2017 Epsom Derby: Pinstickers’ guide

Your ratings, verdicts and prices for all of the runners in this year’s derby stakes at Epsom

Frankie Dettori riding out Cracksman at Epsom Racecourse last week. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Frankie Dettori riding out Cracksman at Epsom Racecourse last week. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

BENBATL (Saeed bin Suroor)

Rating: 6/10

Odds: 16/1

Posted his best effort yet when running Permian to three-quarters of a length in the Dante and while he is entitled to improve for that, there is a suspicion 10 furlongs might be his optimum trip at present.

BEST SOLUTION (Saeed bin Suroor)

Rating: 7/10

Odds: 14/1

Rated the best of the Godolphin contenders, he should handle the track having won the Lingfield Derby Trial, but that was far from the best test event and he might prefer if the ground was a little slower.

CAPRI (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 5/10

Odds: 10/1

There’s been a fair bit of cash for this one over the last few days, but he already has something to find with the likes of Best Solution and Rekindling and the ground appears unlikely to be soft enough for this one to really shine to his best.

CLIFFS OF MOHER (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 7/10

Odds: 4/1

The leading hope from Ballydoyle and merits the utmost respect on that basis. The fact he won the Dee Stakes could be viewed as a plus in terms of handling the track but it was not the most spectacular of performances, at least visually. He will surely improve, but it is perhaps telling O’Brien fires so many arrows this year.

Cliffs of Moher may go into the race as favourite come start time on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images
Cliffs of Moher may go into the race as favourite come start time on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

CRACKSMAN (John Gosden)

Rating: 9/10

Odds: 4/1

Representing the winning Golden Horn team of two years ago, Cracksman impressed in winning his maiden at Newmarket last autumn and just edged out Permian by a short head in the Derby Trial at Epsom, taking a while to get there but finishing on top. Unexposed and while the distance is far from guaranteed to suit, the form has had all sorts of boosts and must be one for the short list.

CROWNED EAGLE (John Gosden)

Rating: 4/10

Odds: 20/1

His victory in a Windsor handicap was easy on the eye, but this is a different proposition altogether. From a fine middle-distance family, but should be found wanting at the business end.

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 5/10

Odds: 20/1

Winner of the Derrinstown Derby Trial, he boasted a big reputation as a juvenile but didn’t quite realise that potential. He seemed to enjoy front-running at Leopardstown before digging deep, but he faces a sterner test this time.

DUBAI THUNDER (Saeed bin Suroor)

Rating: 6/10

Odds: 16/1

A 10-length winner of a Newbury maiden on his racecourse bow in May, but will have to be something of a superstar if he is to take this kind of step up in his stride. Definitely a talent, but perhaps a horse for later in the year.

EMINENT (Martyn Meade)

Rating: 8/10

Odds: 7/1

Winner of the Craven Stakes — when he took an age to pull up — he could finish only sixth in the Guineas, but connections admit a mile is far from ideal for this colt. The extra distance is almost certain to suit and having had a nice spin round at the Breakfast With The Stars event, the track holds few fears.

Eminent came home to win the Craven Stakes at Newmarket. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Eminent came home to win the Craven Stakes at Newmarket. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

GLENCADAM GLORY (John Gosden)

Rating: 5/10

Odds: 40/1

Will need to overcome his now habitual tardy start and still has to find over three lengths with Best Solution. Certainly not the stable’s best.

KHALIDI (John Gosden)

Rating: 6/10

Odds: 25/1

An unexpected runner after clocking a track-record time in a trial event at Goodwood last week. Added at a cost of £85,000, one cannot help but think the original plan of the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot might have been a more suitable option.

PEALER (John Gosden)

Rating: 2/10

Odds: 150/1

Worked well with Cracksman at the Breakfast With The Stars event, but has nearly 30lb to find with the best of these judged on his sole win a Southwell maiden.

PERMIAN (Mark Johnston)

Rating: 10/10

Odds: 10/1

Winner of what is traditionally the best trial in the Dante, he benefitted from a smart ride when running Cracksman close at Epsom. Has plenty of experience with 10 runs under his belt, but has been improving hand over fist this term. His pedigree suggests a mile and a half will suit and his trainer has been unusually bullish about reversing the Cracksman form. Also proven to handle whatever ground is thrown at him.

The distance will suit Permian, as will the ground. Photo: Getty Images
The distance will suit Permian, as will the ground. Photo: Getty Images

REKINDLING (Joseph O’Brien)

Rating: 8/10

Odds: 25/1

Beaten just over three lengths at York, but had previously won the Ballysax in game style. He didn’t enjoy the best of runs at York and was staying on all the way to the line, suggesting 12 furlongs should be within his compass. He looks a likely type for place honours at a tasty each-way price.

SALOUEN (Sylvester Kirk)

Rating: 5/10

Odds: 66/1

Placed twice at Group One level last year and a narrow runner-up behind Khalidi on his debut. Probably a bit short of Group One level at this stage and shouldn’t be troubling the judge.

THE ANVIL (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 3/10

Odds: 40/1

Set the pace for a stablemate in the Chester Vase and is expected to fill a similar role.

VENICE BEACH (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 6/10

Odds: 12/1

Winner of the Chester Vase, he is guaranteed to stay the distance but could be susceptible to fast-finishing rivals. Perhaps one for the St Leger later in the year.

WINGS OF EAGLES (Aidan O’Brien)

Rating: 7/10

Odds: 20/1

An eyecatching run in the Chester Vase when he was putting in all his best work at the end offers hope he can reverse form with his stablemate. However, unlikely to be good enough.

DIORE LIA (John Jenkins)

Rating: 0/10

Odds: 1000/1

A twice-raced maiden, the filly is 1,000-1 for a reason. Back her at odds-on to finish last.

Verdict

Permian might be into double figures in terms of career starts, but he is still going forward with every run and offers a value bet in what appears to be a very open Derby year. He is a tough performer, guaranteed to put up his best effort and connections are convinced 12 furlongs will suit, offering every chance of him reversing previous form with Cracksman. The favourite doesn’t offer much value but should hit the frame, while Rekindling should be in there batting, with Eminent also taken to thrive for a mile and a half.

1. Permian

2. Cracksman

3. Rekindling

4. Eminent

Investec Derby (Group 1) at Epsom starts at 4.30pm, live on ITV from 1.30pm

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