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2016 Epsom Derby expert tips

The 2016 running of the Derby is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing contests in the past few years and Richard has expert tips on the Group One highlight.

Heading the market is the somewhat uneasy favourite US Army Ranger, who had been trading as low as 3/1 following his narrow Chester victory in May, but is now available at around the 4/1 mark. Ryan Moore has been quoted as saying that he has not yet made up his mind on his Derby ride, and wants to leave the decision as late as possible, so I think the favourite is opposable given the workmanlike nature of his successes to date.

US Army Ranger may well turn out to be the best horse in the Derby in the longer term, but he has only had two runs in his life (and none as a two year old), so may well be a little short on experience. 

The John Gosden trained Wings of Desire is the horse challenging US Army Ranger at the head of the market, coming into the race off the back of a hard-fought Dante victory at York. To my eye that form doesn’t look anything special, and I can’t justify his market position at this stage, for all that he is respected.

The trends it has been years since a horse has won the Derby at odds greater than 7/1, so it makes sense to focus on those towards the head of the market. The one I like is the Andre Fabre-trained CLOTH OF STARS (7/1, bet365). This horse looked a classy two year old, but finished his campaign with defeats on soft ground behind the talented Robin of Navan. He showed his improvement as a three year old however to reverse form with that rival at Saint Cloud on his most recent start, staying on impressively to win by two and a half lengths.

Cloth Of Stars winning at Saint Cloud
His pedigree gives me no reason to doubt his stamina for the extra two furlongs of the Derby distance, being by Derby winner Sea The Stars, and being a brother to Warrior of Light, who won over a mile and a half. He can race freely in the early stages of races, but that tendency has improved with each start, and I would think the early pace of the Derby should be strong enough to get him settled.

His recent work over the Derby course at ‘Breakfast With The Stars’ showed that connections mean business, and vibes were positive in the aftermath. His trainer and jockey (Andre Fabre and Mikael Barzalona) have an outstanding strike rate when sending over horses to England, and I think Cloth of Stars has shown more than enough to date to go close in a competitive Derby at an each way price of 7/1.

Selection - CLOTH OF STARS (7/1, bet365)

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