Epsom Derby and Oaks

Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Tony Calvin adds a further three bets on Derby day

Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
Tony has a further three bets on Derby day at Epsom

One of the highlights of the racing calendar, the Epsom Derby, is the feature race on Saturday so here with his in-depth preview of the contest, and his trio of tips on the card, is our resident tipster Tony Calvin...

  • Tony adds a 25/126.00 E/W bet to his 150/1151.00 ante-post Derby punt

  • Outsider Glimpsed looks worth chancing in Group 3 contest

  • Favourite looks a solid bet in Derby day opener


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).


The Derby's support races have a very underwhelming theme to them, for all they are not short on numbers.

You just feel that the meeting has very little depth to it beyond the Classics at the moment, and having two 5f handicaps - what I call horse racing's version of roulette - on ITV's five-race offering on Saturday is illustrative of that.


Epsom - 16:30 (The Derby): Sayedaty Sadaty advised ante-post

Anyway, let's start with the big one, and the Derby at 16:30 is surely one of the most open in years, so much so that I put up Sayedaty Sadaty at 150/1151.00 each way, three places, on Monday.

I imagine he will drift back out but he is 40s with the Sportsbook now (and just a top-priced 66s elsewhere) - he currently trades at 70.069/1 on the exchange - and I remain hopeful he could sneak into the frame, even if stall two for him may not be ideal.

Basically, I am still optimistic because I fancy very few in the race and, outside of my own personal choice, it's a fact that none of the runners set the form bar too highly, outside of City Of Troy, who has huge questions to answer after showing the square root of nada in the Guineas.

I won't go over it again - you can read the ante-post piece here if you so wish - but I just don't see the betting argument for him, even at a more realistic price on the exchange.

That said, his drift out to 6.25/1 on Thursday has arrested - good ole' boy Donald Trump popped into my head there - and he is back trading around the 7/24.50 mark.

That is probably due in part to Epsom somehow missing all the torrential rain in the area on Thursday afternoon (they got just 1.8mm), so good ground by race-time is not a million now. The ground was described as good to soft, good in places, on Friday morning, with maybe 2mm or so to come.

Sure, City Of Troy is the best horse in here by far on what we saw from him last season, but that was back in October and over 7f, and that Newmarket Guineas run, allied to him drawing trap one here perhaps, are surely the claims of a horse who should be 5s minimum.

If you keep the faith and he wins, then good luck to you. But let's be clear, and that is no-one knows how he is going to run, including the trainer, after they were left "bemused" after Newmarket.

Of course he can win, and win big, as the talent is there to be mined and brought to the surface once again - though if he does it will have nothing to do with Auguste Rodin bouncing back to win this last year, as to suggest so would be editorially illiterate, to paraphrase Martin Cruddace - but betting is solely about being guided by prices, and he is still not big enough to begin to tempt me.

I get the impression the vibes about Auguste Rodin were stronger last year, and remember that horse went off a Betfair SP of 6.411/2, so make of that what you will.

We have to deal in the here and now prices, though. If the odds are not big enough at the time of the column going live, you have to walk away.

However, the reasons why I was happy to take a wild swing at the aforementioned Sayedaty Sadaty stand, even if the price doesn't.

He has experience of the track and he probably ran his best race yet when a 4-length second to Caviar Heights in a good time over 1m2f at Newmarket last time.

And, crucially, this horse's pedigree suggests he will improve for this greater test of stamina. Rated just 102 going into the race, he very much needs to, but that is why he was the price he was.

The sire was a miler but he has got 1m4f to 2m winners (at a lower level) and the dam won over 1m6f on heavy ground in France.

So hopefully the combination of 1m4f and maybe a touch of dig for the first time can see his star soar.

Incidentally, the trainer-owner combination of Andrew Balding and Ahmad Al Shakh were responsible for Hoo Ya Mal, who finished a 7-length second in the same Newmarket Listed race prep as Sayedaty Sadaty's, as a prelude to finishing runner-up to Desert Crown at 150/1151.00 in this race in 2022.

