The Betfred Epsom Derby was first run in 1780, a year on from the inaugural running of the Epsom Oaks and was won by Diomed. Initially run on a Thursday at Epsom and then traditionally on the first Wednesday in June until 1994 when it moved to its current Saturday slot. Due to a clash with the FA Cup final this season, the Derby is being run far earlier in the day than would ordinarily be the case. The race is open to three-year-old colts and fillies and is run over one-and-a-half miles.
When looking back over the past 20 renewals of the race, a time of 2:31.33 was set by Workforce in 2010, which is the quickest time recorded over that period. Workforce was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore. The slowest winning time recorded in the same time frame was set in 2016 when Harzand won in a time of 2:40.09, the late Pat Smullen rode and Dermot Weld trained the winner.
The leading trainer in the Epsom Derby over the last 20 renewals is Aidan O’Brien who has won the race six times with those six winners coming from Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings Of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019) and Serpentine (2020). Other trainers who have recorded multiple wins in the Epsom Derby include Sir Michael Stoute (4 wins) and Charlie Appleby (2 wins). There are two trainers who have not had the best of times over the last 20 renewals in the Epsom Derby, Saeed bin Suroor has sent a total of 11 runners to the race without recording any wins whilst Andrew Balding has sent out 10 without a winner.
There are two leading jockeys in this year’s renewal of the Epsom Derby. Over the last two decades, both Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori have both won the race twice. Moore’s winners have been with Workforce (2010) and Ruler Of The World (2013). Dettori’s winners have been with Authorized (2007) and Golden Horn (2015). There is one jockey who has not had the best of times in the Epsom Derby. Incredibly Jamie Spencer has ridden in the race a total of 12 times to date and has as yet to win. Can he make it 13th time lucky?
Stats suggest that the winners of this race head here from either York or Newmarket. 6 winners of the Derby ran at York previously, whilst five ran at Newmarket.
I have listed the runners for this year’s renewal and given a brief assessment of their chances below along with my expert horse racing tips for the big race on Saturday afternoon.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Seamie Heffernan
Winless since scoring on his debut at Dundalk last August. He has been beaten in multiple group races at lower levels than this so hard to see him making a major impact on this field. He was a solid second on his seasonal reappearance at Chester last time out in the Chester Vase, but has almost seven lengths to find with Arrest on that running. Most likely to be one of the also-rans here as he didn’t seem to see out this step up to a mile-and-a-half.
Trainer: John and Thady Gosden
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Showed lots of promise last year when winning races at Sandown and Ffos Las before finding only Dubai Mile a head too strong in a Group 1 race at Saint-Cloud last October. He relished the step up to a mile-and-a-half when winning the Chester Vase last month and put enough space between himself and Adelaide River to show that he cannot be underestimated here. His yard has won this race before and Frankie Dettori who knows him well has been booked to ride. Looks to be a leading contender in a wide-open renewal.
Trainer: Ralph Beckett
Jockey: Rob Hornby
Artistic Star is undefeated in two runs for Ralph Beckett but has as yet to show that he is fully up to this grade. He has won a maiden and a novice stakes race but that is a far cry from what is needed to win this. This is his first run of the campaign and his first attempt at the trip so there are lots of questions to be answered. He is sired by Galileo who won this for Aidan O’Brien back in 2001. Galileo has sired five previous winners of this race since, so he cannot be completely dismissed.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Auguste Rodin was touted as being a triple crown horse at the end of last season by his shrewd trainer. That plan went up in smoke as he turned in a lifeless performance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He was beaten over 22 lengths by Chaldean and now has serious questions to answer. The yard is in much better form now and having won this race five times, O’Brien would not send him here unless he was back to his best. The problem is that others have been campaigned better and already have form in the book. It would be foolish to write him off but based on his last run, others are preferred.
Dear My Friend
Trainer: Charlie Johnston
Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Having won on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle, a lot was expected from Dear My Friend in the Dante at York last time out. He was far too free for his own good and paid the price late on as he succumbed to seven rivals on the dash for the line. He will have his work cut out for him here as the uniqueness of the track will not help him settle any better. He looks a little out of his depth here and should struggle to reverse form with The Foxes.
Trainer: Charlie Johnston
Jockey: Daniel Muscutt
Dubai Mile was completely unfancied for the 2000 Guineas and it has to be said he somewhat defied expectations to finish fifth to Chaldean. Prominent from the outset, the son of Roaring Lion probably found the one-mile trip a bit on the sharp side and he can be expected to improve now that he steps up significantly in trip to a mile-and-a-half. He was good enough to finish second to The Foxes in the Royal Lodge Stakes last September and was only beaten half-a-length. In what is a wide-open renewal of this race, he could well go close to providing Charlie Johnston with his first winner of it.
King of Steel
Trainer: Roger Varian
Jockey: Kevin Stott
Was good enough to win on his debut for David Loughnane and put some four lengths between himself and Nader King on debut at Nottingham last October. He was then sent to the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster and whether the race come too soon or the ground was too bad is open for debate. He was easily put in his place by Auguste Rodin on that occasion. His breeding suggests that he won’t get much further than a mile and although he makes his debut for Roger Varian today, this looks as though he has been pretty much thrown in at the deep end. Unlikely to stay and others are preferred.
