June 2020. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 1st June 2019
- Winner: Ornate
- SP: 33/1
- Trainer: David C. Griffiths
- Jockey: Phil Dennis
Race InfoWatching the build up to this race, you are more than likely to hear it referred to as the fastest 5f in the game, and for once that is no idle boast. Stone Of Folca set the 5f world record over this course and distance in 2012. Aided by the 5f track being a predominantly downhill affair, this is a race for the real speedballs.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||5f||Class 2||£100,000||20 Runners||1/4 1-4|
Epsom Dash Handicap Betting Tips
Course and distance form can count for plenty here, and this year the weights are headed by the remarkable three-time winner of the race, Caspian Prince. Attempting to win this for a fourth different trainer and fourth different jockey, does he still have it in him at ten years of age? With 19 speedy rivals in opposition, he will likely need to be right at is very best, and the suspicion is the younger legs may just reel him in.
“Sprint King” Dandy Nicholls certainly lived up to his nickname in this race in sending out a record setting five winners between 1997 and 2009. Of the trainers on show this year it is two-time winner Paul Midgley who boasts the best record, making his sole entry Line Of Reason worth a second look.
Looking at the draw, it seems to be middle to high numbers which have held the edge, with seven of the past 10 winners having emerged from stall nine or above.
A real cracker in store once again, and whilst a win for Caspian Prince would likely bring the house down, we see this falling to the horse who came oh so close to reeling him in two years ago.
HATHIQ HAS A SQUEAK
The runner arriving into this race on a real upwards trajectory is the Irish raider, Hathiq. Hailing from the yard of Denis Hogan, this son of Exceed And Excel heads here seeking a hat-trick having blown his rivals away in his two most recent starts at this trip. With the most recent of those wins having come only last week, he gets in here with just a four pound penalty and looks well in on the book. He likes to do it from the front, which is what you want around here, and providing the race doesn’t come too soon, he looks likely to go very close.
MUCH TO LIKE ABOUT MUTHMIR
The class act in this year’s line-up may well be the William Haggas runner, Muthmir. Twice placed in Group 1 company, including when only narrowly beaten in the 2015 Kings Stand Stakes, he clearly isn’t quite the force of old at nine years of age, but having fallen to a mark of 105 – from a career high of 116 – he may not need to be. Third in a Group 3 over in France as recently as September last year, he makes his seasonal return in this and looks very dangerous if getting the breaks when he needs them.
SCOTT HAS A SHOT
The third runner for our shortlist is Scott Dixon’s, Dark Shot. This one put in an incredible performance in this race when second back in 2017. Taken off his toes and stone last with a furlong to go, he fairly scythed through the field to catch all bar Caspian Prince – going down by just a short head at the line. Attempting to lie up closer to the pace last year didn’t suit so well, but he was still only beaten by just under four lengths off a mark of 90. Getting in off four pounds lower here, expect to see him doing all his best work late and possibly at least hit the frame once again.
Final Verdict: Dark Shot Each Way
Muthmir looks very dangerous here, particularly with Hathiq and Copper Knight drawn close by and likely to give him a nice tow into the race. At a bigger price though we will be siding with a runner to win this at the third time of asking.
Drawn next to Caspian Prince, Dark Shot couldn’t ask for a better horse to follow to take him into this and is fancied to get in the slipstream of that trailblazer and nab them all close to home.
|2019||Ornate||33/1||David C. Griffiths||Phil Dennis|
|2018||Tanosoq||12/1||Paul Midgley||James Sullivan|
|2017||Caspian Prince||25/1||Tony Coyle||Tom Eaves|
|2016||Caspian Prince||11/1||Dean Ivory||Robert Winston|
|2015||Desert Law||16/1||Paul Midgley||Martin Lane|
|2014||Caspian Prince||9/1||Tony Carroll||Adam Kirby|
|2013||Duke Of Firenze||5/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2012||Stone Of Folca||50/1||John Best||Luke Morris|
|2011||Captain Dunne||13/2||Tim Easterby||David Allen|
|2010||Bertoliver||33/1||Stuart Williams||Jack Mitchell|
About the Epsom Dash: Blink and You Miss It on the Downs
The Epsom Dash is a handicap horse race which is run on the flat at Epsom Downs in Surrey. This particular race is seen as one of the fastest horse races in the entire world. The reasoning behind this is that almost all of the five furlongs of the race are downhill, all except for the final 100 yards. This hotly contested and prestigious race also holds the current world record for a five furlong sprint, which is 53.69 seconds, and was achieved by Stone Of Folca in 2012. It really is a blink-and-you-miss-it event.
The race was first run in 1988 when the winner was Durham Place, who ran the distance in a rather speedy 55.59 seconds. The race was originally known as the Night Rider Handicap until 1993, when it became known as the Epsom Dash. As of 2019, and the sponsorship of Investec, the race is known as the Investec Dash Handicap.
Listing The Greats
Being one of the most high profile five furlong events to take place in the racing calendar means that only the absolute best in the world of horse racing’s speedsters have a chance of achieving success in the Dash. The honours list includes the late David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls as the all-time record holding trainer with five wins from 1997, when winning with Ya Malak, to 2009 when Indian Trail claimed first place.
As for the best jockey in terms of winners of the Epsom Dash, it is the retired Robert Winston who leads the way with three wins (in 2001, 2004 and 2016). Jimmy Fortune is the only other jockey to have won the race more than once. This is surely a testament to how competitive the affair tends to be.
The winners of the race have come from a variety of different ages, and Caspian Prince found himself victorious on three occasions (in 2014, 2016 and 2017) at the ages of five, seven and eight years of age. To The Roof (in 1996 and 1998) and Bishops Court (in 1998 and 2001) have each also won the race more than once.
When looking at the recent winners of this race there are certain conclusions punters should be able to draw. First of all you need to forget considering your selection by price; in the 10 years up to 2019 alone there were two 33/1s runners, a 25/1 option and a 50/1 shot (Stone Of Folca in 2012) who were all successful. Therefore, choosing a shorter priced horse based solely on thinking that a 20/1 shot cannot romp home just isn’t the right choice for this event.
There are however some factors to note to help you make the right selection. A highly significant 17 out of the 18 winners up to 2019 had not won their previous race. 16 out of the 18 winners up to 2019 had run within six weeks of the Epsom Dash, and lastly, 12 of those 18 winners were racing from stall eight or higher.