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Epsom Derby 2017: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

The Derby is the feature race from Epsom on Saturday
The Derby is the feature race from Epsom on Saturday
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Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to the Epsom Derby on Saturday.

"Only workmanlike on return this term when winning Dee Stakes at Chester by a length and a half from Bay of Poets, but sure to have derived plenty from the experience, and looks set to play a leading role here..."

Derby
Epsom
Saturday 3rd June, 16:30

Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor/Oisin Murphy)
Improving rapidly and built on Doncaster maiden win/Craven third when three-quarters of a length second to Permian in Dante Stakes at York last time. Settled better on latter occasion, but isn't crying out for extra two furlongs here.

Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave)

Put two poor runs in Dubai (dirt) behind him when taking Lingfield Derby Trial by three and a quarter lengths last time after three-month break. Needs more to get competitive here, but arrives with proven stamina and on back of career-best effort.

Capri (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Landed hat-trick as a juvenile in Beresford Stakes at the Curragh. No win since, but ran up to best when head third of six to Douglas MacArthur in Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown last time. Had every chance that day, but looks set to be suited by step up to this trip.

Cliffs of Moher (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Looked something out of the ordinary when beating Orderofthegarter (dual winner since) by five and a half lengths in maiden at Leopardstown in October last season. Only workmanlike on return this term when winning Dee Stakes at Chester by a length and a half from Bay of Poets, but sure to have derived plenty from the experience, and looks set to play a leading role here.

Cracksman (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
A grand type physically who made a winning debut at Newmarket in October. Followed up on return this season in 10f Derby Trial Stakes here by a short head from Permian, value for extra having shown signs of inexperience and conceding first run. That form proving strong with Permian winning listed event at Newmarket and Dante at York. Remains an exciting prospect and looks the leading home contender.

Crowned Eagle (John Gosden/Andrea Atzeni)
Improved to open his account at third attempt at Nottingham in November and value for more when making successful return in handicap at Windsor in May. Looked a potentially smart prospect that day, but this likely to prove too much too soon in his development.

Douglas Macarthur (Aidan O'Brien/Colm O'Donoghue)
Has taken a while to live up to his pedigree/home reputation, but has shown improved form both starts at three, finishing second in Ballysax Stakes before winning Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (both at Leopardstown) by head from Yucatan, showing willing attitude. Needs another step forward to make presence felt here, however.

Dubai Thunder (Saeed bin Suroor/Adam Kirby)
Half-brother to top-class Farhh, very smart Racing History and smart Basem. Most impressive when winning Newbury maiden (soft) by 10 lengths in May. This may well come too soon, just 15 days after debut, but an exciting prospect.

Eminent (Martyn Meade/Jim Crowley)
Big and imposing colt who took a big step forward from maiden win when posting smart effort to take Craven Stakes at Newmarket on return in April, still showing signs of greenness but well on top at finish. Failed to build on that when sixth behind Churchill in 2000 Guineas at same track last time, lacking change of pace to get competitive in steadily-run affair. Should be suited by this longer trip and well worth another chance to build on considerable early promise.

Glencadam Glory (John Gosden/James Doyle)
Didn't need to improve to get off the mark in Doncaster maiden in September, but progressive in two starts this year and fared better than bare result when three and a quarter lengths second to Best Solution in Derby Trial at Lingfield last time, never nearer after missing break. Still difficult to see him reversing the form with the winner, however.

Khalidi (John Gosden/Pat Smullen)
Showed benefit of seasonal debut when winning listed race at Newmarket (by a neck from Salouen) in April and improved again when landing listed heat at Goodwood last time, overcoming a penalty. Should stay 12f, but plenty to find on form and quick turnaround a worry.

Pealer (John Gosden/Silvestre De Sousa)
By Campanologist and a half-brother to the very smart Potemkin. Made the most of good opening at Southwell last time, but little to suggest he has what it takes to be competitive at this level.

Permian (Mark Johnston/William Buick)
Thriving on racing this season, placing on first two starts (including when short-head second to Cracksman at Epsom) before winning listed race at Newmarket and Dante Stakes (by three quarters of a length from Benbatl) last time. Straightforward, professional, and with no worries about the step up in trip, he should give a good account again, for all that this will demand more.

Rekindling (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan)
Won Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown (by half a length from Douglas Macarthur) in April but only ran to a similar level when fourth to Permian in Dante last time.

Salouen (Sylvester Kirk/Fran Berry)
Won two of nine starts as juvenile and produced best effort when two lengths third on final outing in Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October. Similar form when second on return in listed race at Newmarket in April, but more needed here and not crying out for extra three furlongs.

The Anvil (Aidan O'Brien/Anastasia O'Brien)
Showed useful form when a neck second in Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in September, and didn't need to improve to get off mark on return in Dundalk maiden in March. Best effort yet when one and a quarter lengths third to Venice Beach in Chester Vase last time, but no obvious reason why he should reverse the placings here.

Wings of Eagles (Aidan O'Brien/Padraig Beggy)

Won maiden at Killarney in 2016 and stepped up considerably on that after six months off when one and three quarter lengths second to Venice Beach in Chester Vase last time, coming wide home turn and finishing best under considerate handling. Will stay further than 12f and will have more to offer.

Timeform Epsom Derby 1-2-3
1. Cliffs of Moher
2. Cracksman
3. Best Solution

Timeform Analyst's Verdict
The biggest Derby field since 2003 and it looks one of the most open in recent years as well. CLIFFS OF MOHER gets the nod to provide his all-conquering trainer with yet another Classic winner this year. Cracksman and Dante winner Permian, who are closely matched on course form in the spring, are a couple of others with good claims, while Best Solution and Khalidi won their trials easily.

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