Epsom Derby Preview and Tips

Find out what our horse-racing expert makes of the field for the Epsom Derby on Saturday.

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It’s the world’s most iconic Flat race and on Saturday, a full month later than originally planned, a unique running of The Derby will take place on the Epsom Downs.

The crowd will be missing but a fantastic line-up of 16 colts are set to do battle in a wide open renewal of the premier Classic, as Aidan O’Brien bids for a history-making eighth win in the race.

Our expert has analysed the race and his thoughts are below.

King to be Crowned?

Ed Walker’s English King (11/4*) has been favourite for The Derby since his impressive victory in Lingfield’s Trial last month. He powered home off what was a good pace, seeing off Berkshire Rocco in good style. That rival chased home Santiago at Royal Ascot subsequently, before the Ballydoyle inmate went on to win the Irish Derby.

Frankie Dettori is a high-profile booking to ride English King and he’s got all the hallmarks of a Derby horse. His draw in stall one may be perceived as a slight negative (no winner from there this century).

Kameko Has Form Claims

Having won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month with a strong late charge, Andrew Balding’s Kameko (4/1) brings the best available form into this race. He, like English King, will hope to halt a run of three Irish-trained Derby winners in four years by securing a ‘home win’.

There are some fears regarding his stamina for the mile-and-a-half trip and arguably that’s the only reason Kameko isn’t favourite. The Guineas form looks to be rock-solid with Wichita and Pinatubo having gone well since at Royal Ascot. If Oisin Murphy’s mount gets home he is the one to beat and we’ve seen already that he relishes a battle.

Emperor Can Call O’Brien’s Tune

Aidan O’Brien’s quest for an eighth Derby win is typically strong, with the Ballydoyle supremo having six contenders in a 16-runner race. Ryan Moore has chosen 5/1 chance Mogul, disappointing in both starts either side of his winter layoff. The reports from his homework are strong.

That leaves Seamie Heffernan, winner of the Irish Derby last weekend, to partner RUSSIAN EMPEROR (13/2), winner of the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot last month when he stayed on strongly from an unpromising position to collar First Receiver. He is bred to get this trip, is in-form and has a rider oozing confidence bidding to win this race for the second year running. He looks the one to be with.

The remaining Ballydoyle players are Amhran Na Bhfiann (William Buick), Mythical (James Doyle), Serpentine (Emmet McNamara) and Vatican City (Padraig Beggy) – the last-named was described this week by his trainer as an “incredibly interesting horse” and could have a big say if his stamina holds out.

Dwyer’s Mount May Pyle on

If one horse is being ignored somewhat in the betting then it might be PYLEDRIVER at 16/1 for William Muir and Martin Dwyer; winning rider on Sir Percy in 2006.

He was nothing out of the ordinary last year but looks to be going forward nicely now. He was second in Kempton’s Classic Trial on his return and then won the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot on his first tilt at this mile-and-a-half trip.

He had Mohican Heights in third and Mogul in fourth that afternoon, yet the latter is much shorter in the betting now.

Pyledriver was very much on top at the line and looked to be getting stronger with every stride. His owners are small-time by the standards of this race and no doubting it would be a fairytale if he scores. From a punting point of view, it’s hard to imagine he’d be quite as big a price were he owned by a more fashionable team and he’s got a big run in him with Muir quietly confident in the run-up.

We also have the inside track with a betting form guide for The Oaks.

Epsom Derby: Betting Odds

Event finished - Check out the latest markets

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Enda is a journalist who specialises in horse racing, especially the action in the UK and Ireland, and has shared his racing betting tips on a number of well-known publications and websites over the last 10 years.
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