Friday, 3rd July 2020
English King is the market fancy for Saturday’s Derby at Epsom. But he’s on the drift….
He was 5/2 yesterday. This morning he’s 7/2. Perhaps the forecast rain is encouraging punters to look beyond him….
Ed Walker’s colt sprang to prominence in the Derby betting after a smooth and untroubled winning performance in the Lingfield trial….
The horse that finished directly behind him that day, Andrew Badling’s Berkshire Rocco, subsequently finished 2nd in the G2 Queen’s Vase at Ascot. Fair enough….
But none of the other five subsequent runners did anything to frank the Lingfield form….
The Lingfield trial hasn’t been the strongest guide to the Derby in recent years either….
Anthony Van Dyck won the Derby last term after winning the Lingfield trial. Perhaps that’s a piece of the jigsaw the encourages punters….
But you need to go all the way back to 1998 and High Rise for the last example of a horse that won both races….
And it’s not like English King set fire to the track in producing his win. He did what he needed to do, and he did it in satisfactory style…
But the performance was only worth 113 on Racing Post ratings. None too shabby – but nevertheless short of the historic standard Derby winners tend to produce ahead of the big race….
The bottom line is this: the Camelot colt is going to need to buck a clear ratings trend – one of those we looked at on Wednesday….
Perhaps he will. Having Frankie Dettori in the saddle is certainly in his favour….
English King will run out of stall 1 on Saturday afternoon. And that can hardly be considered a plus….
As the table below shows, none of the last 18 horses to run in a Derby out of stall 1 has won….
Indeed, none managed to place. And those that achieved the best placings were running in some of the smallest fields….
Of course, not every horse running out of stall 1 was fancied. But Saxon Warrior was in 2018 – and stall 1 did for him….
And with stalls 2 and 3 not producing great stats either, it’s clear that the low stalls are a severe disadvantage over the 12f trip at Epsom – one that the short-priced English King will need to overcome.
Sixteen go to post. It’s a big Derby field. And that won’t help his cause….
Outright favourites like English King have won five of the last 20 renewals of the Derby….
Horses backed into joint favouritism won another two….
Twelve of the last outright favourites won or hit the frame….
Perhaps the key market stat for punters is this one: 15 of the last 20 Derby winners were sent off in one of the top three positions in the betting….
In other words, it hasn’t been advisable to look too far down the betting in search of the winner….
But you don’t always need to find the winner to make the big-race game pay. A placer at a big price is as good as a decent-priced winner.
And there have been plenty of such placers over the years. As the table below illustrates, a couple of such horses managed to be first past the post too….
Knowing such instances occur is a benefit of hindsight. Finding such instance ahead of time is another matter entirely.
But it helps to observe that Aiden O’Brien is a serial offender in this regard….
Incidentally, O’Brien has a similar such record in the Oaks….
In races where the shorties tend to do well, it is no bad thing to be aware that plenty of O’Brien’s so-called second, third and fourth string runners frequently prove better than the market’s pre-race assessment of them….
If you’re looking for one at a big price, the supposed O’Brien back numbers is not a bad place to start digging….
I’m not sure English King is the strongest of Derby favourites. I’m not sure Andrew Balding’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko will stay the trip….
I’m happy for both horses to prove me wrong. But I won’t be supporting either at short prices….
Instead, I’m backing a horse I believe will prove competitive at a big price. You can get my selection for tomorrow’s Derby here – when you sign-up for my ATC service….
I’m also on one at a decent price in the big handicap – the 16-runner Investec Handicap over the 10f trip at 3.00….
I expect conditions to suit my horse tomorrow. And he’s got quite a few plus points on his side going into the race….
I’ll also be playing on Sunday in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock and in the Coral Challenge at Sandown. My advice for those races goes out tomorrow afternoon….
Make sure you’re on the list. Sign up for a 3-month trail to my ATC service here….
That’s all from me for now....
Until next time….
P.S. You can test my ATC service risk-free. My publisher is a fair man and offers a 3-month money back guarantee. If you don’t like what I do, you get a no-questions-asked, no-strings-attached, instant refund. Put me to the test….