Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the Epsom Derby and picks out an improving contender sitting at a very appealing price.
The Epsom Derby is one of the most famous and lucrative races in the entire sport and on Saturday 3rd of June, Epsom Downs racecourse will host the 247th renewal of this historic contest. A large field of the best sprinters in the business will battle it out over this testing, 12 furlong trip, to see who will be crowned 2017 Epsom Derby champion.
Aidan O’Brien will be searching for a sixth Derby winner this year and his talented young charge, Churchill
currently leads the way in the ante-post betting. Following a surprise defeat on his maiden outing on a racetrack last season, the three-year-old son of Galileo cruised to the Chesham Stakes title at Ascot. He then went back home to Ireland to win two major prizes at the Curragh and one at Leopardstown, before venturing to Newmarket to see if he could end his season in fitting style in the Dewhurst Stakes.
Ryan Moore took his mount to the front of the high-quality field with just over a furlong to go and he stayed on well to land a second Group 1 title in a row. He’s bred to stay longer than the seven furlong trip he tackled last season and his upcoming outing in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, for which he is the current ante-post favourite, will give punters a big clue as to whether he will be able to see out the Derby trip.
Andre Fabre waited until September to give Waldgeist
(20/1 Paddy Power
his first taste of competitive action and this son of Galileo scored a comfortable victory on his debut at Chantilly. A narrow defeat on his next appearance was followed by a maiden Group 1 triumph at Saint-Cloud, where the 10/1 shot upset fellow Derby entrants, Capri
and Best Solution
)to the 10 furlong Criterium De Saint-Cloud title.
Best Solution ran a good race to finish second at Saint-Cloud, but Aidan O’Brien will have been disappointed with Capri’s finish back in third, especially with his charge going to post as the odds-on favourite. He returned to action this season with a similarly underwhelming performance when finishing four lengths behind Rekindling
) in fourth in a Grade 3 at Leopardstown, so he will have to show marked improvement if he wants to challenge for the Derby title.
O’Brien sent Cliffs Of Moher
) back out on the track very quickly after a disappointing debut performance at Cork in October. He cruised to an easy five length victory two weeks later at Leopardstown and looks open to more progression going into his three-year-old season. Franz Schubert
suffered a surprise defeat in his first outing of the new season and Andre Fabre will be hoping the Godolphin-owned colt can bounce back to the form which saw him win well on his only outing of last season.
Andrea Atzeni riding Rivet (second left, red and white) to The Racing Post Trophy title at Doncaster in October.
Frankel’s progeny will always be followed closely and Cracksman
) put in an attention-grabbing debut back in October for John Gosden. He upset Wild Tempest and favourite, Alfawaris to win a Class 4 contest at Newmarket and he looks set to return to the Rowley Mile to tackle Churchill in the 2000 Guineas, before bidding for Epsom Derby glory later in the summer.
) lost out to stablemate, Cliffs Of Moher when they met last season. Aidan O’Brien has sent him out twice already during the early stages of his three-year-old campaign and he has managed to score two comfortable victories in competitive eight furlong races. Yucutan
) won well at the Curragh last summer, but three successive defeats behind potential Derby rivals doesn’t improve his chances of winning the big one at Epsom.
Mick Halford’s Irishcorrespondent
) will be watched carefully during this new campaign, after scoring an excellent victory over several capable rivals on his competitive debut at Leopardstown last season. After a narrow runner-up finish on his debut for John Gosden, Glencadam Glory
) beat Hydroxide and The Anvil
), now rated 109, so a 10k prize at Doncaster on his last appearance in February.
) enjoyed a profitable off-season adventure to Meydan, winning a Group 3 title and the UAE Derby on the dirt track in Dubai. Saeed Bin Suroor watched his young charge lose out narrowly to several potential Derby and 2000 Guineas rivals on a couple of occasions during his two-year-old season, but those victories at Meydan and a good Group 1 triumph at Saint-Cloud back in October could see a change of fortunes when he returns to British soil.
There is plenty of time between now and the Derby for some of the entrants to run their way in and out of the Epsom equation, so an ante-post wager must be placed with caution. That being said, William Haggas’ RIVET
is a name that stands out for an each-way ante-post punt at this stage of the season.
A sound beating at the hands of Churchill in the Dewhurst Stakes is the only real blot on this three-year-old colt’s form card. He was narrowly beaten by the favourite on his competitive debut, but has gone on to win three good races since then, including a Grade 2 win over Thunder Snow in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, before taking on his rivals from the front of the field and outstaying the likes of Yucutan and Salouen to claim victory in the Grade 1 Racing Post Trophy, again at Doncaster.
He’s out of Fasnet Rock, one of Australia’s highest regarded Sires and his Dam’s Sire is Galileo, so there is no doubting he will improve when presented with longer trips. He will make his seasonal reappearance at the upcoming Craven meeting at Newmarket, before going into a possible rematch with Churchill over the Rowley Mile in the 2000 Guineas. Good performances in those prestigious races will see his current price plummet, so an early season punt on Rivet in the Epsom Derby looks like it could prove to be particularly profitable.
3/6/2017 4:30pm Epsom Derby selection - RIVET each-way (20/1 BetVictor)