Epsom 16:30 (The Derby): Back Deira Mile E/W

The six in the betting immediately behind City Of Troy all have plausible claims, but a horse that used to be owned by Al Shakh (and for all I know he still may be involved in the Green Team Racing syndicate - actually it sounds as if he is, so I hope he has a very good day), Deira Mile, could also have a part to play in here from stall 14.

He is available at 30.029/1 on the exchange, but I like the 25/126.00 and four places that the Sportsbook offers. That's the best combination in the marketplace, so I am going each way.

He got beaten at 1/51.20 on his final start for Charlie Johnston before being moved to Owen Burrows under the new ownership structure, and he duly came out and ran a cracker when a staying-on 2 ¾ length fourth to Ancient Wisdom, Devil's Point and God's Window in the Group 1 Futurity as a 50s chance, with Dancing Gemini and Diego Velazquez in behind.

That's a tidy bit of form for a horse trading as big as he is.

He confirmed his well-being with a smooth win over 1m2f at Windsor on his return and his sire, Camelot, would give you hope he will adequately see out the extra 2f here. The dam stayed 1m3f, too.

Now, I wouldn't be a particular fan of the jockey, as regular readers will know - prove me wrong, Jimbo - and I don't know what to make of the first-time cheekpieces (the stable has a poor record with these, see below, and the horse's two siblings did nothing when tried in them) but I do rate Owen Burrows and I am happy to give the ground-versatile selection a spin at the price.


Epsom - 14:00: Back Glimpsed

The nine-runner 1m+ fillies and mares Group 3 at 14:00 kicks off ITV's coverage and I thought the 3yos Chic Colombine and Glimpsed getting 12lb weight for age made them very interesting.

Running Lion looks a tad short at 7/42.75 at the top of the betting, and she makes the market for the rest.

It probably wasn't the best French 1,000 Guineas ever - that is to say, it was a poor renewal, truth be told - but Chic Colombine gave herself no chance of getting home there as she fought fiercely for her head on the inner for the first half of the race.

The in-running comment of "took keen hold" doesn't give a true picture of what occurred, as she really fought her jockey, and she did well to be beaten as little as she was (under 6 lengths but it did look a lot further on the video), the filly finally giving up the ghost in the closing stages.

William Buick should hopefully be able to get her better settled here, with Astral Beau and Sparks Fly in the race, and, with her stable in such good form, I thought she was a very good bet at 10s on Thursday morning.

She was then cut to 8s, which I could have lived with, and then she was trimmed further into 13/27.50, and that was just too much for me.

Would I back her at 13/27.50?

No. She is 8s and 15/28.50 elsewhere and the exchange line isn't sufficiently robust at the moment - she is actually trading at sub 7s to small money - for me to suggest her there. And I like dealing in current prices when tipping.

That was disappointing, as she won at Goodwood last season and was obviously most impressive when bolting up at Saint-Cloud in March (her improvement has come on testing ground but good should be fine), but if that's the worst thing that happens to you on Friday morning then you've done well.

Glimpsed has a lot more to find on the book but she was another to shape far better than her bare form at York on her return, and her Sportsbook and exchange price of 16s is pretty appealing.

The first thing to say is that she is 20s in three places on the Oddschecker grid, but the difference here is that I think 16s is attractive in its own right.

Of course, she has a lot to find, rated just 93, but this filly will surely be ridden more prominently over this slightly longer trip than she was at York, a race in which she finished off her race well.

This well-related filly will get further on pedigree (she is a half-sister to the stable's good stayer Scope, with Ralph Beckett training all the family), so hopefully she can sit behind the two pace-setters and begin to get rolling 2f out.

On the subject of pace, you can ignore Astral Beau's run at Newmarket's vast expanse last time but, like Chic Colombine, her price ebbed away through Thursday - though she is 14.013/1 on the exchange as this goes live - so no dice there.

Back Glimpsed at 17.016/1 or bigger on the exchange, or 16s with the Sportsbook. If you can snaffle 20s, then be my guest.

I may do an update on this race on Saturday morning, as I do want Chic Colombine onside if and when the price is right (and I'll probably stick the 3yos in a reverse forecast myself).


Epsom - 14:35: No Bet

Each-way punters will be on tenterhooks if playing in the eight-runner Diomed Stakes at 14:35 this far out, and it is hard enough race to call for win-only bettors, as it is.

The whole race could revolve around if the Royal Scotsman we saw in the 2,000 Guineas will ever be seen again, and I guess a price of around 9s on the exchange is fair compensation for the doubts in this field.

However, there wasn't a great deal of promise in an admittedly throw-out Lockinge and I don't see a pressing need to get involved in a race full of doubts and questions. It could be that last year's winner Regal Reality is not only the old man of the party as a 9yo, but also the most solid at 9/25.50. If eight get to post, he could be the each way play.


Epsom - 15:10: No Bet

On to those 5f handicaps then, starting with the 20-runner, 3yo version at 15:10.

I don't think I have seen so many confirmed front-runners in one race before - by the way , four horses got balloted out here, and their details are below, so make sure you get your money back on those - and there will probably be an almighty scramble to get to the head of affairs on the near rail, though that is probably less of a necessity now on the drying ground.

The race was won by a horse drawn 13 of 14 last year, though three and six were in second and third respectively.

Ireland's Sturlasson, a 10s chance, could fit the bill for getting on the near rail from 17 - Due For Luck in 19 is another candidate but he can sometimes miss it a touch - as he made all to win a Navan maiden last time and the handicapper doesn't appear to have touched him for it.

However, there is a reason the Sportsbook are paying six places here, and this race has all the makings of carnage in the run.

The spread of losing hard luck stories is currently trading at 4-5.

Pass.


Epsom - 15:45: No Bet

At least the Dash at 15:45 is more manageable. It failed to fill, and five of the 15 are at least 3lb out of the handicap.

Clarendon House bolted up at York last time but, up 6lb on possibly good to soft ground, he looks vulnerable here. Give him a quick surface, and I suspect he is a Group 2 tool (and maybe even a Nunthorpe outsider) but any significant, lingering dig would worry me.

If it looks like being good by race-time, I may get involved at 7s-plus.

Night On Earth is 4lb wrong but he can be lightning out of the gates, and he could dominate the nearside from trap 13 if trapping as swiftly as he can. You rarely see horses come out as quickly as he did to lead from stall 12 at Chester two starts ago.

He also did remarkably well to get on the nearside rail and make all here in April, considering how quickly he got across from stall four, and I suppose he isn't a bad bet at the Sportsbook's 14s, each way, four places. He is the bet in the race if you want one.

I have no idea of how good claimer Morgan Cole is - or indeed if Morgan is a lad or a lass - but he/she seems very experienced for one who claims 5lb, and you can read that two ways.

On the upside, he/she is one from three rides at Epsom.

Actually, I was being lazy - or rather attempting to be humurous and failing miserably on a re-read - so I googled and found her answering 10 questions in a Racing TV feature, so she it is.

It makes no difference, as I am not having a bet. She has never ridden the horse before and I'd like some familiarity when speed out of the gates can be all-important.

And the horse is 4lb out of the handicap, after all.


Epsom - 13:25: Back Persica

Persica looks a fair enough price at 10/34.33 in the opener at 13:25, with the ground out. I feel almost embarrassed to be putting up another shortie, but that looks pretty generous to me.

Winner of two of his four starts at two, when it sounds as if they thought he was a big unit in need of time, he finished third to a certain Noble Speech on his return and then made his handicap debut in the London Gold Cup at Newbury last time.

The winner is a proper tool and won by daylight but, in what is always a hot handicap, Persica was only beaten a neck and 1 ½ lengths by the placed horses and shaped very well in fourth.