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: William Buick
Military Order has won his last three races with the minimum of fuss including at Lingfield most recently where he won the Derby Trial. He justified favouritism to see off a challenge from Waipiro over this trip on what is a very similar turning track. He should be able to confirm the form with that rival and given that his yard has won two of the last five renewals of this race, he is very likely to be primed for this occasion. He has done everything asked of him thus far and he could well prove the one to beat.
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Jockey: Richard Kingscote
Passenger only came and won his first-ever race at Newmarket over a mile back in April and put some three lengths between himself and Kathab. That form doesn’t look strong enough in itself but he can be considered an unlucky third when he competed in the Dante just a month later. Richard Kingscote who rode him was repeatedly denied a clear run, so will hopefully find this longer trip more in their favour. Sir Michael knows exactly what type of horse it takes to win a Derby and the fact that he has been supplemented for this race has to be respected. They clearly think they can mix it with the Gosden horse as well as the Godolphin one and have every right to be on the premises.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Wayne Lordan
Struggled to make an impact as a juvenile and was beaten on both of his starts as a two-year-old. He clearly matured over the winter as he made no mistake at the third time of asking winning a maiden at Dundalk at the end of March. He progressed from there to line up in the listed Dee Stakes at Chester where Ryan Moore ensured that he was kept handy throughout. The pair readily asserted themselves in the closing stages and they pulled almost two lengths clear of Alder. He is completely unproven at this level and may well struggle as a consequence. His sire Dubawi is zero from six with his offspring in this race so that is another massive negative.
Trainer: Jessica Harrington
Jockey: Shane Foley
Had some three lengths to spare over Up And Over in the recent Group 3 Derby Trial at Leopardstown in what was an impressive performance. He seems to have improved for the extra distance, but on breeding, ten furlongs should be his maximum trip. The extra couple of furlongs here may not suit despite his yard being in quite good form. It is likely to be much better ground here than what he has faced in his career so far so that too is a concern. Likely to go well for a long way but may lack the finishing kick to see out his race.
Trainer: Andrew Balding
Jockey: Oisin Murphy
Looks to be one of the best hopes that Andrew Balding has ever had to win this race for the first time, despite ten previous attempts. The son of Churchill improved from his debut run at Newmarket this season to land the Dante Stakes at York just last month and was given a well-judged ride from Oisin Murphy to deny White Birch and Passenger. He should be comfortable enough with this extra couple of furlongs and he may well continue on an upward trajectory.
Trainer: Ed Walker
Jockey: Tom Marquand
Waipiro made a successful winning reappearance in a novices’ race at Newmarket back in April. Having been beaten almost a dozen lengths on his only run last season, expectations were not high. He defied massive odds to see storm to a convincing win under Tom Marquand and he deservedly was upped in grade for his next appearance. He lined up in the Derby Trial under Rob Hornby and was always prominent. Whilst he had no issues with the trip, he couldn’t quite cope with Military Order and may struggle to reverse the form here.
Trainer: John Joseph Hanlon
Jockey: Colin Keane
White Birch has done nothing wrong this season and may have just bumped into one in the Dante last time out when just touched off by The Foxes. He was slow into his stride that day but as the race progressed, his chances improved bit by bit. He kept on well in the closing stages and perhaps this longer trip will suit him better and he could well reverse the form. He proved that good to firm ground was no issue for him and has every right to improve again. He cannot be left out of calculations in this wide-open renewal.
Auguste Rodin 11/4, Military Order 7/2, Passenger 5/1, Arrest 6/1, The Foxes 10/1, Sprewell 11/1, Dubai Mile 14/1, White Birch 14/1, Waipiro 16/1, San Antonio 33/1, Artistic Star 40/1, Adelaide River 66/1, King Of Steel 66/1, Dear My Friend 80/1
All odds are correct at the time of writing.
Betfred Epsom Derby Betting Tips
The Charlie Appleby team have been a bit in and out of form this season so far but MILITARY ORDER has been a leading light for Godolphin. He won his trial with the minimum of fuss and turned away the opposition one by one. He is a full brother to Adayar, who won this for the same connections back in 2021. Being a son of Frankel, he is built to be courageous and genuine and looks like the one they all have to beat.
Passenger has to be rated as a threat as it could be argued that he would have won the Dante Stakes at York with a clear run. Richard Kingscote will not want to find himself in a similar situation here with his mount having been supplemented for a hefty fee earlier in the week. Sir Michael Stoute has an incredible win record in this race and it is hard to deny his claims.
Arrest won nicely at Chester and the John and Thady Gosden team have already secured one classic so far this year. In what will be Frankie Dettori’s final ride in the race, there would be nothing more poetic than if he were to win it again.
White Birch will relish the fast ground and should appreciate this step up in trip. He is likely to be out the back in order to see out the trip and he will be hoping for a serious gallop to bring him into it.
Auguste Rodin just ran too bad to be true in the 2000 Guineas but the jury is still out on him. Ballydoyle have hit form in recent weeks so expect a better performance but it still may not be good enough.
Karl Hedley’s Expert Predictions
- MILITARY ORDER
- WHITE BIRCH
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