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2017 Epsom Derby tips - 7/1 could repeat his Craven success in the Derby

A great action photo as Harzand (left) wins the 2016 Epsom Derby.

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 Cliffs Of Moher (4/1 bet365) looks set to spearhead a large group of Derby contenders travelling over from their Ballydoyle stables. After falling to a disappointing defeat on debut, the Galileo progeny has come out and won well on his next two appearances. His latest victory came in the Dee Stakes at Chester, a race which has spawned two Derby champions over the past 20 years. Ryan Moore gave him a confident ride that day, leaving it late to stoke up his mount, but once Cliffs Of Moher pushed on for home, none of his highly-rated rivals could catch him. 

Aidan O'Brien sealed a 1-2-3 in the Chester Vase, when favourite Venice Beach (16/1 Ladbrokes) outpaced two of his Ballydoyle pals to win a maiden Grouped title. Feeding off the early pace set by The Anvil (33/1 BetVictor), Venice Beach pushed for home rounding the final bend and he ran out a worthy winner, but Wings Of Eagles' (33/1 SkyBet) late charge almost upset the applecart. He looks open to further progression when he steps up in trip at Epsom and could be the Aidan O'Brien charge to receive some late support in the build-up to the Derby.

Douglas Macarthur (20/1 William Hill) headed another top three finish for Ballydoyle in a notable Derby trial, when he upset Yucatan and Capri (12/1 SkyBet) to win the Group 3 Derrinstown Stakes at Leopardstown. Douglas Macarthur went to post at much longer odds than his more-fancied stablemates, but he took the field on from the front and when Yucatan put it to him down the home straight, he stayed strong to hold off the challenger and win by a head.

The other trainers targeting the Derby title will want to ensure Aidan O'Brien's mob of seven strong challengers don't have everything their own way, which means we could be looking at one of the biggest Derby fields in recent history.

Frankel’s progeny will always be followed closely and Cracksman (8/1 bet365) put in an attention-grabbing debut back in October for John Gosden, when he upset Wild Tempest and favourite, Alfawaris to win a Class 4 contest at Newmarket. He extended his 100% career record on his first start as a three-year-old here at Epsom, where he produced a strong late charge to beat Permian (10/1 Ladbrokes) to the post by a nose. 

Mark Johnston's Permian has since come out and destroyed a decent field at Newmarket, before landing a surprise maiden black type title in the historic Dante Stakes. Permian was one of the only entrants in the Dante field who didn't hold an entry to the Derby, but after he watched his improving young sprinter cruise to the front of the pack and comfortably hold off favourite, Benbatl  (25/1 William Hill) by a length, Johnston confirmed Permian would be supplemented into Espom's feature race.


Jim Crowley guiding Eminent (right) to victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

All eyes were on the much-hyped Sir John Lavery wine Lingfield hosted their prestigious Derby trial, but at Aidan O'Brien's favourite flopped, Best Solution (11/1 BetVictor) stole the spotlight, romping to a comfortable four length victory over fellow Derby entrant, Glencadam Glory. Saeed Bin Suroor's charge impressed in Grouped two-year-old races last season and he seems to have come on a lot since a winter adventure to Meydan.

Fellow Godolphin flag-bearer, Dubai Thunder (20/1 Ladbrokes) may have only been seen once during his short career, but his explosive ten length victory on a rainy day at Newbury has thrust him firmly into the Derby picture. Benbatl looks set to be the last of Godolphin's Derby hopes and despite strong finishes in the Dante and in the Craven, he's been vastly overlooked in the current betting.

After claiming a brilliant five-length victory in the last major Derby trial, the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood, John Gosden supplemented Khalidi (25/1 Ladbrokes) into the Derby entries. That was his second major victory of the season, but when he faced Permian at Newmarket last month, he was left a long way behind in third, which has to raise a few questions about his Derby winning credentials.

Joseph O'Brien's Rekindling (25/1 bet365) beat Douglas Macarthur and the other two Derrinstown placers to the highly-regarded Ballysax Stakes title in April. He wasn't at his best in the Dante and O'Brien junior will be hoping his charge can improve vastly on that fourth place finish.

Sylvester Kirk will have been slightly disappointed to see the beautifully bred Salouen (66/1 Ladbrokes) fall to a surprise defeat in the Listed Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. The horse who beat him, Khalidi finished third too Permian on his following run before claiming another Listed crown by five lengths, boosting Salouen's run in the Feilden in the process.

Ryan Moore will have the pick of the Ballydoyle battalion in the Derby and his decision could be crucial as to which of those runners has the best chance of winning the Derby. Despite his withdrawal from the Dante due to soft ground, Cracksman was heavily backed following Permian's victory and he boasts definite title winning credentials. Whilst the likes of Douglas Macarthur, Dubai Thunder and Benbatl make plenty of each-way appeal, Martyn Meade's EMINENT (7/1 BetVictor) ticks plenty of boxes when searching for a potential Epsom champion.

Out of Frankel and owned by the legendary Sir Peter Vela, Eminent won well on his career debut over a mile at Newmarket. Despite making an impressive start to his racing career, Meade's youngster was largely overlooked going into the Craven at Newmarket, going to post as the 8/1 fourth favourite. However, he travelled like the best horse in that race, storming home to deny Rivet and land a maiden black type title. 

One of the most noteworthy aspects of that performance was the amount of effort and distance it took Jim Crowley to pull his charge up after the line, suggesting a step up in trip will suit him down to the ground. Meade then sent his charge to the 2000 Guineas, where he finished a highly respectable sixth, but he struggled a bit for pace when the one mile specialists set off for home. His trainer said after that race that a mile was the shortest possible distance he could win over and when he does step up in trip to and mile-and-a-half - which will most certainly happen in this year's Epsom Derby - he is likely to be a strong contender for this most prestigious of titles.

3/6/2017 4:30pm Epsom Derby selection - EMINENT (7/1 BetVictor)


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2017 Epsom Derby tips - 7/1 could repeat his Craven success in the Derby

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.

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