Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Epsom Derby and pick out their 1-2-3.
"...potentially a colt out of the very top drawer..."
Timeform on English King
Saturday, 16:55 Epsom
Live on ITV Racing
1. Amhran Na Bhfiann (Aidan O'Brien/ William Buick)
Remains a maiden after two starts but showed fairly useful form after 10 months off when three and a quarter lengths fourth to Tiger Moth in a maiden at Leopardstown last time, fading inside the final furlong. That form has worked out well - the first and second were both placed in last weekend's Irish Derby - and he remains open to more improvement, but this is a stiff task for one who has yet to win a race.
2. Emissary (Hugo Palmer/ Jim Crowley)
Created a deep impression when winning a minor event at Wolverhampton on his only two-year-old start, overcoming the run of the race to win easily by two and a quarter lengths. Shaped best after eight months off when a neck second to Khalifa Sat in the listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood last time, conceding both experience (still green) and track position to the game winner. Remains with potential and could outrun big odds if this test doesn't come too soon in his development.
3. English King (Ed Walker/ Frankie Dettori)
Confirmed promise of his debut when winning a maiden at Newcastle on his final two-year-old start, just needing to be pushed out in the final furlong to win decisively by a length and three quarters. Took another significant step forward after six months off when following up in the listed Derby Trial at Lingfield (by two and three quarter lengths from Berkshire Rocco) last time, quickly forging clear after looming up on the bridle over a furlong out. Looks sure to go on improving and rates a leading player, potentially a colt out of the very top drawer.
4. Gold Maze (Jessica Harrington/ David Egan)
Failed to win in a pair of two-year-old starts, though he was beaten only four lengths when third behind Innisfree in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh. Again highly tried in two starts this season, finishing second in the Gallinule Stakes (one and a quarter lengths behind Crossfirehurricane) and sixth in the Irish Derby (11 lengths behind Santiago), both at the Curragh. Failed to get home on the last occasion after pulling too hard on his first try at this trip. Should stay this far if settling better but probably needs his sights lowered to get off the mark.
5. Highland Chief (Paul & Oliver Cole/ Ben Curtis)
Showed useful form as a two-year-old, winning a maiden at Newbury and producing his best effort when four and a half lengths third to Pinatubo in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. Improved again after nine months off when making a successful handicap debut in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot (by half a length from Tritonic) last time, staying on strongly to defy an opening mark of 101 with a bit in hand. Wore cheekpieces on that occasion but showed a good attitude. May yet have more to offer and is worth considering for place purposes at big odds.
6. Kameko (Andrew Balding/ Oisin Murphy)
Developed into one of the best two-year-olds around last season, notably winning the Futurity Trophy at Newcastle (by three and a quarter lengths from Innisfree) on his final start. Progressed further after seven months off when also winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (by a neck from Wichita) last time, briefly having to wait for a gap but staying on strongly once in the clear to get on top close home. That form is comfortably the best on offer in this line-up, but he needs to prove his stamina (not assured on pedigree) now going beyond 1m for the first time.
7. Khalifa Sat (Andrew Balding/ Tom Marquand)
Showed plenty of resolution to get off the mark at the second attempt as a two-year-old, digging deep in testing conditions to win a maiden at Goodwood. Improved again after nine months off when winning the listed Cocked Hat Stakes at the same venue (by a neck from Emissary) last time, making all and finding extra when challenged to hold on. Had plenty in his favour on that occasion and isn't sure to uphold the placings with the runner-up, though his likeable attitude should at least continue to stand him in good stead.
8. Max Vega (Ralph Beckett/ Harry Bentley)
Won two of his three starts as a two-year-old, including the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket (by three lengths from Berkshire Rocco) on the last occasion. Possibly needed the run after eight months off when six lengths fifth to Berlin Tango in the Classic Trial at Kempton last time, weakening in the final furlong after racing wide throughout. Looks out of his depth here, even if belatedly confirming his two-year-old promise.
9. Mogul (Aidan O'Brien/ Ryan Moore)
Showed smart form as a two-year-old, winning twice (including the Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown) before finishing three and a half lengths fourth to Kameko in the Futurity Trophy at Newcastle on his final start. Shaped as if needing the run after eight months off when four and three quarter lengths fourth to Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, weakening in the final furlong. Entitled to strip fitter here and isn't one to write off just yet, likely to prove capable of much better over middle-distances in time.
10. Mohican Heights (David Simcock/Andrea Atzeni)
Went unbeaten in a pair of two-year-old starts, winning a maiden at Leopardstown (when trained by Fozzy Stack) and a listed race at Salisbury. Not seen to best effect after 10 months off when four lengths third to Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, finding himself poorly placed as the tempo lifted in the straight. Remains with potential over this trip, especially when the emphasis is more on stamina.
11. Mythical (Aidan O'Brien/James Doyle)
Showed useful form as a two-year-old, winning a maiden at Gowran (by eight and a half lengths) and producing his best effort when three and a half lengths third to Mkfancy in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Had excuses when well-held fifth behind Crossfirehurricane in the Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh last time, reportedly finishing lame on his first start for eight months. Plenty of time for him to bounce back, though even his best form leaves him with lots to find in this company.
12. Pyledriver (William Muir/ Martin Dwyer)
Won two of his four starts as a two-year-old, including a listed race at Haydock. Improved further for the step up to middle-distances this season, finishing second in the Classic Trial at Kempton (a length and a quarter behind Berlin Tango) before going one better in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (by two lengths from Arthur's Kingdom) last time. Proved suited by the emphasis on speed on the last occasion, however, and perhaps has less scope for improvement than many of his rivals here.
13. Russian Emperor (Aidan O'Brien/ Seamie Heffernan)
Still looked a work in progress on his first two starts this season, winning a maiden at Naas and finishing a half-length second to Cormorant in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Took another significant step forward when winning the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot (by half a length from First Receiver) last time, finding plenty to lead close home after conceding first run to the placed horses. His strength at the finish suggests he'll relish stepping up to 1½m, so he rates a big player for a yard that has already won this race seven times.
14. Serpentine (Aidan O'Brien/ Emmet McNamara)
Lightly raced sort who showed improved form in first-time cheekpieces to win a maiden at the Curragh (by nine lengths from Monument Valley) last time, having the run of the race but still well on top at the finish. Should have even more to offer, especially now stepping up to 1½m, but his yard has several other contenders with stronger form credentials.
15. Vatican City (Aidan O'Brien/ Padraig Beggy)
Confirmed debut promise when winning a maiden at Dundalk on his final two-year-old start. Looked unlucky not to finish closer after eight months off when one and three quarter lengths second to Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh last time, finishing well after being denied a clear run entering the final two furlongs. Hasn't shown all that he has to offer and shapes as if likely to stay further. His pedigree suggests this trip may be a step too far, however.
16. Worthily (John Gosden/ Martin Harley)
Looked a good prospect when making a winning debut in a maiden at Newbury (by two lengths from a subsequent winner) last month, well on top at the finish after quickening to the front a furlong out. Looks sure to improve, perhaps significantly so, but this is likely to prove too much too soon given his relative inexperience.
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Timeform's Epsom Derby Analyst Verdict:
English King demonstrated all the qualities needed to excel at Epsom when an easy winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial and can strike under Frankie Dettori. Aidan O'Brien saddles six as he bids to land this prize for a record eighth time and Mogul, who is the mount of Ryan Moore, and Russian Emperor look sure to have a big say. Kameko was a good 2000 Guineas winner but 1½m may stretch his stamina.
1. English King
3. Russian Emperor