The final declarations have been made and we now know the horses that will take part in the 239th Derby at 4.30pm at Epsom on Saturday. There are to be 12 of racing’s top 3-year olds taking on the 1m 4f and vying for the whopping £850,650 prize money.
Saxon warrior heads the betting as an odds favourite (10/11 at time of writing) and you’ll find it hard to come across anyone who says that he isn’t the most likely winner of the prestigious Group 1 flat race. Is the price right though and is the Aiden O’Brien colt as certain a winner of the Investec Derby as the odds suggest?
There are some who have doubts about his stamina (no, not just Donald Trump), as the 2000 guineas winner is proven over a mile but isn’t guaranteed to get the extra four furlongs. There are those who will say the breeding isn’t a strong as it could be with the son of Deep Impact genetically inferior to Galileo and with his dam Maybe, who failed to get the trip in the Oaks.
The going (likely soft) isn’t going to be in his favour and being drawn in stall 1 is not ideal for Saxon Warrior either. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see one of the 4 other O’Brien saddled horses victorious instead. Last year he trained both 1st and 2nd but it was 40/1 shot Wings Of Eagles who claimed the spoils ahead of joint second favourite Cliffs Of Moher.
The overall opinion seems to be that Saxon Warrior is the likely winner but that the price is too short. Many steer away from odds on shots and even favourites as a rule but particularly so at the gruelling Epsom course, with everything trying for its life.
The last odds on shot in the Derby did come up trumps though in fact. Another of Aiden O’Brien’s 7 winners in this race, Camelot, went off at 8/13 in 2012 but there were only 9 runners. O’Brien had only one other horse in this one too (Astrology 13/2).
So, if we are swerving the favourite, where is the value and who is a good each way bet?
The three I’ve heard mentioned most are Young Rascal (8-1), Masar (25-1) and Dee Ex bee (25-1).
Masar is the son of a derby winner. Impressive when winning in the Craven, he was also 3rd in the 2000 guineas when sent off the wrong side but he is more of a front runner and he might not quite stay. At 25/1 he has to be worth a nibble.
Dee Ex Bee was a winner on this course as a 2-year old and both the trip and ground should suit on Saturday. He hasn’t got a lot to make up from his run at Chester when he was second to Young Rascal after being pushed wide and still closing. Again, available at 25-1 and looks like superb value.
Young Rascal is a very progressive performer and won by 5 lengths at Newbury in a 20 strong field. Just 18 days later he won at Chester ahead of Dee Ex Bee but backed in from 12/1 and now only available at 8/1, the second favourite doesn’t look quite so appealing.
The 2018 Derby may throw up a shock or it may be a procession but it’s is intriguing enough that’s for sure.Good luck with whoever your backing!
Who are the professionals backing to win the Epsom Derby?
Andy Holding – Roaring Lion and Young Rascal
Andy Holding is also avoided Saxon Warrior and has instead plumped for Young Rascal and Roaring Lion. The man from Oddschecker is a very shrewd tipster so his advice is well worth considering. Of Roaring Lion He says, “Following his spectacular victory in the Dante at York recently, Roaring Lion (best price 9-1) would seem the logical starting place for the biggest danger to the favourite and even though he’s been beaten fair and square by his old rival on the two times they’ve met, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility he could gain his revenge.”
Holding expects one of the two to hit the frame at the very least and he points to the Young Rascal’s decisive win in the Dee Stakes at Chester as the evidence he will go close. He also adds, “Proving to be adaptable and well balanced around the tight contours on the Roodeye, William Haggas’ three-year-old also showed he has the requisite stamina for the Derby test by staying on very strongly in the closing stages and also having an action which points towards soft ground not being a problem, the son of Intello has every chance of providing his Newmarket handler with his second winner of the famous race (Shaamit in 1996).”
Pricewise – Delano Roosevelt
“Saxon Warrior is obviously going to be extremely hard to beat in the Investec Derby (4.30) after his impressive success in the 2,000 Guineas. That form might not be that brilliant but he will have come on for that run and might be a lot better over a mile and a half.
If he is, he’ll win, despite having the disadvantage of being drawn in stall one, which has been an issue for loads of horses over the years. However, he didn’t win the Guineas in the style of a stayer, he might need some luck if the runners stay on the rail and he’s odds-on. Consequently it makes sense to back something each-way against him.
Young Rascal is the most obvious one as he has great potential and won the Chester Vase in good style but that form might not be that great and, bar the Guineas, I think the best trial might have been the Derrinstown in Ireland.
The winner Hazapour might improve again and won with a bit up his sleeve but while I think he’ll stay that isn’t certain and in any case I think Delano Roosevelt will beat him this time.”
Hugh Taylor – Sevenna Star
Hugh tipped Sevenna Star at 50/1 Ante Post but he is still available at that price if you wish to follow. Hugh recorded a +282pts profit for 2017 with a return on investment of 1.46, his highest ROI ever.
Epsom Derby 2019 best odds at time of writing
Saxon Warrior 10/11
Young Rascal 8/1
Roaring Lion 9/1
Delano Roosevelt 14/1
Knight To Behold 20/1
Dee Ex Bee 25/1
Sevenna Star 25/1
The Pentagon 28/1
Kew Gardens 40/1