Saturday 2nd June, 4:30pm, Epsom Downs, 1m 4f (1m 4f 6y) Investec Derby (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
The Derby is the richest and more prestigious race in the UK Flat racing calendar with Saturday’s winner receiving £850,650 in prize money.
The race was run for the first time in 1780 and is named after the 12th Earl of Derby. The first four renewals of the race were run over 1 mile with the race being run over 1 mile 4 furlongs in 1784. The first winner of the race, Sir Peter Teazle was owned by the Earl of Derby. Excepting the war years the race was run on the first Wednesday in June between 1900 and 1994 to fit in with railway timetables. In 1995 the race was moved to Saturday.
The leading jockey with nine wins between 1954 and 1983 is Lester Piggott and Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor are the leading owners with seven winners. The legendary Shergar holds the record for the biggest winning margin when he won by 10 lengths in 1981. The 2010 winner Workforce holds the record for the fastest running of the race and three horses have won at odds of 100/1. The shortest winning odds are the 2/9 which the 1894 winner Ladas was returned at. The 1862 renewal was contested by 34 runners which is the largest field in the history of the race with the 1794 running holding the record for the race with the fewest participants with a field of just four runners going to post.
There are some good recent trends to consider when looking for the winner of The Derby. All 18 of the last 18 winners had run in a Group race last time out. All 18 had run once or twice in the same season prior to winning The Derby and all 18 winners had broken their maiden tag within two runs as a two year old. Of the last 18 winners, 17 had also won over a distance of 7 furlongs or further as a two year old.
The betting is a very good guide for finding the winner of the race with 11 of the last 12 winners coming from the first three in the betting. Course form is irrelevant as all of the last 12 winners had not run at Epsom previously.
Winning Group form is vital as 10 of the last 12 winners has previously won at Group level and an Official Rating of 109 or higher has been required to win the race in 11 of the last 12 renewals.
The race is dominated by Aiden O’Brien runners with no fewer than five running in the field of 12. Saxon Warrior is far and away the best of the Ballydoyle runners having won the 2,000 Guineas on his last start. The Bay Colt was very impressive when winning at Newmarket and should have no trouble coping with the soft ground. He has to prove that he can stay 1 mile 4 furlongs but on breeding he should see out the trip as his sire is the Japanese superstar Deep Impact and he is out of a Galileo mare.
For those looking for a little better value the way the John Gosden trained Roaring Lion won the Dante at York on his last start suggests that he will see out the Derby trip. His winning margin was 4½ lengths and when asked to make his effort 1½ furlongs from home he quickened away readily. He has previously won in Good to Soft ground and with the ground likely to be Soft there is a small question mark.
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