2018 Epsom Derby Odds and Betting Preview
Following Monday’s five-day declaration stage, fourteen equine stars are left with the chance of joining some of the all-time greats as the Epsom Derby takes centre stage on Saturday afternoon – 16:30 start.
Saxon Warrior is likely to go off as an odds on favourite for the one mile and four furlongs contest following his victory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. The race is unlikely to be a procession for Aiden O’Brien‘s charge however, with several other credible challengers.
The inaugural running of The Derby took place back in 1780, over one mile and was won by Diomed. Four years later, the race was upped in distance to its currently known trip of twelve furlongs. The Derby was raced on Thursdays from its inception, however that changed at the beginning of the 20th century to Wednesdays.
From 1995, it was decided that it race would move again to the first Saturday in June and that alteration has proven to be a success for the most valuable horse race in Britain.
For anyone who wishes to place their bets before the final declaration stage on Thursday, please be aware that very few bookmakers are currently offering Non Runner No Bet on this race. Therefore, if you wish back any horse before the final declarations are announced, please check with your chosen bookmaker on this concession, otherwise you will lose your wager if the horse does not run in the race on Saturday afternoon.
Last year’s Derby proved to be a shock result for the punters as Wings Of Eagles flew home for Aiden O’Brien at the rewarding odds of 40/1. It was the record seventh time that owners, Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor have collected the top prize and with a multitude of potential runners on Saturday, their tally of success is likely to increase.
Here below, we will look in more depth at some of the leading contenders of the Blue Riband event, to try and point our readers in the right direction for a winning punt.
With victory on Saturday afternoon, the clamour for Saxon Warrior to attempt to be the first horse since Nijinsky back in 1970 to win horse racing’s Triple Crown could be too much for Aiden O’Brien to turn down. Saxon Warrior has won all of his four starts, all over one mile in his career so far but the son of Deep Impact is expected to prove even better over longer distances.
When winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, Saxon Warrior was doing his best work at the end of the race to win by a length and a half. At the best industry price at the time of writing of 4/5 with Black Type and 188BET, you are not likely to become rich overnight by backing The Derby favourite, but he does look as though he will take a whole load of beating at the Epsom venue.
Saxon Warrior will once again lock horns with Roaring Lion at Epsom, but it is unlikely that the John Gosden trained colt will redress the balance once again. Roaring Lion had first run over Saxon Warrior in Doncaster’s Group 1 Racing Post Trophy last October, but Saxon Warrior galloped his rival into submission late on.
Roaring Lion finished fifth – around two and a half lengths behind Saxon Warrior – in the 2000 Guineas but showed his recent well-being by slamming the Group 2 Dante Stakes field by four and a half lengths, just two weeks ago. The options for Gosden are limited with Roaring Lion having such few opportunities other than to face Saxon Warrior again, however, the son of Kitten’s Joy has solid place claims at the best available odds of 6/1 with William Hill and 188BET.
Fun-time for Frankie?
Legendary jockey, Frankie Dettori has won The Derby on two previous occasions with Authorised (2007) and Golden Horn three years ago. The Italian has been booked to ride Hazapour for Dermot Weld and the Aga Khan in a hat-trick bid.
Hazapour was well backed from 25/1 into 16/1 to take the Group 3 Derby trial at Leopardstown earlier this month over an extended ten furlongs. Plenty of ante-post interest has come for Hazapour in recent days, as the son of Shamardal has been backed into a top-price of 12/1 with Ladbrokes. It would be no surprise to see the price contract yet further as the race edges closer.
Others to Consider
James Doyle has had two lesser rides so far in his Derby career, however, his opportunity to take the mount on Young Rascal for William Haggas, offers real hope for the usually retained Godolphin pilot. Sheikh Mohammed has agreed to give Doyle the chance to ride Young Rascal after winning the Chester Vase. At the top price of 12/1 with William Hill and Black Type, Young Rascal is another worthy of place calculations.
Aiden O’Brien’s Delano Roosevelt stayed on strongly to finish three-quarters of a length behind Hazapour last time out and the stepup to twelve furlongs has the potential to eke out further improvement. MarathonBet has the Galileo colt as short as 9/1 for Derby glory, although Betfred go a more feasible 14/1 on the Ballydoyle second-string.
It would take a brave punter to tip against Saxon Warrior winning The Derby on Saturday afternoon and I’m not prepared to suggest otherwise. The undulations of the Epsom Downs track are a small concern but he should have the class to cover all situations and is rated as a strong bet to win the big race.
An eachway alternative is for Dermot Weld’s Hazapour, who could show the necessary improvement to keep Saxon Warrior honest. The noises coming from the Weld stable and Dettori himself are positive enough to suggest a big run is expected at double-figure odds.