Countdown to Betfred Epsom Derby

01 June 2024

The Epsom Derby of 2024 is less than two weeks away, scheduled to take place on the ‘Downs’ on the 01 June.

The race is being sponsored by bookmaker Betfred for the first time, with a huge £850,650 going to winning connections.

At this stage, without any supplementary entries, the declarations have reduced to 21 colts.

Godolphin’s Gr1 Futurity Stakes winner Ancient Wisdom – the 2400m should suit the son of Dubawi (Pic – Godolphin)

City Of Troy is currently trading as the 7/4 favourite. The Ballydoyle colt was an underwhelming 9th in the 2000 Guineas on his seasonal return earlier this month.

There was plenty of 6/1 available for him post-race, but his opposition has either had setbacks or is not currently declared.

Aidan O’Brien is adamant that he had City Of Troy underdone at Newmarket and come June that will certainly not be the case. He may well replicate Auguste Rodin’s transformation of last year, but it’s hard to get excited at his current odds given his lacklustre seasonal showing.

Similar odds, albeit ‘with a run,’ are being quoted about last week’s exciting Dante winner Economics. The most impressive Derby ‘trial’ winner this season, the Night Of Thunder colt quickened away up the York straight to beat Ancient Wisdom by six lengths.

However, despite his success, the William Haggas-trained colt would need to be added back into the race on Monday, at a cost of £75,000, having been removed from it at the previous confirmation stage.

On pedigree, his stamina isn’t certain for a mile-and-a-half. He’s a big colt and his two wins this spring have been on the galloping tracks of Newbury and York. Epsom, with its cambered bend and undulating straight will be a whole new ball game.

The Godolphin operation has had an unfortunate fortnight with the tragic loss of Chester Vase Stakes winner Hidden Law just after the winning post, and then having to withdraw Derby favourite Arabian Crown following a setback.

They are left with Gr1 Futurity Stakes winner Ancient Wisdom who reappeared in the Dante Stakes only to receive a thrashing from the Tom Marquand-ridden Economics.

However, a mile-and-a-half will suit the Dubawi colt, and with his stablemate’s absence, he would be Will Buick’s ride in the blue-riband event.

At bigger prices, the Andrew Balding-trained Bellum Justum earned his place in the line-up when winning the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month, whilst Ambiente Friendly was impressive for the James Fanshawe yard when well clear in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

Finally, the past ten years have shown it is foolish to ignore the Ballydoyle second and even third strings.

This year, Aidan O’Brien’s backup includes Chester Dee Stakes winner Capulet and Leopardstown Trial hero Los Angeles. The latter, an unbeaten strapping son of Camelot, is sure to see out the trip and looks a good each-way selection in a puzzling renewal.

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