Aidan O’Brien’s Churchill is now 7/1 to win next year’s Epsom Derby – half the price of any other horse in our betting – after landing the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, but while Newmarket victory places the Galileo colt at the top of the juvenile tree, caution must be advised.
There is no more prestigious race for two-year-old’s than the Dewhurst, with Ballydoyle further enriched to the tune of £390,000 after bagging a 1-2 in Suffolk – 66/1 shot Lancaster Bomber chased Churchill and Ryan Moore home under Colm O’Donoghue.
However, none of the last eight winners even made it to Epsom the following June, with only two horses managing to take both races since 1992.
The omens get even worse for Churchill when you consider that O’Brien couldn’t convert any of his four previous Dewhurst winners into Derby gold, despite landing the latter five times in total.
His past two Newmarket victors, War Command in 2013 and Air Force Blue 12 months ago, both suffered terribly from second-season syndrome, with the former failing to finish better than fourth in three subsequent runs.
Air Force Blue has fared even worse, with his form since reading 0707 after finishing at the back of the field when 1/1 favourite at the Curragh in August.
With such evidence at hand, betting on Churchill at 7/1 can’t be advised, despite the son of Galileo – a 2001 winner and sire to three more since – riding an impressive five-race winning streak since coming third on debut last May.
Of the other horses priced up for the 2017 renewal, O’Brien’s 14/1 shot Capri – another Galileo progeny – looks the part for the trainer of three of the past five Derbys.
Capri skipped Newmarket after beating stablemate Yucatan by just under a length to bring up a three-timer last month, having finished second to Arcada – another O’Brien horse trained by son Joseph – first time out at the Curragh in July.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.