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Ginger Joe - The 2024 Epsom Derby - Runner By Runner Guide

Publish Date: 30/05/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • A preview and betting tips for the 2024 Epsom Derby
  • My runner by runner guide and verdict
  • Aiden O’Brien seeks his tenth Derby victory with three runners here

The 2024 Betfred Derby (Group 1) 1m 4f - Epsom, Saturday 1 June - 16:30

Racing fans, it’s Derby Day at Epsom and what a great lineup we have. I am here with a full runner-by-runner guide for the most prestigious race on the Flat calendar.

Aiden O’Brien is looking to win his tenth Derby and he has three runners in this year's renewal, including the current favourite City Of Troy. But with so many other class animals in the field, I’ll definitely be taking him on.

At the end of my runner-by-runner guide, I’ll give you my verdict, plus my 1-2-3 prediction. I’m pretty confident I have found this year’s Derby winner, but whatever happens on the day, this looks all set to be another spectacular renewal.

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Ambiente Friendly @ 6/1

Ambiente Friendly is a very promising colt from James Fanshawe’s yard. He has caught the eye of many in the lead up to the Derby, thanks to his ultra-impressive run in the Derby Trial at Lingfield just over two weeks ago. He was worryingly keen for the first half a mile or so, but pulled clear of Illinois and Meydaan, winning by well over four lengths. That form has since been franked, with Meydaan winning next time out. Rob Havlin takes the ride here and if he settles better this time, he could be open to plenty more improvement. His stamina is assured and Ambiente Friendly is a strong contender in this year’s Derby.

Ancient Wisdom @ 4/1

Ancient Wisdom is the only representative for Godolphin this year. He is a lovely son of Dubawi and he progressed with each run during his two-year-old season. On his sole start this year he finished second in the Dante behind the highly-impressive Economics, and the step up in trip here could bring out plenty more from him. From what little we have seen of him so far, any further improvement could see him do well, but you would be taking him on trust and this is a big ask for just his second run as a three-year-old.

Bellum Justum @ 20/1

Bellum Justum is a beautifully-bred colt by Sea The Stars. He improved for the step up in trip on his only start as a three-year-old and he is an intriguing contender here. He’s certainly bred to do better over longer trips and he is a very strong traveller, so Epsom is sure to suit him. Based on his form figures he has a lot to find, but stranger things have happened and he is a dark horse here for sure.

City Of Troy @ 7/2

City Of Troy currently heads the betting market for Ballydoyle. He excelled as a two-year-old, but he was very disappointing in the Guineas, which was also his only start as a three-year-old. That poses a serious question as to whether he has fully trained on. Aiden O’Brien has since mentioned that City Of Troy’s preparation could have been better last time out, but he definitely comes with a big caveat as far as I’m concerned. Nonetheless, he has been well supported, plus connections say he is fully fit and ready to win the Derby. Time will tell, but I will definitely be taking him on.

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Dallas Star @ 25/1

Dallas Star won on heavy ground on his only start as a three-year-old, but his level of form is a long way short of what's needed to win this. I don't think Epsom is going to suit him and he doesn’t travel well enough to win a Derby. Don’t get me wrong, he is a decent enough horse, just not a Derby winner in my opinion.

Dancing Gemini @ 11/1

Dancing Gemini has been very well supported this week, but he is a horse stepping into the unknown. He has won over seven furlongs, and came second at Longchamp over a mile earlier this month. He is bred to stay, but is completely untested over this longer trip, which poses obvious questions. However, the market support he has received this week makes him interesting and connections are obviously expecting plenty from him, so perhaps he will turn out to be a real surprise package.

Deira Mile @ 33/1

Deira Mile wouldn’t have been on my Derby radar based on his two-year-old form, but he was very impressive at Windsor on his three-year-old debut, where he won with plenty in hand. In fact it was a massive improvement compared to anything we’ve seen from him previously and perhaps this longer trip will bring out even more. The ground shouldn’t be an issue for him and connections have been quite vocal about how well he has worked at home, so while I don’t believe for a minute that he’s our winner, he might well outrun his odds.

