This year’s British and Irish Classics have been anything but easy to predict.
Billesdon Brook defied odds of 66/1 to take home the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month.
While over in Ireland last week Romanised and Alpha Centauri both outran their double-figure prices to upset the jollies in the Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas respectively.
Saxon Warrior has proved the only antidote to the outsiders. Aidan O’Brien’s star impressed on the Rowley Mile earlier this month to land the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and take his unbeaten streak to four.
He’s now the heavy favourite to complete the second-leg of the English Triple Crown at Epsom on Saturday by winning The Derby for O’Brien for a record-equalling seventh time.
The son of Japanese champion Deep Impact out of Galileo mare Maybe is odds-on at 4/6 to land the prize for the trainer for the second year running.
And it’s easy to see why. The three-year-old colt has lit up the track over 1m across the last season and a half and now looks ready to take on the 1m4f test at Epsom.
Those runs over the mile distance have been well short of his optimum trip. If he can beat the best over a trip not best suited to him, just imagine what he can do with the conditions in his favour.
O’Brien’s stars usually go better for their seasonal reappearance. And with the speed, stamina and relaxed vigour that Saxon Warrior has, it’s difficult to see him getting beat at Epsom.
Top jockey Ryan Moore will likely take the ride after missing the raider’s last run due to his participation on Mendelssohn in the Kentucky Derby.
Regardless, it’s John Gosden and Roaring Lion (6/1) who have the unenviable task of upsetting the form book.
The son of Kitten’s Joy was beaten over 2l by the favourite in the 2000 Guineas but bounced back with a convincing 4l success in the Dante Stakes at York a fortnight ago.
That was over 1m2f on the Knavesmire. He’ll need more here against his main foe who leads the head-to-head battles 2-0 thus far. Any rain between now and Saturday could also dampen his chances.
Hazapour (10/1) has attracted interest following the news that Frankie Dettori will take the ride on the Aga Khan-owned raider.
The Italian has won this twice before and will fancy his chances aboard the Group 3 winner.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing