Horse Talk: Ocovango can shock Dawn Approach in Investec Derby at Epsom

French raider Ocovango is fancied to exploit any chinks in the armour of hot favourite Dawn Approach and secure victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

Dawn Approach is unbeaten in seven starts and looked better than ever when racing to a five-length victory in the 2,000 Guineas on his sole start as a three-year-old.

But all of those victories have been at a mile or less and, although his sire New Approach won the 2008 Derby, he is not certain to get the mile and a half distance of Saturday’s race.

Yet Ocovango, who is trained at Chantilly by Andre Fabre, is sure to stay and is unbeaten in three starts. His most recent success came in a Group 2 at St Cloud – a race that his trainer also used as a stepping stone for his 2011 Derby winner Pour Moi.

Ocovango looks great value at 8-1 and is taken to beat Dawn Approach with Dante Stakes winner Libertarian (18-1) third. Mirsaale (100-1) is the best outsider.

The Derby is preceded by the Investec Oaks tomorrow (Friday), which can go to the Aidan O’Brien-trained Moth – an eye-catching third in the 1,000 Guineas on May 5.

Her form has been franked by the victory of second-placed Just The Judge in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, and she is also fancied to prevail from Banoffee and Liber Nauticus.

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Elsewhere, St Nicholas Abbey can secure a hat-trick of victories in the Coronation Cup on Saturday.

Simon Jackson is a freelance racing journalist based in north west London. He can be reached at for press and PR enquiries, or racing/betting related news stories and features.