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2016 Epsom Derby tips - Expert selections, Ryan Moore's runner-by-runner guide & Frankie Dettori's verdict

Frankie Dettori leaps from Golden Horn after winning The Investec Derby.

The 2016 Epsom Derby takes place on Saturday afternoon and millions of race fans will tune into the world's most prestigious race.

Register with bet365 and get £200 worth of bonus bets to use at Epsom this weekend.

The world's most famous Classic looks set to be a fantastic contest and it's difficult to remember a renewal of the race that looked more competitive.  With the bookmakers currently offering 4/1 the field it looks like a difficult puzzle to solve but there are a whole host of enhanced price promotions and free bet offers up for grabs.

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Ryan Moore's Derby runner-by-runner guide

The first thing to say about the Derby is that the race is run at 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon, and the track can dry out very quickly if there has been no rain for a day or so, so bear that in mind. Obviously it is a big-field Derby, so the draw will be important for a number of reasons; how you start, the horses that are around you, and the position you get. But you deal with it.

Across The Stars: I rode him on his debut, and when he won his maiden at heavy odds-on this season. Looked a little unlucky when third in the Lingfield Derby Trial, and is a progressive stayer who is sure to be suited by a stronger-run race. But I don't think he will be good enough here. 

Algometer: Second to me on Midterm in the Sandown Classic Trial and ground it out well at Goodwood. The trip will obviously be no problem, nor will the rain earlier in the week, but class probably will be. Looks more of a St Leger type.

Biodynamic: Credible enough runs at Newmarket and Chester, but next to no chance from what I can see.

Cloth Of Stars: Is probably more priced up on who trains him to be honest, rather than on form, but that is not necessarily a bad thing as Andre Fabre is a genius and I never underestimate anything he sends over. I rode Idaho in the race he finished second to Robin Of Navan last season and although he has obviously improved this season, I wasn't particularly impressed by his win in the Greffulhe last time. I thought it was a weak race. But he will stay, handle cut and, like I say, is trained by a master.

Deauville: I think the recent rain has gone against him, even if he did win on heavy ground on his debut, so he is one horse that wants the ground to dry up quickly. But he ran a better trial than most in here when an excellent second for me in the Dante, and I felt that he would come on for that run, too. On form, he has a leading chance, and that chance gets better on drying ground over this trip.

Harzand: I rode Cook Islands to finish fourth to him and Idaho in the Ballysax, and you had to be pretty impressed with him there. And clearly the rain earlier this week is a big plus to his chances. But I'm pretty sure that Pat (Smullen) said after the race that he would be worried about this big individual not being ideally suited to Epsom. And initial impressions are often the most telling.

Humphrey Bogart: Has form on the track - a good second to So Mi Dar - and he did it well enough at Lingfield. Has a few positives, but the necessary class to win a Derby probably isn't one, and I can't see him winning this, to be honest.

Idaho: I rode him as a juvenile, and he looked a stayer in both the Ballysax and the Derrinstown last time, and I get the impression there is plenty more to come from him stepping up in trip. I think a lot of the Irish horses from the Derrinstown are evenly-matched, though, and it is simply a matter who improves the most for the step up in trip. 

Massaat: Probably brings the strongest form to the table here with his Guineas second, but he hasn't struck me as a stayer, to be honest. 

Moonlight Magic: I can see him running well, and he is certainly bred for the job. But he may just have got the run of the race when winning the Derrinstown and, as I said, I don't think you can be confident about who will come out best of the first three home from that race here, let alone winning the Derby. But he is a player, for sure. 

Port Douglas: He looks a rock-solid horse. I haven't ridden him but the merit of his second to US Army Ranger was there for all to see at Chester, especially as he was giving me 4lb. I wouldn't underestimate him as we know that he stays and already has the form to take a hand. The blinkers replace the cheek pieces, but he wore those when he won the Beresford, so I wouldn't be worried about that.