Euphoric @ 40/1

Euphoric represents the Ballydoyle third string here. He only has just over a length to find with Los Angeles, but he doesn’t look to me as if he’s got that much more improvement in him. In my opinion he has it all to do here, and his 40/1 price tag is about right. .

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Gods Window 40/1

God’s Window has fairly consistent form over a mile and he won on his seasonal debut at Nottingham last month. However, he was stepped up to 1m 2f for his next two races, with rather disappointing results considering his reputation and the fact that he was bred for stamina. Maybe the extra couple of furlongs will be the making of him, but I somehow doubt it and he’s highly unlikely to pose any threat in this field.

Kamboo @ 150/1

Kamboo had a respectable two-year-old season and he is a nice horse in his own right, but it’s entirely unclear why he’s running here. He has only raced over a mile on the all-weather previously and he hasn’t had a run at all so far this season, so this is way out of his league. The only thing I can assume is that his owner fancies the idea of having a runner in the Derby.

Los Angeles @ 7/2

Los Angeles has a massive chance here and he looks like a horse on a big upward curve this season too. He was impressive on both of his starts as a two-year-old, which he won easily. He clearly improved further over the winter too, winning decisively at Leopardstown a couple of weeks ago on his three-year-old debut. He looks a very straightforward type which I like in a Derby horse, and he is a big danger to the entire field here. I’m a big fan of Camelot colts and this particular one could easily be our Derby winner.

Macduff @ 12/1

Macduff is a really solid contender here and we definitely haven’t seen the best of him yet. He was second to Arabian Crown on his only start this season, but that was an encouraging run on his first start up in trip and another couple of furlongs may well see him progress again. I think he is gearing up for a big run and even though he needs to improve, that looks very much on the cards here. He may not be too far away on Saturday.

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Mr Hampstead @ 100/1

Mr Hampstead is still a maiden at this point and he has it all to do on his current form. Again, he’s a nice enough horse, but has a near-impossible task on his hands to get anywhere close in this field. Unfortunately, he’s another one that doesn’t really belong here.

Sayedaty Sadety @ 50/1

Sayedaty Sadety is a likeable colt from the Andrew Balding yard, but he is lacking in class and is another who has it all to do based on his current form. That said, he does look likely to improve for the step up in trip, but as far as winning goes, he falls a fair way short of the better horses in the field. He has some potential to pick up a place, but that would be his best hope.

Tabletalk @ 66/1

Tabletalk is another nice son of Camelot. He is very lightly raced and is another that has only run on the all-weather previously. He won last time out at Chelmsford over 1m 2f, but that was a low-class maiden, so his level of form really doesn’t stack up here. However, he shares the same owner as Kamboo, which might explain his presence here. Tabletalk is entitled to line up, but this is a huge ask for a horse of his calibre.

Voyage @ 16/1

Voyage is a seriously intriguing contender who has only had one start to date, but he was very impressive and looks more than ready to progress further. His level of improvement is hard to judge obviously, but he is a son of Golden Horn and bred to do better as he tries this extended trip. He will need to improve but we have no idea where the ceiling of this colt's ability truly is and he could be anything. It would be dangerous to write him off.

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The GJ Verdict

After looking closely at all of the 16 runners for the Epsom Derby, I have nailed down my 1-2-3 selections and hopefully at least one of these will get the job done for us. Macduff is one that I believe is being overlooked here. He looks primed for a big run on his second start this season and the trip should bring out plenty more in him. I can easily see him in the places and I think he is a solid each way bet.

Then I have Ambiente Friendly who was supremely impressive last time out and any improvement on that last run makes him a serious contender here. I would be very surprised if he didn’t feature heavily in this year's Derby. The winner for me though is the unbeaten Los Angeles, for Aiden O’Brien, who is very straightforward, looks like he has bags of potential and clearly hasn’t finished improving yet.

Not only is he likeable, I think he is a very smart horse who is clearly going to improve for the step up in trip, and he looks the most solid contender in this race. City Of Troy may have all the hype about him, but that's all it is after his terrible run in the Guineas and I think stablemate Los Angeles is our Derby winner.

My 1-2-3 prediction for the Epsom Derby

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Ambiente Friendly
  3. Macduff

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