For most racing fans, the Epsom Derby is the pinnacle of the flat racing season and the race rarely fails to deliver. You just have to look back through the list of winners to see how good a horse you need to win it.
Here are our horse racing betting odds ahead of Saturday’s race.
Warrior set to go war as O’Brien targets seventh Derby
As has become customary in most of the big races on the flat calendar, the market for the 239th Derby is headed by an Aidan O’Brien hot-pot.
He’s run four times winning all four including two Group Ones; last season’s Racing Post Trophy and the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket at the beginning of May.
The vibes in the days leading up to the Guineas from both Saxon Warrior’s trainer and the market suggested the race was very much a stepping stone for the Derby. However, as the late market confidence suggested, he was more than ready to go and ran out an impressive one and half-length winner.
The fact that connections have already mentioned a tilt at the Triple Crown suggests that the son of Deep Impact is going to be more than at home over the 1m4f trip and he is more than a worthy favourite.
Weld’s charge could be the best value alternative
O’Brien’s runner’s claims are further boosted by the fact that the majority of his market rivals are those horses he beat in the Guineas.
Horses like Masar and more recently Roaring Lion have been impressive in their trials, but when they came up against Saxon Warrior they couldn’t lay a glove on him and both aren’t guaranteed stayers.
Roaring Lion ran on his own for a long way in the Guineas and the way he won in the Dante over 1m2f would have given connections hope that he will stay the extra two furlongs, but at 11/2 I’m happy to look elsewhere for a bit of value against the favourite.
Namely, in the form of the Dermot Weld-trained HAZAPOUR at 10/1.
Weld took the race in 2016 with a very similar type in Harzand and I was taken with the way Hazapour won in the Group Three Derby Trial at Leopardstown last time.
He’s been similarly routed as Harzand was and I think the fact that Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride him could be a tip in itself.
Weld is one of the shrewdest trainers around and he now knows what it takes to win the Derby and I think his runner could have slipped under the radar slightly.
Look, he’s got a fair bit to find with Saxon Warrior who I think will probably win, but I think he should probably be second favourite and the fact he’s not means the 10/1 offers a bit of value.
SELECTIONS E/W Terms 1/5 1-2-3
The Derby – Epsom (4.30pm)
Saxon Warrior 8/11