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Your essential guide to the 2017 Derby runners and riders

| 02.06.2017

The 238th renewal of the world’s greatest Flat race takes place this Saturday with the 2017 Epsom Derby set to be an intriguing edition. 

Everywhere you look there are fascinating plotlines running through the contest. Will Cracksman build upon his gutsy Trial win in Surrey?

Can Aidan O’Brien land yet another of this season’s Classics with either Cliffs Of Moher, Capri, Venice Beach, Douglas Macarthur, Wings Of Eagles or The Anvil?

And just how will the rank outsider, Diore Fia, fare when apprentice jockey Paddy Pilley, and not the deposed Gina Mangan, line-up for the ultimate middle distance test?

Following the final declarations, here’s our look at the 19 horses prepared for a tilt at the £921,538 top prize…

Cliffs Of Moher – 4/1

It’s been confirmed that Ryan Moore will renew his acquaintance with Cliffs Of Moher but even so he looks a beatable proposition.

He toughed it out to win the Dee Stakes at Chester in the hands of Moore and looks to have the makings of a decent stayer.

However, the fact that punters seem so keen to take him is arguably a sign that he’ll need to show more at Epsom.

Cracksman – 4/1

Golden Horn did the business for trainer John Gosden, jockey Frankie Dettori and owner Anthony Oppenheimer back in 2015 and the same connections will take their chance with Cracksman.

No one is suggesting this son of Frankel in the same league as the Horn but he has to be respected after nabbing Permian in the Epsom Trial back in April.

Missing the Dante Stakes because of soft ground could be either a blessing in disguise or a major disaster for this inexperienced type. Worth taking on based on what we know so far.

Eminent – 13/2

It would be a great story should Martyn Meade’s Eminent bolt up this Saturday and we’ve certainly been sweet on this year’s Craven Stakes winner.

He flopped in the 2000 Guineas but that race didn’t go to plan and he can be forgiven the run.

Many expect him to be better over this longer distance, the money’s starting to pour in for the Frankel colt (another one) and it’d be no surprise to see Meade enjoy his day in the sun.

Permian – 11/1

There’s plenty out there who think last month’s Dante hero is perhaps a tad over-priced based on that victory at York and the fact he was only just touched off by Cracksman on his previous trip to the Downs.

He may well prove to be the shrewd call in the hands of William Buick, having come on well since his seasonal reappearance at Bath.

Has shown he can act on faster ground as well as soft with his Listed breeze-up at Newmarket coming on good to firm.

Capri – 11/1

Showed some smart form as a two-year-old, including a victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

Hasn’t found this term so fruitful but he was only beaten a neck by Derrinstown Trial winner and stablemate Douglas Macarthur.

Overall, O’Brien has better hopes than Capri in our opinion.

Best Solution – 12/1

Best Solution didn’t take to Dubai over the winter but ran away with the Lingfield Trial by three and a quarter lengths last time out, beating Glencadam Glory.

Second in a French Group 1 last October and based on his most recent performance the Godolphin runner can’t be ruled out.

Venice Beach – 12/1

Donnacha O’Brien gets the leg up on Venice Beach, a lively outsider for the Ballydoyle camp.

Made it two wins from two this season when landing the Chester Vase and those performances over 1m4f mean he has to enter calculations.

Wings Of Eagles, The Anvil and Tamleek were all in behind on the Roodee.

Dubai Thunder – 14/1

His one start so far yielded an impressive 10 length win in a Newbury maiden and Dubai Thunder is high up enough in the betting to suggest that the odds-compilers aren’t prepared to take any chances.

Very much the unexposed joker in the pack but it’d take something pretty special to land a race of this magnitude on only his second career outing.

Douglas Macarthur – 20/1

Colm O’Donoghue will take his chance onboard Derrinstown victor Douglas Macarthur, a horse that certainly has place claims.

That first pattern race win at Leopardstown stands this son of Galileo in good stead heading to Epsom and the further step up in trip should be no problem.

Benbatl – 20/1

Whether the Dante runner-up Benbatl wants an extra couple of furlongs remains to be seen and he’s one we’d be keen to avoid.

Wasn’t disgraced in the Craven either but others look to have more of a chance.

Wings Of Eagles – 25/1

A number of his re-opposing rivals finished way in front of Wings Of Eagles in France last term and while his second at Chester was an improvement this horse doesn’t look like a Classic winner to us.

Well held on form.

Rekindling – 25/1

Joseph O’Brien’s Rekindling was a surprise winner of this year’s Ballysax Stakes before going on to finish fourth in the Dante.

A place isn’t out of the question but this is a tough ask for the High Chaparral colt.

Khalidi – 25/1

Well beaten by Permian at York but followed that run up by storming home to take a Listed prize at Goodwood.

Has claims but could be outclassed in this type of company.

Glencadam Glory – 33/1

Has won one of his four races and was well held by Best Solution at Lingfield. Needs to show major improvement.

Crowned Eagle – 33/1

Another of the Gosden-trained contingent and could well spring a surprise although it looks unlikely.

Won well on handicap debut at Windsor last time out but the step up required will probably be beyond Crowned Eagle.

The Anvil – 40/1

Ana O’Brien will be in the saddle onboard Chester Vase third The Anvil and it’ll take a supreme ride if she’s to get close to any of the leading fancies.

Held by his stablemate on that occasion and likely to finish way behind in this.

Salouen – Suspended

Currently a suspended selection but even if he does line-up it’s a long shot that he’ll feature prominently.

Third in last season’s Racing Post Trophy and runner-up in a French Group 1 before that are not bad pieces of form but just not enough.

Pealer – 100/1

Failed to get his nose in front on each of his initial three outings before obliging by a whopping 19 lengths when dropped into a Class 5 maiden at Southwell.

Very much making up the numbers.

Diore Lia – 500/1

The controversial entrant. Trainer John Jenkins is adamant his charge won’t finish last but having beaten just four rivals home in two very moderate contests it’s difficult to envisage him being proved right.

Running to raise funds for Great Ormond Street and that alone deserves a cheer but this filly is way out of her depth.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.