There’s an old saying in racing that the bigger the field, the bigger the certainty. So should supporters of odds-on Investec Derby favourite Camelot worry that one of the smallest fields in living memory will contest the second colts’ classic at Epsom?
The shortest-priced winner of the Derby was Ladas in 1894, who was sent off at 2/9, but Shergar was the last odds-on winner in 1989 and 14 of the 31 that have started at odds-on have been beaten. Not exactly sparkling statistics for those who have already plunged on Aidan O’Brien‘s Qipco 2000 Guineas winner! He does, however, have in his favour the form book which shows him winning the Racing Post Trophy as a two-year-old, which is always a good pointer for the following year’s Derby, and the fact that he had the pace to win the Guineas on his reappearance suggests the son of Montjeu really could be something special. The only worry being an uncertain pedigree which could point to him being more effective over 1m2f than the 1m4f at Epsom. If he stays, most pundits are convinced that Camelot will complete the second leg of the Triple Crown and he can still be backed at 4/6 at Paddy Power. However, I’m not sure there’s any real value left in that.
Ballydoyle are also represented by Dee Stakes winner Astrology (a general 8/1) and he shouldn’t be underestimated though, like Dante winner Bonfire (5/1 with sportingbet) who may also have attitude problems, he can’t be guaranteed to appreciate the step up to 1m4f. One who will defintely stay is Main Sequence (a general 9/1), who went from strength-to-strength last year and won the Lingfield Derby Trial over the trip on his reappearance. The merit of that race, run on the Polytrack this year, is questionable but David Lanigan‘s colt got home without Ted Durcan having to resort to the whip and there is probably more to come. Lingfield third Cavaleiro looks to have little chance of reversing the form at a general 66/1.
Mickdaam (a general 33/1) easily holds Minimum Risk (100/1 with sportingbet and Stan James) on their run together in the Chester Vase but Richard Fahey’s charge may be stepping out of his comfort zone at Epsom and Rugged Cross (50/1 in several places) never looked like getting to grips with Thought Worthy in a 1m2f Listed race at Newmarket.
It’s John Gosden‘s colt that really catches the eye at the current odds as he is still maturing and, being a full brother to St Leger winner Lucarno, can only improve as he tackles longer distances. Thought Worthy has already won on soft and good to firm ground and even been placed in heavy conditions so won’t be bothered by whatever the weather throws up at Epsom and looks a cracking bet at Betfair‘s 19/1 compared to the odds of less-qualified rivals.