The Epsom Derby is still the premiere race on the English Flat Racing Calendar. Trends come and go and at the moment, the trend is to have a horse that wins over the sexy distances of 8f to 10f. Why is always a mystery to me. The Epsom Derby represents the hardest test for a thoroughbred. 12f round the undulations of Epsom, provides proof of stamina, speed and balance. What more do breeders want? The Epsom Derby can give us the Best of Times.
Let’s get to the nub of what is bothering me this season though. Do we want a superstar going into the race that confirms it’s superstar status on the day? Or do we want a star to be born on the 6th June?
In the first instance it has been great in recent times to watch Camelot chase the Triple Crown and Australia claim his birthright on the Downs.
But sometimes you just want a great race to bet in and watch. And this season I think that is where we are.
The trials are all but over now with one notable exception, The Dante on Thursday at York, and that could prove a vital piece of the jigsaw. There are a lot of good horses lining up and the winner will likely be favourite for the Derby.
I shall now run through the market leaders and try to evaluate their chances. Don’t expect me to be obvious though!
How can a horse that made it’s debut at Wolverhampton and then won a Handicap, be favourite? It simply can’t be. Goodbye Jack Hobbs.
Zawraq hasn’t won beyond 1 mile and isn’t bred to be any better over this trip, I can’t see him staying.
John F Kennedy ran appallingly first time up but maybe there were excuses ground wise and the winner is proving to be exceptional in those conditions, so he is considered.
Elm Park was withdrawn from the 2000 Guineas due to the fast ground and like Kingston Hill last year, may be outpaced at a crucial stage.
Ol Man River was absolutely stone last, pulled up in the 2000 Guineas, there was simply no response when he was asked for his effort. That very likely wasn’t his form but it has left a question mark over him.
Hans Holbein made all to win the Chester Vase and that is normally a good pointer to a horse’s chance at Epsom but his wins have been on soft and he took 3 goes to break his duck, not really Derby winning form.
Highland Reel, Sir Isaac Newton and Christopher Marlowe all disappointed on their last appearances and again that isn’t typical of a Derby winner.
Kilimanjaro won the Lingfield Derby Trial but he looked and ran like a 3m chaser to my eyes and if he has enough speed to win the Derby, then you will see me streaking around my local Town Hall. I know, nobody wants to see that, do they?
At this point I think it is only fair to introduce you to the 2 horse that are catching my eye and who will form the first part of my Epsom Derby portfolio.
Giovanni Canaletto and Best of Times.
So what stands these two out from the crowd? 2 things, breeding and form.
Both are bred to be better over this trip then they have shown so far. Both are from powerhouse stables. Both have been the recipients of favourable comments from connections and both have shown a great attitude to running and winning.
I saw Giovanni Canaletto race fast asleep in it’s maiden at Leopardstown before being given a crack and fly down the outside to win easily, it was impressive believe me. His experienced jockey said afterwards “He does everything easily at home and we like him.” He is entered in the Dante and I’m hoping we can get a bit of Dante/Derby Double action somewhere.
Best of Times was hugely impressive in winning at Newmarket over 10f. His sectionals show him quickening up from the front and putting the race to bed with furlongs of 11.94 and 12.14 seconds. That’s a very good turn of foot for a middle distance horse let me tell you. What is even more impressive is that the trainer said afterwards that he was only 85% fit! If that is true then just imagine that turn of foot when he is fully fit. Likely to be ridden by either J. Doyle or W. Buick at Epsom, he has to be high on the list.
Epsom Derby Ante-Post Advice
Giovanni Canaletto to win Dante/Derby with bet365
Best of Times to win Derby – 33/1 with bet365