Epsom Derby Betting Guide

By Rob Virtue on June 6, 2014 9:27 AM |


In the Victorian era the official attendance for the the Derby used to be somewhere in the region of half a million people, writes Paul Kealy. And while nowhere that many will be on the Downs for this Saturday's 235th renewal of the world's most famous Flat race, it will still be the best attended British sporting event of the year.

An expected crowd of 130,000 - some paying, many more going free on the Hill - could witness an extra piece of history being made in the Investec-sponsored event.

Never in the history of the Derby has the same trainer won three consecutive runnings of the Derby, but not only does Aidan O'Brien intend to saddle four of the runners, one of them will be hot favourite Australia.

O'Brien, who won in 2013 with Ruler Of The World and 2012 with Camelot and is seeking a fifth victory overall, has suggested Australia is the best he has trained.

That is no faint praise coming from a man who has sent out champion after champion from his Ballydoyle base in County Tipperary over the last 20 years, so it's no surprise Australia is likely to start at odds-on even though he has lost as many races (two) as he has won so far in his short career.

Last time out Australia could finish only third in the British season's opening Classic contest, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but he was beaten by two horses who raced on the other side of the track and one of whom, runner-up Kingman, has since turned the Irish 2,000 Guineas into a procession.

The Guineas was run over a mile, the furthest Australia has so far been asked to race, but this regally bred colt was born to excel.

Australia is a son of Galileo, himself a Derby winner in 2001 and sire of Ruler Of The World, while his dam is Ouija Board, who won the Oaks, the fillies' equivalent of the Derby, in 2004.

If Australia takes after his parents and improves for the extra distance, he will almost certainly win as he already boasts the best form in the race in what is looking like a red-hot 2,000 Guineas.

So is he worth betting against?

There is a saying you should never be afraid of one horse and Australia's presence at least means almost everything else will be available at an each-way price.

O'Brien also trains the second favourite in Geoffrey Chaucer, who was an unlucky third in Ireland's premier trial, the Derrinstown Stud Stakes, but even if he had won at Leopardstown he would not have scored by a wide margin, so I'll be looking for something at bigger odds to bustle up the favourite.

A soft surface at Epsom would be unusual, but there is plenty of rain forecast for the end of the week and that could prove Australia's Achilles heel as connections have already said they do not want a mudbath.

Some of his rivals do, though, and one of those is Kingston Hill, who landed last season's Racing Post Trophy on a similar surface and found things happening too quickly for him in the 2,000 in which he finished eighth on lightning fast ground.

However, he was staying on quite strongly at the end at Newmarket and with conditions looking more than likely to be in his favour, he has to have a good chance of being involved in the finish.

The Racing Post Trophy is the pre-eminent two-year-old trial for the Derby and four winners of it have gone on to Epsom success since 2001.

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Paul Kealy is the betting editor for Racing Post, based at Canary Wharf's One Canada Square