The Derby dates back to 1780, and is still ranked the greatest flat race in the world (although the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe quickly assuming that mantle of late). With winnings of £1.25m, the Investec Derby has one of the biggest prize in money in UK racing, matched only by the prestige that victory brings. It remains the race that everyone wants to win, as horses and jockeys push themselves to the limit around the unique and challenging cambers of Epsom Downs.
The Investec Derby race boasts an unrivalled roll of honour, from legendary names such as Seabird, Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar, right up to 2011 hero Pour Moi who won in famous fashion under Mickael Barzalona, who stood erect in his irons yards before the winning post in celebration.
In the 2012 renewal majority of attentions are fixed solely on Camelot, the unbeaten son of Montjeu and supposed next ‘superhorse’ to come into the racing scene. Question is though can he add the Epsom Derby to his already impressive 2000 Guineas haul?
A few trends for you to chew over, and are worth considering ahead of the big race.
- 9 of 10 winners achieved an RPR of 118+ last time out
- 10 of 10 winners finished in the first 3 on all starts that season
- 10 of 10 winners had won at least 50% of their career starts
- 10 of the last 10 winners had run within 35 days of the Derby.
- 10 of 10 winners by a sire with a stamina index of 8.6+
- 10 of 10 winners were born before 7th April
ASTROLOGY – Clocked a fairly reasonable time for this sort of race when a facile winner at Chester in the Dee Stakes. That win came in bottomless ground and it’ll be a lot different here today at Epsom. I also think he’ll be sacrificed as a pacemaker for hot favourite Camelot, and with that in mind I can’t put him forth as a betting proposition, but he may hang onto a place if they go slow enough early.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/images/bonfire.png” href=”#”]Bonfire[/frame_right]BONFIRE – Tops my ratings based on his win in the Dante over Ektihaam. I was very impressed with that performance, and he seems able to handle the undulations he’ll experience later on this afternoon. I am a little worried about his ability to stay the extra trip as he is bred to be quicker than a mile and half horse, but I have hopes he might get away with it, being by Manduro who got ten furlongs well, and did win a group 2 over twelve furlongs, with the sire line of Monsun.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/images/camelot.png” href=”#”]Camelot[/frame_right]CAMELOT – Regarded as a class above his opposition that he’ll face today, he is a typical Ballydoyle talking horse in that although he has won a Racing Post Trophy and 2000 Guineas he hasn’t really proven what he is capable of doing on the racetrack. Perhaps this will be today, but strictly on my ratings he has it to find with a few of these, although the extra half mile is likely to play massively to his strengths – that said his current price of 4/6 is ludicrously short in a race like this, and brings back memories of Tenby in 1993 who went off 4/5 and got beat.
CAVALIERO – Is overpriced at 66/1 and has a good dosage profile fit for this race. His ratings aren’t too bad for a horse of his price and one would imagine he’ll beat a few home, but he is held on form by Main Sequence with quite an authorative performance on Lingfield Derby Trial running and it is impossible to see him reversing form here.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/images/mainsequence.png” href=”#”]Main Sequence[/frame_right]MAIN SEQUENCE – A lovely chestnut three-year-old son of Aldebaran, who remains unbeaten in four starts on the racecourse, most recently with a big performance to run down the classy maiden Shantaram in the Lingfield Derby Trial. I have the time for that race being seriously big, and one which gives him solid place chances in this classic, and I really expect a big run from David Lanigan’s charge.
MICKDAAM – An all out winner of the Chester Vase on bottomless ground on the Roodee on his latest start. He’ll need to improve rapidly on all form he has shown to date so far, and he looks more likely to be towards the rear of the field than towards the fore, and is priced accordingly at 33/1, although I’d have more around the same price as Cavaliero.
MINIMISE RISK – Comes out bottom rated on my figures and was beaten at Chester by Mickdaam, and on all known formlines really shouldn’t be up to reversing form with that rival, even on much quicker ground here at Epsom. The form of his two previous races haven’t worked out either and it is hard to imagine him finishing anywhere but last.
RUGGED CROSS – Needed the run on debut when fifth at Newbury but soon made amends with an authorative display at York winning a maiden in a really good time. He made his return at Newmarket when third to Thought Worthy in the middle of May and although he ran a really eye-catching race he wasn’t really going on at the finish. Which presents two problems to me, did he not get the trip? Or was he left with plenty to work on? My instinct is that ten furlongs is probably as far as he wants to go judging by his pedigree which will make this extra two furlongs here pose a problem to this son of Cape Cross, and is likely to go well until they hit the two furlong marker, and gradually drop back through the field.
THOUGHT WORTHY – A lovely big horse, and full brother to St Leger winner Lucarno. Following the same route as his brother in winning the Fairway Stakes at Newmarket last time he comes into this race with an almost perfect dosage fit for this race. He has the class to be competitive at this sort of level, but the tightness of the track and cambers of the course are likely to play against him and although I’d love to see him make the frame at a good price, I think he’ll be looking at around 4th-5th place at best.
THE DUKE SPEED RATINGS
Bonfire (126), Main Sequence (120), Camelot (117+), Cavaliero (114), Astrology (111), Thought Worthy (111), Rugged Cross (110), Mickdaam (109), Minimise Risk (103).
Although almost every man and his dog fancies Camelot, I think there is some value to be had with Main Sequence for David Lanigan who readied Meeznah to an excellent second in the Oaks back in 2010. The son of Aldebaran comes into this race with his unbeaten record on the line, and looks a strong stayer at this sort of trip which will be an advantage with so many probable ‘non-stayers ‘in the race.
The more I look at the race though the more I’m thinking Camelot probably is the good thing everyone is calling him out to be. I’ve already layed him in the win market and intend to keep that bet, but he has a perfect dosage pedigree for the race, did amazingly well to win the 2000 Guineas from his position in the field, and will improve leaps and bounds for going up in trip.
Bonfire is top rated on my figures but I do worry about his ability to stay the extra two furlongs in the Derby, and I can see him throwing it down at the two furlong pole, but just running out of petrol into third or fourth inside the final furlong as Camelot and Main Sequence go on.
1st – Main Sequence
2nd – Camelot
3rd – Bonfire
4th – Astrology
5th – Thought Worthy
6th – Cavaliero
7th – Rugged Cross
8th – Mickdaam
9th – Minimise Risk