Epsom Derby Tips, Preview & Betting
(Saturday June 4, 2011)

Take a look at the latest betting on the Epsom Derby.

The winner of the Dante Stakes at York on May 12 now takes up the much-worn mantle of Epsom Derby favourite and can be backed at around 9/4 in the Derby betting odds. That offers small reward. The horse in question, Carlton House, may actually go off even shorter for no other reason than he is owned by an old aged pensioner called The Queen. But is Carlton House ‘throne’ in? Even in these hard economic times her loyal subjects will no doubt doff their caps and blindly lump their dole money (ed: income support?) onto the wrinkly granny’s nag come raceday. Let them eat cake.

Cutting through the tabloid fluff, there is no doubt that trainer Michael Stoute’s Carlton House did produce a good performance. The inexperienced colt came from off a very slow pace to win cosily without midget-on-board Ryan Moore ever making contact with the persuader. The horse could do no more given the circumstances.

Or could he? As the jockey said, the race was a mess. So should we get so carried away with the form? Probably not. Carlton House’s narrow defeat of Seville appears at face value to be the strongest of some rather motley clues. It may be foolish to dismiss the runner-up Seville but it may also be folly to believe blindly that the Dante result holds the key to the Derby. The main problem for me is the close proximity of the rag Pisco Sour in third place. If the form was of Derby winning status then the front two should have drawn well clear of that moderate yardstick however the race was run, but they didn’t.

Another issue is that Carlton’s House’s sire Street Cry does not tend to get winners over 1m4f. Carlton House is bred ideally for 1m2f, the trip of the Dante, but not the mile and a half of the Derby. If breeding does kick in expect him to fade, not accelerate, in the final furlong.

The Derby would not be The Derby without a last minute scare for the hot favourite. Well that cliche is reality as this week Carlton House knocked a leg. We are not amused and neither are the punters. His odds have drifted as a result, but this setback could be very significant. Connections state the horse had already done his last serious bit of work (10 days before raceday) but this latest blow could get Carlton House beaten, irrespective of all the other negatives we have cited here. He may not even make it to the day. We know of one old queen with her fingers crossed.

To cap it all he has been given the outside berth in stall 13. That aint good. All things considered, at the odds, I could not recommend anyone other than the most suicidal of blind patriots to back the favourite.

The second favourite in the Derby betting odds is the French raider Pour Moi. Trained by legendary Andre Fabre and owned by the Coolmore gang, the well bred son of Montjeu won a Group 2 in France easily on May 7 and is being aimed specifically at Epsom. The form of Pour Moi’s run may be hard to assess but with great breeding and connections who know the price of garlic, he has to be respected. Fabre has won the French Champion Trainers Title no less than twenty two times. Pour Moi owes his place in the Derby more to the weakness of Aidan O’Brien’s team than anything else. He is the Coolmore flagbearer by proxy, drafted in from across the channel.

The most eye-catching Derby trial to come out of Frankel’s runaway 2000 Guineas victory was Native Khan. He ran on nicely in third behind the winner. The 25/1 Derby quote looked far too generous and now 11/1 is the best available in the Derby betting and if you want to see the latest odds visit this website: http://www.epsomderbybetting.net. Native Khan looks the current value for the Epsom showpiece each-way. The colt will love this rattling fast ground, something his quietly-confident trainer Ed Dunlop has always emphasised. Native Khan was just behind Dubawi Gold at Newmarket and that horse has added some strength to the form, when an unlucky second in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Native Khan has the top big-race jockey Johnny Murtagh, who has already landed the 2011 Oaks over course and distance. Murtagh, who parted company with Ballydoyle at the end of last season, would always be a preferable jockey booking to Kieren Fallon, linked to Native Khan for so long. But more of that saga later.

You can be sure that Aidan O’Brien will have a say about who wins this Derby. He is responsible for Dante second Seville. He also has the fancied Recital, who failed to impress when winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 8.

If you look up the form book it will tell you it was a cosy win. Whoever said the form book never lies must have been a pork pie merchant himself. In this case the form book not only lies, it laughs in your face. Recital hung left all the way up the straight and had an alarmingly high head carriage. He did not have much left at the death from his unfancied (25/1) stablemate Memphis Tennessee. The extreme camber and undulations of Epsom are not going to suit Recital. This 750,000 euro son of Montjeu can be overlooked. Of more interest, and maybe more progressive is the runner-up, Memphis Tennessee having only his third run and first of the season.

As a footnote, Kieren Fallon has been stopped from riding Recital by the High Court because he had contracted to ride Native Khan instead, but then bailed on connections. He must now watch the race from the weighing room. Fallon may not be missing much on Recital and Pat Smullen is his last-minute substitute. The big mistake may have been to abandon Native Khan in the first place.

An interesting one at a bigger price is the sure-fire stayer, Masked Marvel, trained by John Gosden. He won a minor listed race at Goodwood in great style and is sure to stay the trip. This well-bred colt catches the eye at around 28/1 in the Epsom Derby betting.

Ocean War is the Arab representative and runs under their Godolphin banner. With Frankie Dettori on board this one is sure to attract some housewives’ and once-a-year punters’ each-way money. So expect him to shorten in the Derby betting. The horse can not be dismissed as he has a similar profile to Masked Marvel, unexposed and potentially improving. Godolphin have been remarkable unsuccessful in recent years given the billions of Dubai dollars they have been chucking at this game. However, throw enough mud and something has to stick. Maybe it will be Ocean War, who cosily landed a trifling listed race at Newmarket in late April. He is one of the few colts certain to stay the Derby trip.

Our Derby selection:

Back NATIVE KHAN each-way, but we have been tipping him since he was 25/1 in the Epsom Derby betting and the best price now is 11/1. The morals of this story (spot the odd one out): read this betting column every day, the early bird catches the worm, too many cooks spoil the broth. Don’t be surprised by a big run from Masked Marvel.

Take a look at the most recent betting odds on the Epsom Derby that are available from the best of the online bookies.