Racing enthusiasts have a strong field listed for the 2017 running of the Investec Derby but when the horses line up for the off on June 3, there will be one notable absentee.
Winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, Churchill is the best horse in the Galileo stable so it is interesting why the three-year-old is not among the declaration.
The Derby is one of the tougher outings of the entire Flat Season and at a precise distance of one mile, four furlongs, and ten yards, it is a true test of stamina. That is perhaps the only clue as to why Churchill will not be in attendance when the runners and riders line up for the 2017 renewal.
The Aidan O’Brien horse has that impressive record of six wins from seven outings but the majority of those have come from straight sprints with his longest victory coming over eight furlongs in that 2000 Guineas win at Newmarket.
Even so, it would have been fascinating to see Churchill take a step up but as a result, we could have one of the more open fields that we’ve seen at a Derby in recent years.
Leading the Pack
O’Brien remains heavily involved in the 2017 Investec Derby and his Cliffs of Moher sits as the ante-post favourite with Unibet at 7/2. That figure reveals a slight shortening in price and, the second favourite Cracksman has narrowed the gap marginally as he tightens to 4/1.
There is little to choose between these two with Cracksman showing two wins from his only two outings while Cliffs of Moher has two from three after finishing fifth on his maiden run.
Cracksman therefore has the slightly better record and it would be no huge surprise to see these two become joint favourites as we get closer to the off.
12/1 shot Permian comes into the reckoning after winning the Dante Stakes at York. This is seen as a strong indicator for the Derby and the win persuaded trainer Mark Johnston that the horse should be entered for the main event.
Between Permian and the favourites are Eminent at 7/1 and Best Solution at 10/1, two strong contenders who could provide options in Unibet’s Each way market.
Runners and Riders
Keep following news updates in the days leading up to the Derby itself in order to keep abreast of any late withdrawals but remember that with Unibet, prices are listed on a no runner no bet basis so you can act now to claim your ante-post pick.
The absence of 2000 Guineas winner Churchill does take a natural favourite out of the market but it certainly opens the field as a result. As such, we could have one of the closest Epsom Derby runnings in recent memory and, although it’s a tough one to call, there are some strong contenders across all available of Unibet’s betting markets.