Talking points ahead of the Epsom Derby
With the start of the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse almost upon us, anticipation is beginning to build ahead of another two British Classics. This year’s renewal of the Derby and Oaks co-aligns with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and it will be the first time since 2019 that the race will have a full crowd in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the flat season is firmly underway, horse racing aficionados and punters alike will be scouring the Betdaq racing betting odds in search of their Derby winner, with the unpredictability of a big race always leaving things open to chance. The one mile, four-furlong race has been going for over 250 years now, and was won most recently by Charlie Appleby-trained Adayar, who beat the likes of Mojo Star and Godolphin stablemate Hurricane Lane to win the prestigious Group 1 contest.
There is plenty of competition ahead of this year’s showpiece, and with the horse racing tips struggling to call a winner, lets take a look at some of the main talking points ahead of the 2022 edition of the Epsom Derby.
Desert Crown a clear favourite
Looking at the sheer quality of horses involved in this year’s Derby, there’s more than enough to get excited about. And while lots will rely on what happens on the day, the ante-post favourite is certainly Desert Crown, with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained horse coming in at 2/1. Having won the Group Two Dante Stakes at York, beating the likes of Bluegrass and Royal Patronage, Stoute is confident of another success in Surrey, singing the three-year-old’s praises pre-race.
“He wouldn’t have to come on too much,” he said. “It was a good performance at York that puts him in the reckoning.
“He did surprise me how he won, which was a pleasing performance in a good solid time. If you win the Dante I don’t think you have to improve too much more to win the Derby.”
O’Brien upset on the cards
Given his reputation and longevity as a trainer, it’s simply impossible to rule out Aiden O’Brien from Derby success, with Stone Age his best chance of victory at Epsom. Stone Age has the potential to match Rip Van Winkle and Yeatsas some of O’Brien’s very best horses if he is to secure something of an outside win in the Derby, coming in at 10/3 after success at Leopardstown. Luxembourg’s withdrawal has meant O’Brien’s fate hangs in the balance of Stone Age, who will have dependable jockey Ryan Moore in the saddle hoping to spearhead a shock win.
Another Appleby success?
So far this season, Godolphin have dominated proceedings, to the point some are questioning if the races are even competitive enough with their inclusion. Appleby has already asserted his presence on the biggest races over the last 12 months, being crowned Leading Trainer and the current champion after Adayar’s success with Adam Kirkby aboard.
Although Desert Crown tops the billing, Appleby believes his best chance of success lies outside of Adayar, with Nations Pride his best shot. As well as a win in Dubai, the three-year-old won the Newmarket Stakes earlier this year, beating Andrew Balding-trained Hoo Ya Ma to start the season in style, and after earning praise from Appleby, he looks like Godolphin’s best bet — should Sheik Mohammed agree to paying the £75k entry fee.
“Nations Pride was impressive at Newmarket and he’s in the French Derby, where we have Modern Games as well,” he said.
“He’ll work on Wednesday then we’ll make a decision as to whether we supplement him on Monday. We’re hoping we will—there’s only one Derby and you only want to go there if you think you can win it. He has a great profile and ticks most boxes out of our three possible runners.”