Behind every great horse there’s a great man or woman, so the old saying goes (sort of).
It’s no secret that the vast majority of former Epsom Derby winners have been trained by the sport’s very best, and that trend will surely continue in 2017.
Here are five to follow:
It’s a cliché of course, but there are few superlatives left to be thrown at Aidan O’Brien. The Irishman, who operates out of the Ballydoyle yard for John and Sue Magnier and their associates, is a five-time Derby winner with a trophy cabinet laden with glittering prizes.
He has 12 British Guineas and 16 Irish Guineas triumphs to his name, seven Ascot Gold Cups, four St Legers and a stack of other successes in major races held across the world.
His lead charge in the 2017 Investec Derby is Cliffs of Moher, who will be skippered by one of the best jockeys in the business, Ryan Moore, on the day.
After a stellar career in the United States throughout the 1980s, Gosden returned to the UK in the nineties and has gone on to enjoy plenty of success both in flat racing and over hurdles.
He’s a two-time Epsom Derby winner courtesy of Golden Horn in 2015 and Benny the Dip some 18 years earlier, and that heritage in this renewal is backed by triumphs in the 1,000 Guineas, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the St Leger.
Gosden will have Cracksman as his key runner in the 2017 edition, with many fancying the Derby Trial winner to double up come June 3.
Saeed bin Suroor
It’s been another stellar year for the four-time British Champion Trainer already, with a stunning win ratio of 31.51% backed by a very handsome 64.38% of entries finishing in the places.
He’s tasted Derby glory before – albeit more than two decades ago with Lammtarra in 1995, and this year he has three live contenders for the crown in Best Solution, Dubai Thunder and Benbatl.
Of that trio it’s possibly the latter, with second and third place finishes already this year in the Dante and Craven Stakes respectively, who holds most appeal for punters.
Sir Michael Stoute
You have to go all the way back to 1981 to find Sir Michael Stoute’s first Epsom Derby winner….and he has since followed that with a further four successes.
Perhaps his best hope of Derby glory this time around comes in the form of Crystal Ocean, who has finished in the money in all three of his starts including a third place by about a length to winner Permian in the Dante Stakes.
There are things going in the favour of Mark Johnston and circumstances that also suggest he might be one to swerve in this year’s Investec Derby.
First up is a lack of form: his yard has produced just four winners in their last 67 starts. But on the plus side he is a former classic winner having taken the honours in the 1000 Guineas of 2004, and he has the excellent Permian at his disposal.
This colt won the Dante Stakes in May and finished a close second to Cracksman in the Investec Derby Trial a month earlier.