Epsom Oaks/Derby 2009

Ray Cochrane believes Sea The Stars will start favourite and can also claim victory in this year's Investec Epsom Derby.

The 2000 Guineas hero ran out an impressive one-and-a-half length winner at Newmarket and had the likes of Gan Amhras and Rip Van Winkle behind.

Cochrane told www.cdhorseracingtours.com: "John Oxx's Sea The Stars looks in my opinion the classiest horse in the line-up. I was so taken with his display in the Guineas - the further they went the further he drew clear.

"He is bred to go further and also importantly, he shows a very good temperament. There will be lots of 'razzmatazz' at Epsom and being able to handle himself on the way down to the start is half the battle.

"I can see Sea The Stars starting favourite on the day and believe that the form is concrete, I know Mick (Kinane) has always liked the horse and to me that is a very good indication as to his potential."

Trainer Aidan O'Brien is seeking his third winner and still has nine entries in the field of 20 at the moment - but Cochrane believes only Fame and Glory and Rip Van Winkle are classy enough to be figure in the shake-up.

Cochrane commented: "It will be hard to keep Fame and Glory and Rip Van Winkle out of the frame, they are by far and away the best of the Aidan O'Brien Ballydole bunch.

"Looking back at this year's trials only Black Bear Island (Dante Stakes winner at York) might possibly finish well - coming off a good gallop which we'll get at Epsom."

Brian Meehan's Crowded House flopped in the Dante Stakes (starting the 2/1 favourite), and Cochrane stated: "He was a big disapointment at York, he just didn't travel. If he runs you'd have to think connections would be hopeful.

"But there really isn't much time between now and the race and to be honest I think his time will come another day - don't write him off yet - if not at Epsom his time will come again."

Saeed bin Suroor's Kite Wood - an expensive winter purchase by Godolphin - will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, for whom Cochrane acts as agent, however Cochrane readily brushed aside his chances.

Cochrane explained: "Frankie didn't actually say a great deal after his run in the Dante Stakes (finished fifth). Perhaps it was a case that he just needed the race?

"However, Kite Wood needs to improve in lumps to figure in the shake-up at Epsom - if he wasn't good enough to finish in the frame in a Derby trial I don't see how he can in the race itself."

Turning his attentions to the Investec Epsom Oaks Cochrane was bullish about the chances of the Michael Bell-trained Sariska, winner of the Musidora Stakes at York.

Cochrane told www.cdhorseracingtours.com: "Sariska won up at York doing hand springs, she was crusing two out and when Jamie Spence said go that was it - she put in a very, very good performance that day.

"Looking at the rest of the runners you'd have to say 'what is there to beat her?' so for me she is certainly the one most likely to win."

John Gosden's Rainbow View tasted defeat for the first time in her life when a beaten odds-on favourite (8/11) in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but has been delighting connections in her recent work.

Cochrane concluded: "I think you have to respect the chances of Rainbow View, let's not forget she finished a close fifth at Newmarket and was unbeaten in four starts before that.

"But I don't buy into the theory about the ground at Newmarket going against Rainbow View. A good horse can go on any ground."


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