Epsom Derby and Oaks

Road to the Epsom Derby: Back 25/1 Godolphin supplement to relish Epsom test

Daryl Carter.
Daryl starts his ante-post book with a 25/1 chance for the Epsom Derby

During this mini-series, Daryl Carter will assess the chances of Epsom Derby hopes, look back at those eye-catchers from the past week and look to get ahead in the ante-post market to build a small book of bets for the race of a generation.

  • Daryl Carter kicks off his mini ante-post series with a 25/1 chance

  • Takes a look at the trends of previous winners

  • Looks ahead to the Chester Vase - a key trial race for the Epsom Derby

Welcome along. The first port of call in week one of four is to highlight the current Epsom Derby market on the Betfair Sportsbook and then, week on week, discuss any changes that we punters can exploit.

This week I want to highlight any previous trends or races worth watching over the coming weeks to give us a foundation for this column in the future.

We will look back over the past week in later columns with a view to the Epsom Derby and build a small ante-post book for the race, which will hopefully put us in a good position.

Race trends based on the previous ten winners

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  • Only three winning favourites.
  • Every winner in the last ten years had at least one run as a two-year-old.
  • The average number of runs before winning the Epsom Derby in the last ten years = 4.2.
  • Aiden O'Brien has had an average of 4.5 runners each year in the last ten years, and no surprise, his best results in this race have come when he has had a higher number of runners.
  • Aiden O'Brien has won the race five times - four of those with an unfancied runner (not the talking horse). Australia was the only runner shorter-priced runner to confirm the odds.
  • The last four winners and eight of the last ten did NOT run in the 2,000 Guineas.
  • The two Epsom Derby winners that did run in the 2,000 Guineas (Masar and Australia) placed a narrow third, beaten less than two lengths, and both drew double-figure stalls at Newmarket and then went straight to the Derby from Newmarket. Royal Scotsman 16/1.
  • The last ten winners - two had won the Dante Stakes at York, two had run in the Chester Vase, two had run in the Lingfield Derby Trial, two straight from the 2,000 Guineas, and one won the Group 3 Ballysax at Leopardstown - won this year by White Birch who is a 33/1 chance for the Derby.
  • Only one winner had started their career over shorter than seven furlongs. Masar.

The Derby Market 07/05/2023

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View the full Epsom Derby betting here.

This market has been very centred around Auguste Rodin who was as short as 2/1 before his 2,000 Guineas flop. He was pushed to 8/1, and I am sure there are many punters of a forgiving nature that like the sound of that.

I wouldn't be one of them. I wasn't keen on him for the 2,000 Guineas, having thought he was flattered in the Vertem Futurity having raced on the favoured side of the track, and I am not convinced his form is worthy of even his current price.

With 125/1 and 150/1 chances filling two of the first four spots in the 2,000 Guineas and so many failing to give their running on deteriorating soft ground, it's hard to be positive about the form.

Three of the highest-rated runners were trying a 1m for the first time, which leaves me confident in suggesting the Derby winner won't come from the Newmarket race this term.

At this early stage, Aidan O'Brien may not be as strong as he has been in previous years - that probably won't stop him from throwing in his usual average number of runners. Still, they lack conviction.

Military Order 6/1 romped to victory at Newbury on soft ground on seasonal return, but that was a weak race that turned into a sprint. The third from that contest, Chesspiece 66/1, took the eye and looked to have stacks of improvement to come with a stiffer stamina test. Military Order previously scored over Ancient Rules 33/1 at Newmarket, who was the one to take from the race.

Ancient Rules has had a setback and won't make the Derby meeting - he could have been their number one for this and the current market leader is a poor favourite.

Godolphin also will likely saddle Silver Knott 16/1 but I would be shocked if he stayed this 1m4f distance, having been outstayed over 1m on previous occasions including in the 2,000 Guineas latest.

Flying Honours 10/1 is to be respected. We don't know where his ceiling lies, but his form doesn't look the strongest - a notch below Group 1 level at this time, although the York Dante will tell more, even then I suspect Castle Way is their favoured runner for that race (no Derby entry).

Back 25/1 Naval Power to submerge Derby rivals

The Godolphin horse that does interest me is Naval Power, best priced with Betfair at 25/1 for the Epsom Derby. Naval Power was added to the Epsom Derby for £9,000 on April 5th and was due to be back in action at the Craven Meeting but caused himself a mischief in his box.

That is a slight concern, as is the intended Dante entry for which he is now not in. However, they likely want to take a slow approach and missing Newmarket could easily mean that his first run of the season will fall too close to the Dante Stakes next week.

He has shown excellent race-by-race progression and ran a blinding race to put his authoritative stamp on a Listed contest in Meydan over 1m1f last time despite not being in love with soft ground.

He quickened up very smartly, having been posted wide for much of the race, but his best work came at the finish, and it was good to see the runner-up go close at the same venue next time.

He is by Teofilo - a sire of many horses that have gone on to improve for stamina distances, including Group Winners, Scope, Cross Counter and Without A Fight. He is by a Dubawi mare which certainly bolsters the hope for improvement when he steps up in distance.

He is well-balanced, and his only defeat when tackling Group 1 Comany is easily forgiven, having bled and not shown his true running.

He looks very fairly priced, given the weakness at the top of the market and the first I want in the book.

Back Naval Power to win the Epsom Derby


The week ahead

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The Chester Vase (mentioned in the trend races) is set to run this week. However, having seen the entries, perhaps this is not the race to find the winner of the Epsom Derby this year.

At the time of writing, Aiden O'Brien has entered, Continuous, who only has an entry for the Irish Derby, but he looks nice and one to keep a close eye on.

San Antonio 50/1 could be set to run at Chester but doesn't look up to the task of a Derby. Londoner 40/1 also looks limited on the evidence of his comeback run in France (and is entered in the Derby trial today in Ireland).

Gooloogong 33/1 is perhaps the most interesting, having been strong at the finish at Navan on seasonal return on heavy ground when making all the running, and Ryan Moore spoke fairly highly of him in the aftermath. He is not one I am dying to get in a small book, though.

Week 1 final thoughts

Highlighting the Derby trend races this week should set us in good stead. With the 2,000 Guineas likely to turn out to be untrustworthy form, it's doubtful that the Derby winner will emerge from that crop and with the Chester Vase looking weak in terms of numbers and classy horses, I think we should be careful of the outcome of that one also (we will review that race next week).

Keeping with the race-winner trends, the Dante will prove informative on the 18th of May at York, and I think quite highly of Castle Way, although he didn't handle the Epsom track in the wild card race last year and will not run in the Derby. Still, he sets a standard in my mind, so anything that beats him should interest us.

The Lingfield Derby Trial should be of significant interest to us, and that race runs on Saturday 13th of May, so we will have some significant information in next week's column but, frustratingly, there are no entries at the time of writing.

Until next week, be lucky.

Recommended bets

Daryl's Epsom Derby ante-post bets


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