Epsom Derby 2018: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide
Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Epsom Derby, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"...promises to be at least as effective over this longer trip..."
Timeform on Saxon Warrior
1. DEE EX BEE (MARK JOHNSTON/SIVESTRE DE SOUSA)
Smart performer who won maiden at Goodwood and minor event here in 2017. Shaped better than bare result when one and a half lengths third to Crossed Baton in Blue Riband Trial back here on return and produced career best when half-length second to Young Rascal in Chester Vase last time. Remains open to improvement, but others have more pressing claims.
2. DELANO ROOSEVELT (AIDAN O'BRIEN/SEAMIE HEFFERNAN)
Stepped up on two-year-old form when second in Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown (half a length behind Nelson) in April and still green when three quarters of a length second to Hazapour in Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial back there last time, nearest finish having not been ideally placed. Seems sure to progress further and has to be considered.
3. HAZAPOUR (DERMOT WELD/FRANKIE DETTORI)
Won maiden at Galway in 2017 and showed much improved form after seven months off to win Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown (readily, by three quarters of a length from Delano Roosevelt) last time, quickening well once leading entering final furlong. Dam half-sister to 2016 Derby winner Harzand and he should have more to offer over this trip.
4. KEW GARDENS (AIDAN O'BRIEN/DONNACHA O'BRIEN)
Won Zetland Stakes at Newmarket (by three and a half lengths from Dee Ex Bee) on final 2017 outing, but has failed to progress in two starts this season. Came on for reappearance when chasing home Knight To Behold in Derby Trial at Lingfield last time, hanging left briefly under pressure. Probably in second tier at Ballydoyle, but is proving consistent.
5. KNIGHT TO BEHOLD (HARRY DUNLOP/RICHARD KINGSCOTE)
Looked good prospect on both starts at two and proved better than ever after seven months off to win Derby Trial at Lingfield (by three and a quarter lengths from Kew Gardens) last time, enterprisingly ridden but galloping on strongly. Needs to take another step forward here, but suspicion is he hasn't reached his limit just yet, and not to be underestimated.
6. MASAR (CHARLIE APPLEBY/WILLIAM BUICK)
Won twice at two, including Solario Stakes at Sandown, and also won Craven Stakes at Newmarket (by nine lengths from White Mocha) in April. Creditable one and a half lengths third to Saxon Warrior in 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last time, likely to have finished second if racing with the main group. Pedigree offers hope he will stay this significantly longer trip, and should give a good account.
7. ROARING LION (JOHN GOSDEN/OISIN MURPHY)
Strong, attractive colt who won first three starts at two before finishing neck second to Saxon Warrior in Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Put disappointing reappearance firmly behind him when fifth in 2000 Guineas, and showed liking for longer trip when winning Dante Stakes at York (by four and a half lengths from Mildenberger) last time, quickening clear impressively. Will probably stay 1½m and looks the biggest threat to Saxon Warrior.
8. SAXON WARRIOR (AIDAN O'BRIEN/RYAN MOORE)
Unbeaten in three starts at two, including Beresford Stakes at Naas and Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster (by neck from Roaring Lion, battling back to lead again final 100 yards), and completed four-timer on return in 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (by one and a half lengths from Tip Two Win) last time, finding extra inside final furlong. Pedigree firmly suggests he ought to be even better over middle distances, and he is a most exciting prospect. Hard to oppose.
9. SEVENNA STAR (JOHN GOSDEN/ROBERT HAVLIN)
Had wind operation during off-season and much improved this year, winning 1¼m maiden at Windsor before taking step up in class in his stride in Classic Trial at Sandown (by short head from Ispolini) last time, staying on to lead late on. Dam won over 1¾m, and he seems sure to improve further for this step up in trip, but trainer stated he will only run if there is rain about.
10. THE PENTAGON (AIDAN O'BRIEN/WAYNE LORDAN)
Won two of his four starts at two, finishing good third to Saxon Warrior in Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on final outing that season. Failed to meet market expectations both starts this term, though stepped up on return when length third to Hazapour in Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial last time. Has plenty of stamina in pedigree, and should prove suited by this step up in trip and return to likely sounder surface.
11. YOUNG RASCAL (WILLIAM HAGGAS/JAMES DOYLE)
Won 20-runner maiden at Newbury (11f) in April and showed much improved form to follow up in Chester Vase (by half a length from Dee Ex Bee) last time, overcoming trouble in-running and showing excellent attitude. Earnt his place in this field and seems sure to improve further. Sound claims.
12. ZABRISKIE (AIDAN O'BRIEN/PADRAIG BEGGY)
Won maiden at Tipperary in 2017 and showed benefit of reappearance when good five and three quarter lengths third to Roaring Lion in Dante Stakes at York last time, nearest finish. Will be suited by longer trip, but seemingly lacks class of some of these.
Timeform Epsom Derby Analyst Verdict:
2000 Guineas hero SAXON WARRIOR promises to be at least as effective over this longer trip and can provide his master trainer with a record equalling seventh Derby success. Roaring Lion has found Saxon Warrior too strong on the two occasions they've met, but he won the Dante at York easily and could still be the one to give him most to do. Young Rascal and The Pentagon complete the shortlist.
Timeform Epsom Derby 1-2-3
1. Saxon Warrior
2. Roaring Lion
3. Young Rascal