Epsom Derby and Oaks

Epsom Derby Runner-by-Runner Guide: Daryl Carter's counting on Troy

Daryl Carter.
Daryl Carter likes 14/1 chance in the Derby.

Daryl Carter has analysed the field for the 2024 Epsom Derby, examining every runner and offering his verdict...

  • Aidan O'Brien holds the key players

  • City Of Troy is still the one to beat

  • 16 runners go to post

Ryan Moore Superboost

If you fancy City Of Troy to bounce back from his 2,000 Guineas disappointment and run well in today's Epsom Derby for Ryan Moore, then you can back the champion 2yo to finish in the top five at the super-boosted price of 1/12.00 (from 2/51.40).

City Of Troy 11/43.75

Despite being the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas favourite, the Champion two-year-old surprisingly performed poorly, finishing well down the field.

Following that performance, he was initially pushed out to 6/17.00 for the Epsom Derby, but his price has been squeezed as punters have latched back on, seemingly happy to forgive that effort on the strength of his two-year-old form.

His form from last term has recently been boosted with the six-length Superlative Stakes runner-up, Haatem, going narrowly close in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last weekend. It's not the level of his form that is questioned but whether he retains his ability.

However, his performance at Newmarket was far below what he achieved last year, and quite frankly, it baffles me why any trainer runs any horse in a classic without a prep run. This run must have been too bad to be true.

The old phrase, "You can forgive a horse one bad run", could ring true given how spectacular he was last term.

His trainer retains maximum faith, saying, "I'm not sure we ever sent a horse to the Derby with as much ability as this," and I agree.

Still, he provides a problem for many punters. Price is subjective, and I am sure there will be many arguments for and against his price.

On pedigree, this new trip may be a source of further improvement, and hopefully, he can bounce back.

Los Angeles 7/24.50

Aidan O'Brien's second runner will prove a big improver in the move up to 1m4f. He is unbeaten in three starts, including landing the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on only his second racecourse start.

The three-year-old arrives having won a key Derby trial at Leopardstown, where he needed every yard of the ten furlongs on good ground to take care of his rivals.

The most impressive furlong has been his final one in all three outings to date, and the son of Camelot seems to look after himself on the track, so there could be plenty more in the locker.

He has shown race-by-race progression, and he only learned to drop his head during his seasonal return.

Any further rain will pose no issue, and if not for his stablemate, City Of Troy, he may be the favourite for this.

He is a big, big player here.

Ancient Wisdom 4/15.00

Another to disappoint on their seasonal debut when a beaten favourite in a weak renewal of the York Dante Stakes now looks exposed on a quicker surface. His backers will be doing a rain dance this week, but his high knee action may not suit Epsom's undulations. Passed over.

Ambiente Friendly 6/17.00

James Fanshawe's runner was impressive in winning the Lingfield Derby Trial and will look to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Van Dyck, who followed up to win the Epsom Derby. It was an excellent performance, and he went close to breaking the track record. It was a giant stride forward from his fourth in the Feilden at Newmarket on his reappearance.

I am slightly suspicious of the form, with the ante-post favourite drifting like a barge on the day and the two O'Brien runners seemingly down the pecking order at Ballydoyle and both only Maiden winners.

I am not a believer, and he won't want further rain.

Dancing Gemini 11/112.00

He improved significantly for a winter on his back, finishing an excellent second in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp, doing his best work late in the day. The initial impression is that improvement could be forthcoming over 10f-12f. Connections have mentioned the French Derby as the more appropriate race for him, but they have opted for here and he is nor forlorn hope to continue on his upward curve, particularly if faced with a slower surface. However, I would prefer him at ten furlongs.

Macduff 12/113.00

Macduff represents the same connections of the 2022 third, Westover, and took in the same race en route to today with a solid second to the would-be Epsom Derby favourite Arabian Crown (injured) at Sandown.

Considering he took a fierce grip on his seasonal debut, he did remarkably well. There was lots to like about that preparation, with the form looking some of the strongest on offer.

He is sure to improve in moving up distance. With his seasonal debut under his belt, he has more to come. He is another big player, and drying ground would enhance his claims.

Voyage 18/119.00

He was an impressive winner at Newbury on his only racecourse start, but this is a huge ask on his second career start.

Bellum Justum 20/121.00

He took a small step forward on his reappearance when landing the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom but needs to take a giant leap to win this.

Deira Mile 20/121.00

He made a promising debut at Sandown in August last year before going backwards when beaten at 1/51.20 at Chelmsford on his final start for Charlie Johnston. He got back on track on his first start for Owen Burrows with an excellent career-best staying-on fourth at Doncaster in the Group 1 Kameko Futurity Trophy Stakes. He won very easily at Windsor at 4/91.44 on seasonal return.

He will relish this move up to 1m4f and has an unknown ability ceiling. He is one of the more likelier types at a big price to outrun his odds, and the first time cheek-pieces could really see him kick on now.

Very Interesting.

Dallas Star 25/126.00

Comfortably took care of The Euphrates and Illinois at Leopardstown when landing the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes when upsetting the odds at 50/151.00 but dictated the pace and didn't hit the line hard enough to consider him for this assignment.

Euphoric 40/141.00

Another that has plenty to find on all known form and was well held by Los Angeles despite having the run of the race at Leopardstown. Passed over.

God's Window 40/141.00

He hasn't kicked on since his excellent second to Ancient Wisdom in the Group 1 Kameko Futurity Trophy Stakes, winning a run-of-the-mill Novice contest before running poorly at Chester and York. Not one for maximum faith.

Sayedaty Sadaty 50/151.00

Has little chance on the bare form of his recent outings this term and is passed over.

Table Talk 66/167.00

Supplemented, and best watched in the market, but impossible to build a case on form or speed figures.

Mr Hampstead 100/1101.00

Impossible to fancy.

Kamboo 150/1151.00

He will have to be something spectacular to make his seasonal debut a winning one in the Epsom Derby after just a Class 5 Novice AW victory.

Epsom Derby Race Verdict

As with the 2,000 Guineas, much of this race revolves around the well-being of 2-year-old superstar City Of Troy , who could easily rip this field apart if at his outstanding best.

I don't believe he was beaten on merit at Newmarket, and I am happy to put a line through that effort.

The confidence in the camp is high, but all eyes will be on how the market takes to him throughout Saturday.

Diera Mile could outrun his wild odds and looks best of those at a price.

1. City Of Troy
2. Deira Mile
3. Los Angeles

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