2022 Cazoo Epsom Derby Runners & Riders

2022 Cazoo Epsom Derby Runners & Riders

The great Italian breeder Federico Tesio once said “The thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby.” and that is a gentle reminder that we’re now less than two weeks away from the worlds greatest three-year-old flat race. 

Coming in the year that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee the race has extra significance this time around with the race, worth around £850,000 to the winner due to be held on Saturday 4th June.

With the race being dominated by the big guns and top owner/breeders in recent years it’s worth pointing out that you have to go back to Sea The Stars triumph for Christopher Tsui and trainer John Oxx back in 2009 to find a horse who wasn’t owned by a so called powerhouse of racing and with that in mind it’s notable to see that the current favourite Desert Crown represents Sir Michael Stoute and a previous Derby winning owner in Saeed Suhail.

Fancied Runners

It’s hard to knock Desert Crown (9/4 currently) on what he’s done on the track given he impressed when delivering a five-and-a-half-length victory in a maiden contest over an extended mile on soft going at Nottingham at the start of November when making his racecourse debut and went on to deliver a three-and-a-quarter-length success in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York earlier this month.

A recognised trial for this contest the Dante has a good record of producing Derby winners and while Golden Horn back in 2015 was the most recent horse to do the double two of Desert Crown’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s last three Derby winners, Carlton House for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 and North Light in 2004 delivered victories in the Dante prior to going on to win the Derby on the Epsom Downs.

Like many in the field Desert Crown still has to prove his stamina over a mile-and-a-half but being by stamina influence Nathaniel you’d have to be fairly confident that the extra distance will prove no issue. 

Similar comments with regards stamina apply to Desert Crown’s main market rival Stone Age (5/2 at present) who while showing good form as a juvenile, including when runner-up in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over one-mile-two-furlongs in France last October didn’t get off the mark until delivering a wide margin success in a maiden over the same trip at Navan at the end of March.

Sent off odds-on he subsequently took the Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes in impressive fashion at Leopardstown earlier this month. Trainer Aidan O’Brien was registering a fourth consecutive victory in the race and while none of Broome, Cormorant or Bolshoi Ballet went on to Epsom glory it is the race used by O’Brien to prep subsequent Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral. 

The first real test for both the Dante and Derby Trial form is likely to come at Epsom and with that in mind it’s hard to have too strong an opinion on which will work out better in time other than to say both Desert Crown and Stone Age are deserving of their status as leading contenders heading into the three-year-old feature.

Jockey Bookings

The biggest Derby news outside of the various trial winners so far this year has been the news released earlier this week that the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Piz Badile (8/1) will be ridden by Frankie Dettori rather than regular pilot Gavin Ryan in the big one early next month. 

A short-head winner of the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown early last month the form of that race was let down somewhat with the runner-up and third home that day, Buckaroo and Duke De Sessa respectively finishing well beaten in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh at the weekend.

The fourth home that day Bluegrass delivered a solid third place finish in the previously mentioned Dante Stakes and while it’s likely that Piz Badile will need to take a step forward from that Ballysax win if he is to register Classic success it’s notable that he has a top jockey who knows what it takes to win round Epsom in the saddle and has form that ties in closely with the favourite Desert Crown.  

Godolphin

It would be wrong to look at the Derby picture without a mention for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation who have won this race twice in recent years. Their main contender at present would appear to be Walk Of Stars who finished runner-up to Coolmore’s United Nations when contesting the Lingfield Derby Trial earlier this month.

While effective at just short of the Derby distance he would appear to have something to find if he is to take this contest however his price of 16/1 reflects that. Stablemate Nahanni is proven at this track having taken the Listed Blue Riband Trial over one-mile-two-furlongs here last month. 

A half-length winner that day Nahanni is available to back at a best priced 25/1 and while he has proven he acts on the track you have to go back to Blue Peter in 1939 to find the last time a horse completed the double with Cracksman, third in the Derby back in 2017 and a subsequent multiple Group 1 winner the best winner of the Listed contest in recent times.

Pace Of The Race

Pace wise the most obvious option in that regard, particularly after his heavy defeat in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on Saturday is the Aidan O’Brien trained Ivy League (66/1) who finished runner-up in a Group 3 at Leopardstown earlier this month but who’s best performance prior to that was a fairly comfortable win off a mark of 84 in a Naas handicap over a mile.

With a number of fancied runners, headed by Stone Age in the field it would seem likely that the Coolmore team will run a pacemaker and while Star Of India (currently a best priced 16/1) and United Nations (14/1) have raced prominently in recent starts neither would be an obvious candidate to fulfil a pacemaking role.  

The Derby Odds

RunnerOddsBet With Bet365
Each-way terms 3 Places (1/5)
Desert Crown9/4bet365
Stone Age5/2bet365
Changingoftheguard8bet365
Piz Badile15/2bet365
Nations PrideTBCbet365
United Nations12bet365
Walk Of Stars16bet365
Star Of India14bet365
Westover18bet365
Eydon18bet365
Nahanni25bet365
Royal Patronage25bet365
Temple Of ArtemisTBCbet365
WatervilleTBCbet365
West Wind Blows33bet365
Sonny Liston50bet365
Masekela50bet365
Lysander33bet365
Ivy League66bet365
LionelTBCbet365
Grand Alliance66bet365
Buckaroo33bet365
Mr McCannTBCbet365
Green TeamTBCbet365
White WolfTBCbet365
MagisterialTBCbet365
Glory Daze100bet365
ZechariahTBCbet365
Savvy VictoryTBCbet365
Sir Bob Parker100bet365
Sea StoneTBCbet365
Hoo Ya Mal200bet365
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