As I said in my blog introduction I occasionally wander into other sports, this article is the first of the diversions. Today I look at my favourite race of the year, the Epsom Derby. This race is a race like no other, the passion and noise from the crowd, the exquisite range of jockeys and trainers, the presence of the queen, I really could go on all day. This year is arguably the most exciting for me since I’ve been going because the field is so open, which is why I’m going review all the horses for you including my tip, VENICE BEACH.
J O Murphy T S bin Suroor O Godolphin
This colt has been being raced to build progressively to this distance. He won a seven furlong race at Doncaster convincingly which forced Godolphin to step him up in trip. He finished third by a neck to highly rated colt Rivet in second, who was himself behind Derby entry Eminent. He was then stepped up again to 1m2f where he only found one to good, Fellow Derby runner Permian, by only 3/4 lengths. He kept on towards the finish which suggests he is open to further progress, with Permian’s form proving good enough to be added to Classic field. Strong E/W value if continuing his progression over the extra two furlongs.
Best Solution 10/1
J P Cosgrave T S bin Suroor O Godolphin
This 3 year old comes into the race fresher than most having only raced once since February. He won that race convincingly over just half a furlong shorter than the Derby Trip. That race puts him right in the picture for this race but my worry is his inconsistent form. He has raced more most of his competitors but has regularly found himself behind horses in most including most recently Thunder Snow, a massive 38 lengths ahead over a mile at Meydan. That horse just finished behind previous Derby favourite Churchill, and with that in mind, I think
he is better opposed.
J? T A P O’Brien O Mr D Smith, Mrs J Maginer, Mr M Tabor
This horse has been backed heavily over the last two days because of the weather on Tuesday, I cannot say I agree. He Finished behind three of Saturday’s field in his last three starts including Best Solution, twice behind Douglas Macarthur. On the basis he looks to be half the price of horses that have bested him and looked as strong I would look to those horses for E/W value.
Cliffs Of Moher 10/3
J? T A P O’Brien O Mrs J Maginer
Currently the favourite for this years race and understandably so. He won his last outing over 10 1/2 furlongs, beating Bay Of Poets by one and a half lengths. He kept on towards the finish implying the slight step up in distance will be no problem. My only problem with backing this horse is at 7/2 in such a competitive race, can you justify such a short price. A P O’Brien clearly rates this son of Galileo so if you fancy it, it’s probably worth a punt.
J L Dettori T J H M Gosden O Mr A E Oppenheimer
The second favourite for the Derby has drifted as O’Briens horses have been flying in, but that isn’t to say Gosden’s Haven’t either. The unbeaten Cracksman clearly likes the track here as he won the Derby Trial back in April. I love my Gosden colts and this one is definitely on my shortlist but I have to prefer those that have raced more recently. My worry is that he will lack sharpness and at his price you cannot back him E/W. Include him in combination tricasts and forecasts.
Crowned Eagle 33/1
J A Atzeni T J H M Gosden O Lady Bamford
A winner on his last two outings , the latest over ten furlongs. That was only a class four at Windsor and this seems too tougher test. Along with the other placed horses, he did come away from the rest of the field, but the fact he had to be shaken up close to home means the extra two furlongs worry me. I think there are other horses at this value with more favourable arguments to be made so for me I’d oppose.
Douglas Macarthur 20/1
J ? T A P O Brien O M J Jooste, Mrs J Maginer, M Tabor, D Smith
This is a horse I can get behind E/W. He’s finished ahead of Capri twice and proved progressive in Cl1 Grp3 ten furlong races. With that in mind he is open to further progression following his Leopardstown victory and O’Brien sounded very positive about his chances. My only worry is he did seem to be going all out and he might fade on the home straight. If he can continue his progress he is sure to be in the picture and if you fancy him he is worth an E/W value bet.
Dubai Thunder 20/1
J A Kirby T S bin Suroor O Godolphin
The unknown quantity in my mind. He thrashed a field of 18 runners at Newbury over 10 furlongs but that was a class four. He was ten lengths ahead of the field and was staying on. The favourite was 17 1/2 lengths behind but all were lightly raced so it is hard to confirm whether that is good form. It does mean he is good in large fields and given a front running position could be there at the finish. Easy to make an argument for and one of the best E/W shots.
J J Crowley T M Meade O Sir Peter Vela
Having won two races over a mile, he then lost his unbeaten seasonal record to Churchill, finishing 6th but only 3 1/2 lengths behind. He faded in the final furlong which really worries me and perhaps that race came to soon after his last race but he his easy to oppose. He is untried over further than a mile and looked to not have the stamina in his Cl1 Grp1. At 7/1 he has no E/W value, the only positive is Jim Crowley, the champion jockey, saddling the Frankel colt, but for me oppose.