Red Verdon: I rode him when he won off a mark of 80 at Chester last month, and he followed up in good style at Haydock next time, although that looked a pretty weak handicap. Stays and is improving and I can see why they have supplemented him in an open year. It is hard to really see him winning, though, but he could run a similar race to Red Galileo in this race a couple of years ago, I suppose. This is a big ask, though.

Shogun: Ran well enough in the Irish Guineas last time but he will be much better suited by this trip on the evidence of his Derrinstown second, where he was just getting going for me at the finish. But soft ground would be an issue for him, so drying conditions would be a big plus. The blinkers that he wore last time are off and he certainly moved and travelled ok for me without them in the Derrinstown. 

Ulysses: I have a lot of time for this horse, I always have, but I think it has maybe happened a bit too late for him. He has plenty of questions to answer after just winning what looked, and rode like, a modest maiden at Newbury, but he is certainly bred for the job and is one of the many in here who could step forward massively. I haven't sat on him at home since that maiden win - and he did win it impressively, I accept that - but the boss seems happy enough with him. He is a colt of great potential; it's just a matter of whether this race is coming too soon in his education. 

US Army Ranger: Unbeaten, bred for the job and won't mind whatever the ground throws at him. And he did travel well and give me a really good feel when winning the Chester Vase. Again, one of the many potential improvers in here - and he needs to improve, obviously - and I am happy to be riding him.

Wings Of Desire: Arguably the most solid horse in a race full of unknowns. Good winner of a good trial, and will be suited by going back up in trip. Quite obviously, there is a lot to like about his chances.

In summary this is a very hard race to call, and an incredibly open Derby. I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if any one of eight won it, maybe more, as we are dealing with lightly-raced, middle distance colts, most of whom are unexposed and ready to take a big step forward. There are several in here who could stick their hand up on Saturday afternoon. Let's hope I am on the one who sticks it up the highest.

Frankie Dettori's Derby verdict

I’ve been busy assessing the challengers to Wings of Desire
I've got a good favourite's chance in the Derby and the forecast rain doesn't do us any harm. He'll definitely stay, and being out of Pivotal, any cut in the ground would be OK too. 
As per the Oaks though, it's an incredibly wide-open Derby but I have managed to narrow down the threats to four. These are the horses I'm most scared of: 
Moonlight Magic - won well in Ireland and trained by the master, Jim Bolger. 
Cloth of Stars - he's got the Fabre factor and he looked to be in incredible condition at Breakfast with the Stars.
Deauville - we just beat him in the Dante and he doesn't have much to find.
Ulysees - all of Newmarket is talking about this horse but he lacks experience, which you could say about quite a few of the other runners. 
Make no mistake, the Derby is the ultimate test of a racehorse and it challenges them in every way.
It tests stamina, balance, everything. Winning the Derby is no fluke, only the best will come through it.
Hopefully that’ll be the case with my horse this Saturday. It’s going to be another incredible renewal, you can be sure of that.

Epsom Derby 2016 - The expert guide to the race

Race fans all over the world will tune into the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday and viewers look set to be treated to a thrilling contest.

The world’s oldest Classic (due off at 4.30pm) remains one of British racing’s biggest draws and the famous race has been won by some of the sport’s leading names.  The likes of Sea The Stars, Galileo, Nashwan, Mill Reef and Shergar all grace the contest’s illustrious roll of honour and a number of interesting horses will be looking to add their name to the history books on Saturday afternoon.

John Gosden’s Wings Of Desire (5/1, Ladbrokes) heads the market for this year’s renewal and the Colt certainly laid down the clearest marker for the race when he landed the Dante Stakes at York last time out.  That trial is considered to be one of the most informative in the build up to Epsom and the way he obliged rightfully impressed plenty of ante post punters.

There are plenty of other horses that hold claims in an intriguing renewal of the race but it is impossible not to be drawn to Aidan O’Brien who has won the great race on five occasions.  He has also been responsible for three of the last four winners, leading Australia, Camelot and Ruler Of The World to famous victories.  The Derby trials have left the Ballydoyle 2016 Derby picture unclear, but US ARMY RANGER (6/1, William Hill) has long been considered their leading hope and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about his chances this weekend.

By Galileo and out of Oaks runner-up/Irish Oaks winner Moonstone, the Colt did not make his debut until this season and there had already been plenty of whispers about the horse on the gallops.  Touted as a Derby winner before he’d even seen a track, his victory at the Curragh in April was certainly mightily impressive and he was as short as 5/1 for Classic glory just a few days after that success.  

Us Army Ranger wins the Chester Vase.

As a result of the excitement he was sent off 4/11 for the Chester Vase last month and despite landing the Group Three, he failed to impress ante post punters with his performance.  Receiving 4lb from stablemate Port Douglas, he scraped home by a short-head and the Derby picture became even more unclear.

The bookmakers were clearly unimpressed with his victory there, but there was also plenty to like about his trip to Chester and he travelled like much the best horse throughout.  On only his second start he cruised through the trial and he looked like he would win how he liked when they turned for home.  Ryan Moore never had to get too serious in the saddle and he always looked to be holding his experienced rival.

The duo pulled seven lengths clear of the field and his master handler was left thrilled with the performance.  He is sure to come on for that run and according to RPRs, Deauville is the only horse in the Derby field to have achieved more by their second run.

When O’Brien has a good horse they often live up their hype on the track and Ryan Moore has chosen to partner the Irish raider.  He heads into the race as an unbeaten Colt with the world at his feet and the conditions at Epsom will pose little trouble.  He has drifted to an enticing price and he could prove too good for his rivals on Saturday.

Selection - US ARMY RANGER (6/1, William Hill

Timeform runner-by-runner guide

Across The Stars

Sea The Stars half-brother to very smart winner up to 1½m Bronze Cannon. Confirmed two-year-old promise when landing odds in Lingfield maiden on return, and shaped best (not clear run) when one and a half lengths third to Humphrey Bogart in Derby Trial on turf there since. Booking of Kieren Fallon brings back memories of Kris Kin, who won an open Derby for same connections in 2003, and could go well at a big price.


Confirmed debut promise when landing Newbury maiden last October, and gave Midterm a brief scare in the Sandown Classic Trial on his return. Built on that form when winning four-runner Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood (11f) since and even more to come over 1½m+, though may just find a few too good here.


Got off the mark in 11f Kempton maiden on return and excelled himself up in grade when third in a valuable sales race at Newmarket next time. Similar form when nine lengths fourth to US Army Ranger in Chester Vase last time.

Cloth of Stars

Supplemented for this race at a cost of £75,000 on Monday. Won first two starts at two and signed off for 2015 when second to Robin of Navan in 1¼m Saint-Cloud Group 1 (Idaho fourth). Won over 1¼m there on both starts this year, beating Robin of Navan in Group 2 on latest and has more to offer. Free-going sort (usually held up) but should stay 1½m and is respected.


Brother to very smart 1¼m-1½m winner The Corsican. Won first two starts last term, including Group 3 at the Curragh, before finding Foundation too good in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket and then disappointing in first-time cheekpieces in the Racing Post Trophy. Back on song in first-time tongue tie when neck second to Wings of Desire in Dante on reappearance. Clearly worth considering, but doubtful he has the potential of some, including from his own stable.


Built on promise of two-year-old debut when cruising home in Cork maiden on return and took another step forward when following up in seven-runner Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April. Will stay at least 1½m and likely to progress further but both wins on heavy ground and no significant rain forecast.

Humphrey Bogart

The third supplementary entry. Did little wrong in five starts at two and really hit his straps on his last two outings, neck second to So Mi Dar in the Derby Trial here and winning the Lingfield Derby Trial (11.5f) by half a length from Carntop. Plenty more needed here, however.


Brother to high-class winner up to 1½m Highland Reel. Not disgraced in Group 1 company straight after making a winning debut last October, and improved when one and a quarter lengths second to Harzand in Ballysax at Leopardstown on return. Couldn't uphold latter form with Moonlight Magic when third in the Derrinstown but was left poorly placed in a muddling affair and it's likely we've yet to see his true colours. Could outrun long odds.


