As the Investec Epsom Derby draws close, excitement amongst racing fans is at a premium, but it is not only Channel 4’s feature race that punters should focus on.
Indeed, value can be found in races preceding the 4pm showpiece, and we have scoured the Epsom card to highlight the best value bets of Derby day.
1.35 – High Troja @c9/2
Set to go off as favourite, Ed Dunlop’s colt still appears vastly overpriced at 9/2 in light of his two victories within his last three starts. The fact that his most recent success came over this distance serves only to improve his chances, as does the jockey booking of Ryan Moore, who was on board to justify 7/4 favouritism at Leicester in April.
In a bid to land place money, punters could do worse than backing Salutation each-way at 12/1, amidst her failure to finish outside the first three on her last four starts.
2.05 – Haikbidiac 4/1
Although 7/4 Thunder Strike would be sure to prove a popular favourite even without the assistance of champion jockey Richard Hughes, the fact that the Richard Hannon-trained two-year-old has yet to compete over 6f could deter some from taking such a short price.
With a 100 per cent strike rate in two starts over 5f, it is unlikely that the slight hike in trip will be of too much concern, but a chance is taken on 4/1 shot Haikbidiac, who shaped particularly well in his last appearance at York. On that occasion, William Haggas’ colt stayed on into third place, and looked primed for a crack at a 6f trip in the process.
2.40 – St Nicholas Abbey/Dunaden straight forecast
Whilst it is plausible to envisage the heavy favourite being overhauled in the preceding race to this, nothing seems capable of stopping St Nicholas Abbey winning the Investec Coronation Cup for the third year in succession. An odds-on 1/3 chance, Aidan O’Brien’s charge enters this race on the back of a Meydan victory on Dubai World Cup day over the same trip. 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden looks certain to follow him home if fully tuned up, and can complete a straight forecast bet to obtain greater value for punters.
3.15 Epsom – Smoothtalkinrascal each-way 14/1
A three-time winner from just seven starts over 5f, David O’Meara’s Smoothtalkinrascal looks way overpriced at 14/1 to land this year’s Epsom Dash.
The fact that he is typically delivered late could prove problematic from the widest draw, but this three-year-old remains open to much improvement on the back of four consecutive top-three finishes. The gelding has never finished outside of place money with Danny Tudhope in the saddle either, a trend that looks to have a terrific chance of continuing here.
Duke of Firenze is towards the head of the betting at 8/1 for the race meanwhile, and cannot be discounted at a trip he has won over on two of his three starts at it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication