The Derby is a Group One race for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies run over one mile and four furlongs. It is the most esteemed Classic horserace in Great Britain and the race is steeped in a rich history.
The leading Derby jockey of all time is Lester Piggott who won it an amazing nine times, whilst three trainers have all won the race seven times (Robert Robson, John Porter, Fred Darling). Aidan O'Brien has trained the winner an impressive five times in all with three of those wins coming in the last five years.
Nine out of ten winners had raced two to four times in their career.
Ten out of ten winners had won one or two times that season.
Ten out of ten winners had had finished in the first three in all starts that season. In this year’s race that would rule out Masar, Roaring Lion and Zabriskie.
Nine out of ten winners ran in the last 35 days. That statistic would rule out Sevenna Star on this occasion.
British Bred: 4-8-52
Irish Bred: 6-7-62
US Bred: 0-3-13
French Bred: 0-0-5
German Bred: 0-0-3
As you can see the breeding statistic almost falls firmly 50/50 between the British and the Irish bred horses. Raiders bred elsewhere rarely get a look in.
Progeny of Montjeu account for three of the last ten winners.
Progeny of Galileo account for three of the last ten winners.
Galileo is represented by Delano Roosevelt, Kew Gardens and The Pentagon while the Montjeu bloodline is now at an end since the stallion died.
Frankel is represented in the race by Zabriskie, Sea The Stars by Knight To Behold, Shamardal by Hazapour, whilst Saxon Warrior hails from the mighty Deep Impact (JPN).
Looking back at the last ten-year trends of the race we find that we need to be looking at a runner with an official rating of 108 or more, so that is a negative for two of the twelve declared runners, those being – Sevenna Star and Zabriskie.
Saxon Warrior is the highest official rated runner in the field (121) with his nearest rival coming in at 118, Roaring Lion.
The Dante Factor
Roaring Lion won well at York and will be bidding to become the sixth Derby winner in the last fifteen years to emerge from the Dante Stakes.
Ten out of ten of the last ten winners came from the first four in the betting and were priced 7/1 or below.
That trend focuses your attention upon the 2,000 Guineas champion Saxon Warrior, Dante scorer Roaring Lion, Derrinstown Stud victor Hazapour and Chester Vase winner Young Rascal.
Favourites have won the race four out of the last ten years.
Irish trained: 6-10-56
British trained: 3-10-71
French trained: 1-0-5
German trained: 0-0-2
Aidan O'Brien has won four renewals of the Investec Derby in the last six years and makes the Ballydoyle runners the obvious place to start when making a selection.
John Gosden - Prior to winning this race with Golden Horn in 2015, Gosden had last tasted success in the Derby with Benny The Dip in 1997. He made amends for all those years by saddling the first two home in that race. Is another Gosden winner in the offing in 2018?
Based on the last ten runnings of the race you are looking for a runner that at least ticks some of these boxes.
- A horse out of Galileo.
- A horse trading in the first four in the betting priced 7/1 or less.
- A winner of the Dante or the 2000 Guineas at a 3-y-o.
- A horse that finished first or second on its proceeding start.
- A horse trained by Aidan O’Brien.
Brief runner-by-runner guide to the 2018 Derby
Dee Ex Bee
Finished a half-length runner-up to Young Rascal in the Chester Vase and should be able to handle the intricacies of Epsom Downs based upon his spin around that track. Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa who is in red hot form at present, he could be a lively outsider.
Aidan O’Brien’s runner was placed in both the Ballysax and Derrinstown Stud Trials and still appeared to have a lot to learn about the game in the run behind Hazapour. Possibly one to include in your forecast perms.
Frankie Dettori, who won the Derby in 2007 and 2015, will ride the Dermot Weld-trained Hazapour who hails from the same family as the 2016 Derby winner Harzand, also trained by Weld. Winner of the Derrinstown Stud Trial and holds a leading chance.
Co-owner Michael Tabor believes his horse could belie his large odds and be in the mix. Finished second in the Lingfield Derby Trial when apparently losing a shoe on the way around. Tough ask for this one.
Knight To Behold
No Lingfield Derby Trial winner has won the Derby since High Rise 30 years ago. A well bred horse but he may just come up short in this contest.
Beaten a length-and-a-half and a head by Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas following an impressive victory in the Craven Stakes. His sire, New Approach, was second in the Guineas before going on to win the Derby in 2008, so the breeding is definitely there. Will be dangerous to dismiss.
Was no match for Masar in the Craven before running fifth in the 2,000 Guineas. Won the Dante at York in impressive style, sprinting away at the finish after a muddling early pace. There must be major doubts whether that Dante form translates over to Epsom on this occasion.
Unbeaten in four starts and won the 2,000 Guineas decisively on his reappearance this term. Has been bred specifically as a Derby horse. Statistically horses drawn in stall one hardly inspire much confidence with punters (only three winners have prevailed from that gate) but he is sure to have at least four other in-running “friends” in the race so it may not pose such a talented a horse any problems whatsoever.
Won the Classic Trial at Sandown but is probably only running here as an afterthought due to the going conditions being in his favour. Still looks up against it.
Finished on the heels of Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion in the Racing Post Trophy at the end of last term after some time off the track and ran a creditable race behind Hazapour in the Derrinstown Stakes. Another AOB runner that will be going in many a forecast perm.
Overcame some trouble in running to win the Chester Vase on the Roodee and looks to be learning from his racing all the time. The Chester Vase has proved a useful Derby barometer in recent years with Wings Of Desire hailing and scoring from it last year.
Ran into third place at 50/1 in the Dante and has proven form on soft ground. A son of Frankel but that is probably where all the similarities end.
888sport suggests: Hazapour e/w.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*