Arguably the most famous horse race in all of the world is quickly drawing upon us as the Epsom Derby is here. One of the world’s oldest horse races, the race was first run back in 1780 and is the one race that trainers, jockeys and owners all want to win.
The Derby alongside the 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger forms part of British racing’s Classics – but it’s the Derby that is the undisputed jewel in the crown. The Derby meeting is more than just a race is two days of graded action
Taking place at one of Britain’s oldest and unique racecourses we preview three of the most prestigious races that are due to take place – the Coronation Cup, Oaks and the Derby itself.
Before we dive into the races themselves, let’s first focus on the track. Except for the First and Second World Wars, the Derby has always been hosted at Epsom racecourse. Located in Surrey, the track is about an hour away from central London.
As unique as they come, very little racing takes place at Epsom throughout the year, with the track reserved for hosting the biggest racing event of the year. What makes Epsom so unique is that rather than a complete circuit, the track is designed in a U-shape that sees various chutes that are used for races over a variety of different distances.
The horses will steadily climb up the back straight to an incline that will see them travel as high up as Nelson’s column. The runners then take a huge left sweeping turn where they are met with a steep downhill finish that has a camber across the track. As well as needing a horse that has the perfect blend of stamina and speed, it’s essential that a horse can handle the track – many of the all-time greats haven’t been able to.
The Coronation Cup
The first big race of the two day Derby card is the Coronation Stakes.
A race steeped in history, the race was first to run back in 1902 and in recent years has been won by the likes of Pyledriver, Cracksman and Defoe.
Raced over a distance of one mile and four furlongs, this group one flat race is open to horses aged four and over.
The Coronation Cup is a prestigious prize to win, with the winning connections of the race taking home well over £180,000.
Aidan O’Brien stands alone at the top of the training tables having trained eight winners, including the amazing St Nicholas Abbey which won the race between 2011-2013.
This year the favourite for the race is last year’s winner Pyledriver who can currently be backed around +300.
Trained by the charismatic William Muir, Pyledriver has struggled since he took this race in thrilling style last year and in our opinion is certainly no certainty to follow up his gritty win here.
The race he won last year was won in very soft conditions and if the rain comes he looks set to thrive. However, if the weather remains away, this five-year-old may just find himself vulnerable to one or two others.
Next in the betting comes the Charlie Appleby and Godolphin trained Manobo who can be backed at +350.
Manobo has only been beaten once in his career with that coming in his last race, but interestingly Manobo is unbeaten when he has run in the UK. Whether Manobo handles the track is a massive question mark but there is no doubt he will arrive primed and ready and could be the classy horse of the race.
Coronation Cup Betting Choice: Manobo
|Horse Racing Odds by JazzSports
One of the most popular races of the entire year, the Cazoo Oaks is a race exclusively for fillies. The headline race of the first day, the race is run over the same distance as the Derby and will see some top quality horses in action.
There is a huge prize on offer with £224,000 on offer to the connections of the winner. The race has been won by some of the all-time greats which include Enable, Love and Snowfall.
Aidan O’Brien has saddled three of the last four winners of the race and the performance of Snowfall in last year’s race was one of the best performances that this famous race has ever seen.
This year twelve horses will line up for their shot at glory and as you would expect the runners represent some of the very finest connections in the sport.
The current favourite is the John and Thady Gosden trained Emily UpJohn who is priced around even money. Yet to taste defeat, there is a huge buzz about the horse who was a clear and easy winner of the Musidora just a few weeks ago. She separated herself from the field with the minimum amount of fuss and does look like the class horse of the race. A daughter of former Derby winner Sea the Stars, the expectations are high that she will be able to handle the track.
It could be a special day for the Gosden’s as the father-son duo currently have the second favourite for the race in the form of Nashwa. A +400 shot, Nashwa has won her last two starts and could create some history. Booked for the ride is Hollie Doyle and Doyle is hoping to become the first female jockey to win a Classic.
Whilst the pundits believe that Nashwa doesn’t quite have the class of stablemate Emily UpJohn, her last two victories have been very impressive. A big, galloping fillie she could be the one to be on if Emily UpJohn has an off day.
Cazoo Oaks Betting Pick: Nashwa
|Horse Racing Odds by JazzSports
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The Epsom Derby
The big race of the day and arguably the most exciting day of the entire racing calendar, this year’s Derby looks to be a cracking renewal.
The race was first run back in 1780 and attracts one of the biggest prizes of the entire year with the winning connections set for a huge payday of over £600,000.
Fittingly on a day where the tributes will fly in for former Champion Jockey Lestor Piggot, it is Piggot who holds the record for the number of Derby wins having won the race a total of nine times.
Aidan O’Brien’s year revolves around the Derby and he will want to add another winner to the eight Derby winners that he has already trained.
On what is set to be a special day due to the Queen’s Coronation celebrations, one of the Queen’s favourite trainers Sir Michael Stoute is the trainer of the favourite for the race.
Desert Crown rocketed to favouritism after winning the Dante at York a little over a month ago. Still just his second start, Desert Crown looked like a horse going places when he won by two lengths. Still showing signs of greenness, Desert Crown looked like he had plenty in the tank as he hit the line and the expectation is that he will have got even better since his last race.
Rarely has a horse been as impressive as when he rolled out an easy winner of the Leopardstown Derby Trial where he won the race with ease. Raced just shy of the Derby distance there is a small question mark as to whether Stone Age will be able to last the distance but the way he finished his trial race would suggest that the distance shouldn’t be an issue.
Aidan O’Brien knows how to ready a horse for the Derby and +400 could be a backable price.
Epsom Derby Betting Pick: Stone Age
|Horse Racing Odds by JazzSports
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