Three-pronged Derby Attack Looks The Right Play
Horse Racing – The Derby – Epsom – 4pm Saturday
My jingoism might be rearing its head a week earlier than expected, but I just can’t bring myself to back an Irish horse called Australia to win the English Derby.
Joking aside, there are a few reasons for opposing Aiden O’Brien’s impeccably bred colt. Having been as short of 4/6 only a week ago, Australia is 13/8 at the time of writing and may well drift towards 2/1 if one of the big high-street bookies wants to oppose him, or the forecast 27mm of rain expected at Epsom arrives before Derby time – as O’Brien is adamant his horse won’t want soft ground.
There is also a slight worry about stable-form with Ruler of the World by-passing the Coronation Stakes and none of O’Brien’s Oaks runners finishing in the first five.
On the flip-side O’Brien has stated that Australia might be the best horse he’s ever trained and, being the offspring of leading sire Galileo and globetrotting super-filly Ouija Board, he might well be. However he said that about Camelot who, despite winning the 2,000 Guineas and Derby in the same season (a year where the 3-year-old form was very poor), didn’t turn out to be all that.
All the money in the last few days has been for Kingston Hill who has halved in price to 8/1, and last year’s Racing Post winner looks to have a very solid each-way chance. Form students will point to the fact that Roger Varian’s charge was five places behind Australia in the Guineas, but this is offset by the sparkling form of the Varian stable, whose Farraj hosed up at Epsom on Friday under Derby jockey Andrea Atzeni.
The other horse for money recently has been O’Brien’s second string Geoffrey Chaucer and, whilst it would be apt for a Derby winner to be named after a famous English Poet, if the O’Brien stable is under a cloud than it looks wise to look elsewhere.
Both Ebanoran and Fascinating Rock finished in front of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, and both look to have solid each-way chances. Ebanoran is trained by John Oxx who has won the Derby twice with top-class horses Sinndar and Sea The Stars, so take the hint. Equally, Dermot Weld has had runners placed in both the Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas and yesterday’s Oaks, so fascinating Rock shouldn’t be underestimated.
Backing those three each-way make up the betting strategy, though some form students may well choose to follow York’s Dante form where subsequent French Derby winner The Great Gatsby beat Arod and True Story into second and third. The two placed horses run here and both look likely to be suited by the step up to a mile and a half.
Kingston Hill each-way 8/1 or better
Ebanoran each-way 16/1 or better
Fascinating Rock each-way 16/1 or better
Horse Racing – The Coronation Stakes – Epsom – 2.40pm Saturday
At the time of writing, William Hill is offering 11/10 about French superstar Cirrus Des Aigles claiming this prize – and that looks big! Let’s not forget that this is a horse who two runs ago beat Arc winner Treve, and also gave the might Frankel his toughest race. Bookies are pinning their hopes on the trip being too far and Epsom not suiting.
Cirrus Des Aigles 11/10