Epsom Derby Festival Betting Preview


Epsom Derby Festival Betting Preview


This week sees the most influential flat racing meeting of the season, as Epsom Downs once again plays host to the huge Derby Festival. Kicking off on Friday, the fillies are the first to grab the spotlight in what looks like an excellent edition of the Oaks, before the colts get their chance to shine in the Derby on Saturday – this year taking place at the earlier time of 1:30pm, due to a certain football match taking place at Wembley Stadium.

Here we take a look at each of the feature races and pick out our best win and each way contenders. All odds quoted are from William Hill.

The Oaks – Friday 2nd June 4:30pm

Super stallion Galileo has already sired five winners of the 1m4f fillies Classic but, having passed away in 2021, he won’t have too many more chances to add to that tally. He is, however, responsible for this year's favourite in the shape of Savethelastdance (6/5). The mount of Ryan Moore is typical of a rapidly improving filly from the O’Brien yard, and, having been well beaten on her only start at two, she showed much more when winning at Leopardstown on her return. It was, however, her jaw-dropping effort in the Cheshire Oaks last time - when routing the opposition by a ridiculous 22 lengths - which saw her rocket to the head of the market. This is tougher, but she may not be done improving yet and rates a major threat to all.

In recent years, this contest has regularly turned into an Aidan O’Brien vs John Gosden battle, and we look to be in for more of the same in 2023, with the John & Thady Gosden trained Soul Sister (11/4) clear second best in the market. Winner of a low-key event on her sole start last season, she was then last of 12 in the Dubai Duty Free at Newbury… and then came the Musidora Stakes at York. Sent off an unfancied 18/1 shot, the mount of Frankie Dettori suddenly put in the performance of a superstar, moving through the gears and quickening right away in the closing stages.

Others to note include the Godolphin contender, Eternal Hope (14/1), who won the Lingfield Oaks Trial in decent style, and the second Gosden filly, Running Lion (6/1), who arrives seeking a five-timer. At a much bigger price, Aidan O’Brien’s Red Riding Hood (40/1) boasts an intriguing pedigree, being by a US Triple Crown winner and out of Group 1 winning mare, Ballydoyle. She needs to improve to win this, but has finished in the frame in all four starts to date, and isn’t without hope of doing so again.

  • Best Win Bet - Soul Sister @ 11/4
  • Best Each Way Bet - Red Riding Hood @ 40/1

The Derby Saturday 3rd June 1:30pm

Aidan O’Brien also saddles the favourite in the big one on Saturday afternoon - although Auguste Rodin’s status as 3/1 market leader certainly isn’t down to his performance in the 2000 Guineas last time out. Sent off clear favourite for that Newmarket classic, he put in an abject display to finish 12th of the 14 runners. That effort was surely too bad to be true, with the son of Deep Impact having looked so impressive during his juvenile season and been touted as the next big thing over the winter. All horses can be forgiven one poor outing, and he’s in the right hands to bounce back – but certainly needs to.

On recent form, the Charlie Appleby trained Military Order (9/2) appears far more solid. Kicking his season off with an easy novice success at Newbury, he followed up in gritty style in the Lingfield Derby Trial last time out. Hitting the line strongly that day, this full brother to 2021 Derby hero Adayar looks to boast sound claims of following in his sibling's hoofprints.

Another for the shortlist is the Frankel-sired, Frankie Dettori-ridden Arrest (5/1). Going in the famous Juddmonte silks, this John & Thady Gosden-trained colt built on a solid two-year-old campaign when slamming the field in the Chester Vase. A relentless galloping type, he could likely have doubled the 6½ length winning margin that day had Frankie asked him for everything in the straight. A win for the evergreen Italian in his final Derby appearance would certainly go down well with punters, and he may have the partner to succeed.

Amongst those at bigger prices, Dubai Mile (16/1) beat Arrest last season, whilst The Foxes (12/1), White Birch (14/1) and Passenger (6/1) posted eye-catching displays in the Dante Stakes at York. Galileo colt, Artistic Star (40/1), meanwhile, is the only unbeaten runner in the field, and whilst this represents a huge step up in class, he has done all that has been asked of him so far and looks the part on paper.

  • Best Win Bet - Arrest @ 5/1
  • Best Each Way Bet - Artistic Star @ 40/1

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