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2017 Epsom Derby tips - 12/1 could repeat his Craven success in the Derby

Jonathan Vine in Epsom Tips 12 May 2017
A great action photo as Harzand (left) wins the 2016 Epsom Derby.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the Epsom Derby and picks out an improving contender sitting at a very appealing price.

The Epsom Derby is one of the most famous and lucrative races in the entire sport and on Saturday 3rd of June, Epsom Downs racecourse will host the 247th renewal of this historic contest. A large field of the best sprinters in the business will battle it out over this testing, 12 furlong trip, to see who will be crowned 2017 Epsom Derby champion.

Aidan O’Brien will be searching for a sixth Derby winner this year and his talented young charge, Churchill (6/1 bet365) currently leads the way in the ante-post betting. Following a surprise defeat on his maiden outing on a racetrack last season, the three-year-old son of Galileo cruised to the Chesham Stakes title at Ascot. He then went back home to Ireland to win two major prizes at the Curragh and one at Leopardstown, before venturing to Newmarket to see if he could end his season in fitting style in the Dewhurst Stakes.

Churchill's first assignment of the new season was the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and Aidan O'Brien's charge came to Newmarket as the short-priced favourite. Stablemate, Lancaster Bomber set a nice pace at the front of the field and with just over a furlong to go, the favourite made his move - Ryan Moore pulled his charge onto the rail and they outsprinted all their rivals to land another huge title. Churchill may have won that prestigious title, but Barney Roy and Wukair caught the eye running on late to fill the places, whereas Churchill seemed to be at his limit over the mile and the Derby trip may be a little too lengthy for him.

Frankel’s progeny will always be followed closely and Cracksman (8/1 bet365) put in an attention-grabbing debut back in October for John Gosden, when he upset Wild Tempest and favourite, Alfawaris to win a Class 4 contest at Newmarket. He extended his 100% career record on his first start as a three-year-old here at Epsom, when he stayed strong to beat Permian by a short-head over 10 furlongs. The runner-up has since come out and won a decent race, giving Cracksman's form a nice boost going into the Derby.

Sir John Lavery (8/1 Ladbrokes) has made a strong start to his racing career, following a decent third on debut with an excellent seven length victory at Gowran Park in October. He goes into the Lingfield Derby Trial as even-money favourite as he steps up past nine furlongs for the first time, but considering his only victory has come on very heavy ground, it will be interesting to see how he comes on the good Epsom turf.

Aidan O'Brien sealed a 1-2-3 in the Chester Vase, when favourite Venice Beach (16/1 Ladbrokes) outpaced two of his Ballydoyle pals to win a maiden Grouped title. Ryan Moore gave the favourite an excellent ride that day and he was a worthy winner, but Wings Of Eagles' (33/1 SkyBet)late charge almost upset the applecart and he looks open to further progression when he steps up in trip at Epsom.

O’Brien sent Cliffs Of Moher (12/1 Ladbrokes) back out on the track very quickly after a disappointing debut performance at Cork in October. He cruised to an easy five length victory two weeks later at Leopardstown and looks open to more progression going into his three-year-old season. Franz Schubert (20/1 SkyBet) suffered a surprise defeat in his first outing of the new season and Andre Fabre will be hoping the Godolphin-owned colt can bounce back to the form which saw him win well on his only outing of last season.

Andre Fabre waited until September to give Waldgeist (33/1 Paddy Power) his first taste of competitive action and this son of Galileo scored a comfortable victory on his debut at Chantilly. A narrow defeat on his next appearance was followed by a maiden Group 1 triumph at Saint-Cloud, where the 10/1 shot upset fellow Derby entrants, Capri (25/1 SkyBet) and Best Solution (40/1 bet365) to the 10 furlong Criterium De Saint-Cloud title.

Jim Crowley guiding Eminent (right) to victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Best Solution ran a good race to finish second at Saint-Cloud, but Aidan O’Brien will have been disappointed with Capri’s finish back in third, especially with his charge going to post as the odds-on favourite. He returned to action this season with a similarly underwhelming performance when finishing four lengths behind Rekindling (16/1 BetVictor) in fourth in a Grade 3 at Leopardstown, so he will have to show marked improvement if he wants to challenge for the Derby title.

Joseph O'Brien's Rekindling put in an excellent performance that day at Leopardstown, bolting home after finding a bit of daylight on the inside and outstaying two potential Epsom rivals, Douglas McArthur (20/1 bet365)and Yucatan (16/1 bet365) to take that important title. All three look very evenly matched and they will all come to Epsom with definite chances of being involved in the conslusion of this years' Derby.

Orderofthegarter (16/1 bet365) lost out to stablemate, Cliffs Of Moher when they met last season. Aidan O’Brien has sent him out twice already during the early stages of his three-year-old campaign and he has managed to score two comfortable victories in competitive eight furlong races.

Mick Halford’s Irishcorrespondent (33/1 BetVictor) will be watched carefully during this new campaign, after scoring an excellent victory over several capable rivals on his competitive debut at Leopardstown last season. After a narrow runner-up finish on his debut for John Gosden, Glencadam Glory (33/1 bet365) beat Hydroxide and The Anvil (50/1 bet365), now rated 109, so a 10k prize at Doncaster on his last appearance in February.

Thunder Snow (25/1 bet365) enjoyed a profitable off-season adventure to Meydan, winning a Group 3 title and the UAE Derby on the dirt track in Dubai. Saeed Bin Suroor watched his young charge lose out narrowly to several potential Derby and 2000 Guineas rivals on a couple of occasions during his two-year-old season, but those victories at Meydan and a good Group 1 triumph at Saint-Cloud back in October could see a change of fortunes when he returns to British soil.

There is plenty of time between now and the Derby for some of the entrants to run their way in and out of the Epsom equation, so an ante-post wager must be placed with caution. That being said, Martyn Meade's EMINENT (12/1 BetVictor) has made cemmented himself firmly in the Derby picture in the early stages of the new season and he warrants a decent ante-post wager.

Out of Frankel and owned by the legendary Sir Peter Vela, Eminent won well on his career debut over a mile at Newmarket. Despite making an impressive start to his racing career, Meade's youngster was largely overlooked going into the Craven at Newmarket, going to post as the 8/1 fourth favourite. However, he travelled like the best horse in that race, stomring home to deny Rivet and landing a maiden black type title. 

One of the most noteworthy aspects of that performance was the amount of effort and distance it took Jim Crowley to pull his charge up after the line, suggesting a step up in trip will suit him down to the ground. Meade then sent his charge to the 2000 Guineas, where he finished a highly repectable sixth but was viably outpaced over the last few furlongs. His trainer said after that race that a mile was the shortest possible distance he could win over and when he does step up in trip to and mile-and-a-half - which will most certainly happen in this year's Epsom Derby - he is likely to be a strong contender for the most prestigious of titles.

3/6/2017 4:30pm Epsom Derby selection - EMINENT each-way (12/1 BetVictor)

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2017 Epsom Derby tips - 12/1 could repeat his Craven success in the Derby

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for the Epsom Derby and picks out an improving contender sitting at a very appealing price.

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