Given the unique challenge that it presents to both horse and rider, it is not surprising that many people see the Derby as a difficult race to evaluate.
However, over the years some remarkably consistent statistical trends have emerged to provide us with at least a good starting point when it comes to whittling down the contenders to a small group of likely winners.
Here are the noteable trends for the last 10 winners:
10 out of 10 - won over at least 7 furlongs as a two-year-old.
10 out of 10 - made their debut at a Group 1 track.
9 out of 10 - pre Derby Racing Post rating of at least 119.
9 out of 10 - between 3 and 7 career runs.
9 out of 10 - recorded their best Racing Post rating last time out.
8 out of 10 - at least 2 juvenile runs.
7 out of 10 - posted a Racing Post rating as a juvenile of at least 112.
7 out of 10 - won last time out.
6 out of 10 - won over at least 1m 2f at three.
Other important stats to bear in mind are:
0 out of 30 - had contested a handicap.
Last winner not to run as a juvenile was Commander In Chief in 1993.
Half of the last 10 renewals have gone to the winner of the Dewhurst (Frankel) or Racing Post Trophy (Casamento).
7 of the last 10 winners were either unbeaten or had not lost since their debut.
Sadler's Wells, the dominant sire of the last 25 years may have died in April, but one of his best son's Galileo is paying a handsome posthumous tribute to his father.
Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) are the two Derby winners sired by Sadler's Wells and Galileo has already produced his own Derby-winning son in 2008 scorer New Approach.
Galileo glided around Epsom for his Derby success, displaying beautiful balance and class that have been traits of his very best sons and daughters. Left and right, uphill and downhill, coping with the cambers - Galileo roared through his Derby like a Rolls Royce before putting the race to bed with a turn of foot associated with only the brilliant.
His success, along with High Chaparral's, provided the bedrock for Coolmore's bloodstock operation in Ireland and their two Derby-winning stallions are always at the heart of their publicity drives. But if there was any doubt as to who is the world's best sire then surely Galileo has put such a debate to bed thanks to the success of his progeny in 2011.
Out of the six major European Classics run so far this season, Galileo has sired four of them – brilliant 2,000 Guineas winner Frankel, plus Roderic O'Connor (Irish 2,000), Misty For Me (Irish 1,000) and unbeaten French 1,000 scorer Golden Lilac.
The wins demonstrate the continuing dominance of the bloodlines controlled by Ireland's Coolmore Stud, despite them and trainer Aidan O'Brien not winning the Derby since High Chaparral.
Galileo, a half brother to 2009 Derby winner Sea The Stars, has two chances in Saturday's Derby with Seville and Treasure Beach still engaged.
Seville looks the more likely winner and was runner-up to the Derby favourite, Carlton House, in the Dante Stakes at York and though 95 colts have been defeated in that race on the Knavesmire as well as coming up short at Epsom, Workforce proved last year that losers from the great trial in North Yorkshire can bounce back in the big one.
Christophe Soumillon rode Seville in the Dante with the specific aim of learning about the horse ahead of Epsom and a one and a half length deficit is not an unbridgeable chasm if the jockey learns from his mistakes. Seville has a lazy racing style but his strength is his stamina and while it wasn't used to full effect at York it could well be the difference on Derby day at Epsom.
If it's Seville that ends O'Brien's losing streak, a stretch of time that is only nine years but has seen 35 horses from Ballydoyle try and fail on the Downs, then it will be that shining star of the bloodstock world, Galileo, who will be a huge part of the story. For it will be the fifth Classic victory of the season from one of his progeny, or, perhaps even sixth if Misty For Me lands the Oaks the previous day...
In Friday's Oaks, Galileo should have O'Brien trio Misty For Me, Eirnin and Why running for him while the same trainer's strongly-fancied Wonder of Wonders is a daughter of the sire Kingmambo but her dam, All Too Beautiful is the sister of Galileo.