Daryl adds 33/1 and 40/1 chances to his Epsom Derby book
Says hold off on trial winners Arrest and Military Order
Takes a look at an updated Epsom Derby market
In week one, we touched on race trends and the correlation between the last ten winners in an attempt to give us a better understanding of what it takes to win the Epsom Derby. You can read that here.
This week we look back on some notable performances from the key trial races and go in search of some more value.
Hold off on Chester Vase winner Arrest for now
The first of the key trials run this week was the Chester Vase on Wednesday, won by John Gosden's Arrest at SP odds of 10/11, and he is the big mover in the Epsom Derby market this week from 10/1 into 5/1.
Arrest ran out a very comfortable winner of the Chester Vase under Frankie Dettori. The result never looked in any serious doubt as he was pushed out under hand and heels riding trading at no higher than 2.111/10. He recorded the highest RPR (117) in race for the past ten years, joint with subsequent Epsom Derby favourite Sir Dragonet, who went on to be touched off by 3/4 of a length in the main event at an SP of 11/4.
On paper, Arrest did no more than confirm the form from Saint Cloud with runner-up Adelaide River who was no match for the Gosden horse and winner Dubai Mile in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. However, this looked like a much more polished model of Arrest, who was very green at times last year and looked to have some serious growing to do.
There was plenty of talk from trainer John Gosden beforehand that he would need the run, and he played down talk of the Epsom Derby in favour of him being an "Ascot horse" instead. His tune quickly changed following his mount crossing the line eased down, so it just goes to show trainer comments are not to be relied upon.
Still, while this was impressive, Frankie Dettori took a wider route than the runner-up on the best of the ground, and he didn't enhance his form. We learned little, in all honesty, but another comment from Gosden suggested that he would need soft in the going description and NOT good to firm despite having run on a quick surface (and won) as a two-year-old.
I wouldn't agree with the trainer on this front. He may be advantaged by soft ground, but it's hard pushed to say quick ground would hinder him.
However, this is important for ante-post backers because 2019 was the last good to firm Epsom Derby but soft has only been in the going description twice in the last 10 years.
Arrest was doing no more than a half-speed lobbing along around Chester, and he is sure to be seen to better effect on a galloping track. He is a lovely prospect, and he should improve for the outing - although this was Frankie Dettori's last ride at Chester, I can't imagine he was that undercooked.
This column highlighted that Aidan O'Brien looked weak in the Derby this year, and his representative, Adelaide River, did nothing to improve his chances, having looked run ragged at the finish and back to 1m2f on better ground may see him to best effect. He was pushed to 66/1.
Aidan O'Brien saw his three-year-old San Antonio 25/1 pick up the Dee Stakes on Thursday under a well-judged ride by Ryan Moore to scalp Donnacha O'Brien's Aldar. No winner since Kris Kin in 2003 has doubled up in this and the Derby, and this one doesn't look the bucking that trend.
Aldar 33/1 was the horse to take from the race, but he hung left under pressure, and that would be a cause for concern at a track like Epsom with a camber.
Excellent Derby Trial winner Military Order but things fell right
Military Order 4/1 won Saturday's Lingfield's Derby Trial, which was switched to the AW following the abandonment of the turf track and clocked a very fast time - more than three seconds quicker than the preceding Oaks Trail.
William Buick had the even-money favourite sat just off a ferocious pace and found a lovely seem up the inside rail on the swing for home as the pacesetter hung right off the bend, showing a bright turn of foot to kick on and outstay impressive Newmarket winner Waipiro.
The pair duelled down the home straight before a change of legs inside the final 50 yards saw him kick again, and the Godolphin runner won a shade cosily at the line.
This was the best performance we have seen from a Derby hopeful. He was cut into 4/1, having been prominent in this market since his Newbury win.
This was the polar opposite performance of his Newbury victory - a soft ground dash to the line - and having shown his versatility under varying conditions, he is hard to find fault with. The son of Frankel is straightforward and has a great attitude and should be the outright favourite for the Derby in June.
The Derby Market 14/05/2023
Auguste Rodin 4/1 must be one of the worst ante-post favourites for any race, let alone a Derby, having flopped in the 2,000 Guineas.
He has stamina to prove, and his form is simply not that strong. He leads the market as the "talking horse" and Aidan O'Brien's first string. That being said, we highlighted in last week's column that O'Brien has only won this once with a first string.
Military Order 5/1 and Arrest 5/1 are both worthy favourites for this contest at the current time of writing and should be shorter than the O'Brien runner, but how short will they get in the coming weeks? My guess is not that much, but make no mistake, they set a good standard, although are hardly an ante-post punters type of bet.
Flying Honours 10/1 heads the York Dante market at 4/1 for this week and is a potential mover should he win that contest, although my feelings on him are lukewarm, and his current price doesn't appeal.
Canberra Legend 14/1 is also in the Dante this week and needs to up his game, having seen his Newmarket form let down twice since, while Dubai Mile 14/1 doesn't seem like he is screaming out for this stiff 1m4f test - those comments apply to Royal Scotsman 16/1 and Silver Knott 16/1 also.
White Birch 33/1 is not getting the market respect he deserves
White Birch is only 8/1 for the York Dante Stakes this week, and his best ante-post price of 33/1 for the Derby with the Betfair Sportsbook makes plenty of appeal.
He won the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes on heavy ground at Leopardstown on April 2nd. He did remarkably well from the rear of the field to make up ground, overcome interference and battled gamely to victory, getting the 1m4f trip strongly.
We highlighted that race last week as a good source of Derby winners in the past ten years (a trend race), and it has also provided some near-narrow misses - Broome (1/2 lengths fourth) immediately comes to mind.
White Birch's form ties in very closely with the much shorter-priced Sprewell 12/1, while his sire, Ulysses, showed his best form at four, and his Dam was unraced at two years before scoring four times from seven starts at three. He could easily have plenty of progression to come, particularly when faced with a sounder surface.
He looks good value and will be half the price if landing the Dante this week at York.
Amo Racing set to unleash another Mojo Star?
John Gosden's Tony Montana 40/1 (bigger elsewhere) was a 425,000gns purchase as a yearling and looks like a fascinating runner for Amo Racing.
They have had a fine season thus far but have no runner prominent in the Derby market, although this one was strangely favourite in October, and for an outfit of their size, one must come out of the woodwork.
The son of Kingman was a big eye-catcher on his only start last year as a two-year-old at Salisbury when running second to Ralph Beckett's Musiadora entrant Bluestocking. That race has produced plenty of winners, including the well-held third Racingbreaks Ryder, who has won his next four, including off of a handicap rating of 90.
He stayed on strongly at the finish, shaping as though a stiffer test of stamina would see him to good effect, and he is due to reappear at Newbury in the race Amo Racing sent Mojo Star to finish second before he outrun huge odds to fill the same place in the 2021 Epsom Derby.
He could easily be a market springer this time next week, and is worth taking the chance with, given the lack of depth at the head of this market.