By Teofilo out of a two-year-old 6f winner (half-sister to useful juvenile sprinter Dolled Up). Backed up favourable impression made on debut when easily landing odds in Leicester maiden last September and then chased home Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst. Improved again when one and a half lengths second of 13 to Galileo Gold in 2000 Guineas back at Newmarket on return, unable to match winner's acceleration but sticking to task well, and remains with potential. Will stay 1¼m, but pedigree suggests this trip could stretch him.

Moonlight Magic

By Cape Cross out of Oaks third/Irish Oaks runner-up Melikah. Won both starts at two, including listed race, and much better for return (well beaten on heavy going in Ballysax) when winning eight-runner Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown (good ground) last month from Shogun, Idaho and Beacon Rock. Probably more to come, but odds around 12/1 are a fair reflection of his chance.

Port Douglas

By Galileo and closely related to useful 1½m-1¾m winner Walzertakt. Wore first-time blinkers when narrow winner of the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last September and matched that form when fourth in Racing Post Trophy. Much improved in tongue strap/cheekpieces when short-head second to much shorter-priced stablemate US Army Ranger in Chester Vase on reappearance, rallying despite not being so forcefully ridden as winner and also conceding 4 lb all round. Holds good form claims in an open year, but several are open to more improvement, including a couple of his stablemates.

Red Verdon

Another supplementary entry, having won 1½m handicaps at Chester and Haydock on his last two starts (also unlucky not to win a similar race on his return). Certainly worth his place at listed, minor pattern level, but this could be a bridge too far at this stage.


Brother to last year's shock Oaks winner Qualify, so pedigree suggests he could step up now tackling 1½m, but form (one maiden win from eight starts, well held in Irish 2000 Guineas on latest) leaves him with plenty to find here. Has looked quirky, too (usually blinkered).


By Galileo out of Oaks winner Light Shift. Backed up promise of sole start at two (sixth to Algometer) when a close second to Imperial Aviator (franked form) in maiden at Leicester on return in April and improved again when winning similar race at Newbury (1¼m) by eight lengths. Clearly more needed upped to this company, but hard to know where his progress will stop and represents yard that has won the Derby five times.

US Army Ranger

By Galileo out of Oaks runner-up/Irish Oaks winner Moonstone. Like his dam, didn't make his debut until the April of his three-year-old year, winning cosily in a 1¼m maiden on heavy ground at the Curragh. Came out only second best at the weights when beating stablemate Port Douglas (conc. 4 lb) by a short head in six-runner Chester Vase at Chester (12.3f) last month but went like the best horse for a long way. That experience is likely to have sharpened him up, and the vibes suggests he's still at the top of the Ballydoyle pecking order.

Wings of Desire

The final supplementary entry. Only made his debut in April (like US Army Ranger), and built on that effort when winning a 1½m maiden on the tapeta at Wolverhampton. Chosen by Frankie Dettori over Foundation in the Dante Stakes at York last month and took a huge leap forward to win by a neck from Deauville (Foundation third). Open to further progress, especially back up over this trip (brother to smart winner up to 14.6f The Lark and high-class 11f/1½m winner Eagle Top) and probably the one they all have to beat here.

Timeform Derby 1-2-3

1. Wings of Desire
2. US Army Ranger
3. Ulysses

Timeform Analyst's Verdict 

The best performance in a trial was put up by WINGS OF DESIRE and, with even more to come back over 1½m, he just gets the nod to give John Gosden and Frankie Dettori back-to-back Derby winners. The highly-regarded US Army Ranger heads a 5-strong team for Ballydoyle, while Ulysses is completely unexposed and is taken to complete the placings.

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2016 Epsom Derby tips - Expert selections, Ryan Moore's runner-by-runner guide & Frankie Dettori's verdict

The 2016 Epsom Derby takes place on Saturday afternoon and millions of race fans will tune into the world's most prestigious race.

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