Eclipster: Can Broome sweep the field away in The Derby at Epsom

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Saturday 1st June – Epsom Downs – 4:30pm – 1m 4f (1m 4f 6y) Investec Derby (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)

The Derby is the richest and more prestigious race in the UK flat racing calendar with Saturday’s winner receiving £921,538 in prize money. The race was run for the first time in 1780 and is named after the 12th Earl of Derby. The first four renewals of the race were run over 1 mile with the race being run over 1 mile 4 furlongs in 1784. The first winner of the race, Sir Peter Teazle was owned by the Earl of Derby. Excepting the war years the race run on the first Wednesday in June between 1900 and 1994 to fit in with railway timetables. In 1995 the race was moved to Saturday.

The leading jockey with nine wins between 1954 and 1983 is Lester Piggott and Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor are the leading owners with seven winners. The legendary Shergar holds the record for the biggest winning margin when he won by 10 lengths in 1981.

The 2010 winner Workforce holds the record for the fastest running of the race and three horses have won at odds of 100/1. The shortest winning odds are the 2/9 which the 1894 winner Ladas was returned at. The 1862 renewal was contested by 34 runners which is the largest field in the history of the race with the 1794 running holding the record for the race with the fewest participants with a field of just four runners going to post.

There are some good recent trends to consider when looking for the winner of The Derby. All 19 of the last 19 winners had run in a Group race last time out. All 19 had run once or twice in the same season prior to winning The Derby and all 19 winners had broken their maiden tag within two runs as a two year old. Eighteen of the last 19 winners had also won over a distance of 7 furlongs or further as a two year old.

The betting is a very good guide for finding the winner of the race with 11 of the last 13 winners coming from the first three in the betting, although last year’s winner Masar won at odds of 16/1. Course form is irrelevant as all of the last 13 winners had not run at Epsom previously.

Winning Group form is vital as 11 of the last 13 winners had previously won at Group level, and an Official Rating of 109 or higher has been required to win the race in 12 of the last 13 renewals.

Aidan O’Brien has won The Derby four times in the last seven year and six times in total. He has entered seven runners with in the current field of 13. Based on the statistics the most likely winner of his entries is Broome. The Bay Colt has won on both of his starts in Ireland this year, taking two Group 3 contests. He won comfortably on his last start at Leopardstown by 2½ lengths and his trainer certainly thinks he has a chance.

Speaking to the Racing Post after his last run O’Brien said: “He will have learned plenty from that. He’s very lazy but he picked up well when Donnacha asked him to go and was well on top at the finish. Racing on the inside through the race was good experience for him with Epsom in mind. The Ballysax and today’s race was always the plan. He’s done well so far and Epsom will be next once he comes out of this race okay.”

He has to prove that he can stay 1 mile 4 furlongs but on breeding he should see out the trip as his sire is The Derby and Irish Derby winning Australia, who is the son of the super mare Ouija Board. He also finished a neck second in Good ground at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe meeting last season.

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