With less than six weeks left to play out before the Investec Derby at Epsom, Ol Man River heads the betting at hefty 7/1 odds with Ladbrokes, which suggests nobody has a clue who will win at this stage.
Thankfully, there are a number of things to keep in mind before steaming into the market for the 1m4f spectacle. Read on for three of them:
Aidan O’Brien usually trains the winning horse these days, although picking which Ballydoyle runner to back can be tricky
O’Brien sent out the last three Derby winners and has two more victories in his back catalogue from the early years of this century, but it hasn’t always quite gone according to plan for the Ballydoyle team.
The trainer’s son Joseph has first pick of the bunch, and while the 21-year-old nailed it with Camelot and Australia in 2012 and 2014, who both won after going off favourite at 11/8 or shorter, he missed a trick in 2013 when plumping for 11/2 shot Battle Of Marengo over Ruler Of The World, who won at 7/1 under Ryan Moore.
With eight of the first 10 in Ladbrokes’ Derby betting coming from the canny Wexford man’s yard, and each priced between 7/1-16/1, it may pay to look further down the market this time round.
John F Kennedy looks particularly interesting at 10/1, as the Galileo colt holds the exact same form after four races as half-brother Australia did last year (2, 1, 1, 3), and while his 1/4 blowout at Leopardstown earlier this month has seen him tumble in the betting, that was on soft-heavy ground.
It’s likely to come up good at Epsom.
For an alternative, the best place to look could be Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old crop
The Barbados-born veteran is tied with O’Brien on five Derbys each, and while four of those successes came over a decade ago, Workforce gave Stoute and Ryan Moore the fastest ever recorded time in the race back in 2010.
He has eight entered this year, with unbeaten Irish-bred contender Consort, at 25/1, looking the best of them, although keep an eye out for a price on improving Khalid Abdullah-owned colt Dissolution.
Only one Frenchman has trained a Derby winner since 1976, but the handler in question, Andre Fabre, managed as much just four years ago
The trainer of former equine superstars Hurricane Run and Manduro won the Derby with Pour Moi in 2011, and sent out 1,000 Guineas winner Miss France last term, so the presence of four of his charges among the entries should be of note.
Of the quartet, unbeaten Irish-bred challenger Grey Lion has the closest profile to Mickael Barzalona’s mount four years ago, as Pour Moi went into Epsom’s big day having won two races in his career, but also went down in two prior to the Derby.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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