O’Brien two-year-old factor making Mars popular for 2013 Derby

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St Nicholas Abbey and Camelot have both been big ante-post Epsom Derby favourites in recent years from the Aidan O’Brien yard and Mars is following suit this year.

Mars has only had one racecourse start to date, but a comfortable victory on the all-weather of Dundalk has seen him priced at 10/1 to win the Derby next June.

Big things were already anticipated before he stepped foot on the track, as he was as short as 16/1 to take Derby honours based on whispers from the yard.

A runner from the O’Brien and Michael Tabor team automatically seems to warrant instant respect and Mars is the latest two-year-old thought to have a big future.

St Nicholas Abbey was equally as highly regarded in 2009, ending his two-year-old career with an extremely dominant success in the Racing Post Trophy to make it three wins from three starts.

The result was that he was installed as short as 3/1 for the following year’s Derby, but did not even make it to Epsom.

Camelot followed a similar pattern last year, with perhaps an even more dominant victory in the Racing Post Trophy, seeing him priced at 4/1 for the 2012 Derby, which he duly won.

Mars is almost certain to run again before the end of the Flat season in a higher-quality race and another victory would surely see his Derby price cut again.

The fact that he is a son of former Derby winner Galileo is another reason for the high optimism, while he still has plenty of growing to do, which is likely to bring solid improvement.

However, it has to be noted that other two-year-olds this season have already run to a higher level than Mars and perhaps should be just as well fancied for Epsom.

Leading this group is Dawn Approach from the Jim Bolger yard, who is four from four this season with the latest being in a Group Two at Royal Ascot.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.