We’re looking four our fourth consecutive winning tip in the Epsom Derby, after 11/1 Harzand, 40/1 Wings Of Eages and 20/1 Masar last year. Here’s my thoughts on all the runners as well as my best bets.
Line Of Duty
Stall one virtually guarantees poor track position, while quick ground isn’t what he wants, and after such a disappointing comeback when stuffed in the Dante behind Telecaster he will need everything to go his way to have any chance of featuring in the finish.
His Dante win over Too Darn Hot possibly makes him the form horse, but he too has been drawn badly in stall two and consequently won’t be able to repeat the prominent racing tactics that served him so well at York. He will have to burn plenty of petrol to reach the front up the stiff opening few furlongs if that’s the way he wants to go, and he’s not had much recovery time since York either, so is there to be taken on.
Absolutely no chance.
Norway, Japan, Sovereign
Struggling to find any sort of angle to justify a bet on any of these Aidan O’Brien runners based on form, chatter from connections, jockey bookings or market vibes.
Visually, he doesn’t look a class horse yet the simple fact of the matter is, if we put a line through his debut fifth, only four horses have ever beaten him and three of those (Persian King, Magna Grecia and Phoenix Of Spain) have all won Classics over a mile this season. That’s serious form and there’s an angle to say the Classic form trumps anything on show in this field, so it’s easy to argue he’s overpriced. It’s also easy to conclude he’s probably no better than the O’Brien yard’s fourth string, though.
Very similar to last year’s winner Masar in terms of profile coming into the race, as a classy two-year-old who ran well in the 2,000 Guineas, but has plenty of pundits knocking his chances of staying and I’m inclined to agree. With hot weather forecast on Saturday he should get his favoured good-to-firm conditions and that could leave his form this season behind. Big chance if stamina holds.
Anthony Van Dyck
Hard to not like him as the archetypal Galileo colt that battles and stays, however his two-year-old form doesn’t follow the pattern of most Galileo-sired superstars. He looks a fair price at best and would not be a surprise winner, but there are others with far more attractive credentials and it would be disappointing if he were to come out on top.
Broome has been my ante-post Derby horse through the winter and has done nothing wrong in two starts this season, winning both in a style that strongly suggests 12f is going to suit. His trainer is keen to stress he’s more lazy than slow as he often gets scrubbed along during his races, but he’s clearly classy and ticks most of the boxes we’d want in a Derby winner. Perhaps lacks that x-factor, but you could say that for nearly all his opponents too.
Very hard to weigh up given he’s only raced three times, winning two, but if he was any good Frankie Dettori, number one jockey for John Gosden, would surely have gotten the ride over Rab Havlin, and it would be a shot in the dark to back him at odds of 100/1.
Owned by the late Leicester City chairman, he would be an emotional winner but does look very short at single-digit odds based on what he’s achieved on the track. His Sandown trial win was uninspiring form, and it seems his odds are based on a line through Telecaster on that foe’s first racecourse appearance. Telecaster has clearly improved heaps since so I wouldn’t read much into that – however it is still a positive for Bangkok’s chances.
Supplemented for a fee of £85k after winning his maiden on the bridle and then going on to demolish the Chester Vase field on just his second racecourse start – again on the bridle – he shot to the top of the Derby market and, with Ryan Moore confirmed as his jockey, the market confidence appears to be reflected by connections who look to have landed on him being their number one. He’s bred in the purple and shouldn’t have any issue with quicker ground based on pedigree, and with no concerns from the draw either he is the right favourite. Inexperience might be an issue, however it’s compensated by the fact he’s probably the only runner in this field that has shown any sign of being a world beater. He could simply be in a different league to his rivals.
It’s debatable whether SIR DRAGONET is a value bet at 7/2, but I can’t let him go unbacked as all the signs are he could be something special, whereas there’s nothing else in this Derby field that can match his scope to become a real star of the sport. I simply think he will win.
The more I look at it, the more I think he’s in a two-horse race as the only one I have any time for is the in-form BROOME, who looks fairly bombproof for at least place money, provided his big stride lets him handle the track. He’s well worth siding with too as he’s on the drift and now really appeals at the prices at around the 6/1 mark.
Of the longer chances I prefer Circus Maximus to doubtful stayer Madhmoon, as he’s the only contestant with proper Group One form to his name, but it seems I’m not alone as his price is contracting by the minute at the time of writing.
2pts win Sir Dragonet @7/2, 16:30 Epsom, Saturday
1pt win Broome @6/1, 16:30 Epsom, Saturday