You can mark up that run as he came widest of all there - the first three were much closer to the far rail - and it seems to me he is well handicapped off the same mark here in a lesser race.

The 10/34.33 is worth an interest while it lasts (it may not be long, but 3s and upwards is acceptable).

Nothing caught my eye in the final two handicaps, so I'll leave it there.

Go well.

And then go home.



GOING & WEATHER

Epsom: Good to soft (Friday 2-3mm; Saturday dry)


FIRST TIME HEADGEAR

Roger Varian hood 33-173 (since 2011)

Owen Burrows cheekpieces 1-19 (2016)

Amy Murphy cheekpieces 5-83 (2017)

George Scott blinkers 3-29 (2016)

Richard Hannon cheekpieces 7-70 (2016)

Easterbys visor 5-31 (2021)

Karl Burke cheekpieces 15-175 (2016)


EPSOM PACE MAPS

2.00pm: Astral Beau, Sparks Fly

2.35pm: Highland Avenue, Embesto, Regal Reality

3.10pm: Myconian, Tears Of A Clown, Sturlasson, Ziggys Missile, Due For Luck, Curious Rover, Rogue Enforcer, Vince L'Amour, McLoven, Grandlad, Knicks

3.45pm: Democracy Dilemma, Silky Wilkie, The Bell Conductor, One Night Stand, Looking For Lynda, Live In The Moment, Night On Earth, Antiphon, Law Of Average

4.30pm: Ambiente Friendly (prominent), Ancient Wisdom, Bellum Justum, Dallas Star (prom), Deira Mile (prom), Euphoric, God's Window, Kamboo, Sayedaty Sadaty


BALLOTED OUT (money back for ante-post punters)

3.10pm Epsom: Mon Na Slieve, Gogo Yubari, Macanudo, Kiss And Run


TRAINER FORM - for all with entries in Saturday's ITV races at Epsom (does not include Friday's results):

Excellent: Sir Michael Stoute, Charlie Appleby, George Boughey, James Tate

Good: Karl Burke, Ralph Beckett, Aidan O'Brien, John and Thady Gosden, Ben Brookhouse, James Fanshawe, Mario Baratti, Dylan Cunha, Kieran Cotter, James Horton, Paul Midgley, Owen Burrows, Paul And Oliver Cole

Fair: Richard Hannon (probably more moderate on the bare figures), Craig Lidster (40-1 winner on Tuesday), Kevin Philippart De Foy, David O'Meara (borderline good), Pam Sly, David Loughnane (though winnerless), Robert Cowell, Katie Scott, Peter Chapple-Hyam, Easterbys (though arguably more moderate), Ian Williams, James Evans, Adrian Murray, Tom Clover, Tim Easterby, John and Sean Quinn (8-1 winner on Thursday), Scott Dixon (though winnerless)

Moderate: Alice Haynes (though a winner on Thursday), Ollie Sangster, Andrew Balding (despite three winners this week, so maybe harsh), Roger Teal, Richard Hughes (maybe a harsh assessment), Roger Varian, Jamie Osborne, Amy Murphy, Gemma Tutty (though 11-1 near miss), Simon Dow, Murphy/Keady (maybe harsh, too), Dominic French Davis, Henry Candy (winnerless in 2024, but running very few), Charlie Fellowes, Marco Botti (13-8 winner on Thursday), George Scott, Chelsea Banham (very few runners)


Now read Ryan Moore on his Derrby day rides here.


Recommended bets

PROFIT AND LOSS

2024 Flat season (day-of-race; Apr 26 onwards):

STAKED:  45
RETURN: 83.25
P AND L: +38.25
ANTE-POST: -4

2023-24 NH season:

STAKED: 127
RETURN: 143.4
P/L:    +16.4

April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season:

STAKED:  202
RETURNS: 168.9
P AND L:  -33.1

March 26 2022 -April 15 2023:

Staked: 436
Returns: 643.6
P/L: +207.6

April 14 2021 to March 25 2022:

P/L: + 183.1

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