Finn McCool 50/1
J? T A P O Brien O Mrs Maginer, M Tabor, D Smith, Mrs O’Brien
A horse with proven stamina finishing third in a Cl1 Listed Event over further but 7th of 8, 13 1/2 lengths behind Venice beach over 12 1/2 furlongs. Only won over 8 furlongs but cases can be made since he lasts the extra distance. Could be involved with his yard in sterling form but he would require a lot more to be in the frame when the winning post approaches.
Glendacam Glory 50/1
J J Fortune T J H M Gosden O Angus Dundee Distillers Plc
Second of eight on his last outing 3 1/4 lengths behind fellow entrant Best Solution. It will be interesting if he can progress from that as he was flying home and I wonder if the experience and extra half furlong would see him a lot closer this time round. If you fancy best solution he is definitely worth an E/W value bet and possibly a straight forecast. I like this colt and the price makes it an attractive proposition.
J ? T J H M Gosden O Mr Nizar Amwar
Been progressing whilst upped in distance and really good form. Won his last outing over eleven furlongs at Goodwood, beating Fierce Impact by five lengths. Main concern is how fresh he will be having had four recent runs but not to be written off. If you wanted to back one of Gosden’s colts, this could be the one, with winning form and E/W value.
J James Doyle T J H M Gosden O Emma Capon, A Lloyd Webber, Rachel Hood
Another horse where the distance isn’t a problem but all of those races have been much lower class. His speed has been inconsistent running with pace in his most recent race, winning over 11 furlongs, but slowly in April when bested by Monarchs Glen. The price gives the expected performance and would require much more to be competitive, especially when his best performances have been in fields of five runners, oppose.
J W Buick T M Johnston O Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
No Problem with the Distance and only lost to Cracksman in the Derby Trial by a Shoulder making him a leading contender. I am very surprised he is at this price on that form, especially when Cracksman is untested past that distance. He has won twice since and other than my fancy, this is my second choice. Raced frequently, freshness is a concern but there is no doubt over this horses class. Back either E/W or to win, if you fancy Cracksman then 1-2 a possibility.
J ? T J P O’Brien O Mr Lloyd J Williams
Well beaten by Permian last time out but race before beat fellow entry Douglas Macarthur who sits at shorter odds. The distance is a real worry for me, I did think he might have been targeting the French mile. 25/1 seems to be a bit long in the odds but I find it hard to make an argument for him and its another horse who makes my oppose list.
J F M Berry T S Kirk O Mr H Balasuriya
The distance is a huge concern having never raced over nine furlongs, and behind Khalidi that day. Has gone up against some of the best across his career so far though so if he can do the distance, he should be right amongst them. Only two wins in his career so far but has only twice failed to place in ten races which will encourage E/W betters. I think this horse is best watched with the distance so untested.
The Anvil 50/1
J ? T A P O’Brien O D Smith, Mrs Maginer, M Tabor, Mrs O’Brien
Third in O’Brien’s clean sweep in the Chester Vase gives this horse good credentials for an E/W bet at this Distance. The only worry is the quantity of quality horses in this race which may squeeze him out of betting interest. He has good form but it may be best to look at the two that finished ahead of him. R L Moore chose to saddle my pick and the winner in that race which points to where the horses are rated amongst stable companions.
Venice Beach 14/1
J? T A P O’Brien O Smith, Mrs Maginer, Tabor, Flaxman Stables
Four runs and two wins, both over Epsom Derby distance. He has never not made the final frame and is clearly a big player for O’Brien’s team. His proven pedigree at this distance is a plus, his two victories also a plus and an in-form stable make him a front runner. His high odds also make him an great E/W bet. He is my bet for the Derby and it’s hard to argue against him.
Wings Of Eagles 25/1
J? T A P O’Brien O Mr D Smith, Mrs J Maginer, Mr M Tabor
His only run at this distance he found himself 1 1/4 lengths behind stablemate Venice Beach. That form could put him in the frame come the winning post and his odds are large enough for an E/W bet. Again Moore’s choice to saddle Venice Beach that day would suggest he has more potential that this colt, back E/W/.
Diore Lia 500/1
J Gina Mangan T J R Jenkins O Ms M Todd
A lot have questioned this horses inclusion, my opinion is if the rules allow it then there is no need for all this discussion. The horse has run at Epsom before and finished second last, possibly not suiting the course, at Lingfield over a longer distance the filly improved to fifth but shouldn’t get closer over an extra half furlong. Will this filly be the Leicester of the Derby? No, oppose.
1 Venice Beach