With just over a week to go until the 2017 running of the Epsom Derby, the final declaration is starting to take shape. We already know that 2000 Guineas Winner Churchill will be absent and that decision has taken away the obvious favourite so who will contend for this year’s trophy?
The winner of the Dante Stakes, Mark Johnston’s Permian wasn’t actually entered into the Investec Derby prior to his victory but that has changed after the three year old’s success. Winner by a length on the day, Permian now comes into the Derby reckoning and can currently be claimed at odds of 14/1 with Unibet.
That’s a fairly distant figure, a full ten points behind favourite Cliffs of Moher but if you are basing your bet on the unofficial trial event, it’s certainly one to consider.
Another ‘winner’ in terms of the Derby betting is second favourite Cracksman despite the fact that this horse was withdrawn from the Dante Stakes on the morning of the race. However, having previously held off Permian in a listed race last month, Cracksman has shortened to 5/1 in Unibet’s outright markets.
Second place in York went to Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbati who also received a cut in the Investec Derby betting as a result. The horse faded a little in the closing stages but the performance was enough to see a shortening from around 33/1 to 16/1 with Unibet.
The last horse to shift in a favourable direction was Crystal Ocean who surprised everyone at the Dante to finish in a creditable third place. With a first, second and now a third in his only three outings, Crystal Ocean is in from around 20/1 to 12/1.
OUT IN FRONT
Unibet’s outright markets currently show joint favourites in Cliffs of Moher and Cracksman, both of whom can be picked up at a current price of 4/1. The Aidan O’Brien trained Cliffs of Moher had led the markets on his own but has drifted slightly despite a record of two wins from his first three outings.
Cracksman has owner Anthony Oppenheimer hoping for his second Derby victory after Golden Horn and Frankie Dettori came home in 2015. With two wins from two so far, the horse and that same Dettori / Oppenheimer connection looks in good shape coming into the Investec Derby this year.
From the front two, we have a gap to Eminent at 7/1, Best Solution at 10/1 and Permian at 12/1. Of those three, a lot of attention is being placed on Permian who took out the Dante Stakes at York – a race that is widely considered as a key Derby Trial. Three further horses are then locked at 14/1 in Unibet’s outright Derby betting: Venice beach, Yucatan and Dubai Thunder are on that mark and of the three, there is some interest in Yucatan who has been placed in five of his six outings.
Elsewhere, there are other Each Way options including Douglas Macarthur who is priced at 16/1. This three year old is another to roll out of the Aidan O’Brien trained list of horses and, with a first and second place in his last two outings, that’s a record that suggests a strong Each Way option. Beyond that set of runners, there are some rank outsiders who could trouble the places but remember, in 17 renewals since 2000, we haven’t seen a winner longer than 7/1.
COLOURING YOUR VIEW
It helps, when watching any race to know which horse you’ve backed. It may well be easy to follow the greys but in a muddle of blacks and browns, only the distinctive colours of the jockeys will stand out. Here then is a chart showing you what to look for when they go off at Epsom for the 2017 Investec Derby on June 3. Alternatively, if you are struggling to pick a winner, why not go with your lucky colour or a combination that will really stand out as the field goes round the track?
Not everything went to plan at the Dante Stakes in York and there were a number of fancied horses who have since drifted in the Epsom Derby betting. Among those was Joseph O’Brien’s Rekindling who ran a very creditable fourth in the unofficial trial.
The issue here is that Rekindling was widely tipped to cross the line in first place and, following his finish outside of the top three, the horse has slipped from a general 14/1 to 20/1 in Unibet’s outright Investec Derby betting.
Aidan O’Brien also suffered a setback at the Dante as Exemplar finished way down the field and has therefore lengthened from around 25/1 to a very unflattering 50/1 with Unibet.
It can be said that both of these horses have enjoyed reasonable careers and certainly in the case of Exemplar, the sot ground at York would not have been to his liking.
An improvement in the surface could bring about another change so there could certainly be more shifts in the markets. The Dante Stakes at York can be a very good indicator for the Investec Derby and here are some horses to consider but all the while, favourite Cliffs of Moher remains an unaffected 4/1 shot for the main event.