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Richard Hoiles Betway blog: Epsom Derby Saturday 03 06 23

The racing broadcaster thinks an each-way bet is the best way to try and unlock the main puzzle at Epsom, along with three other fancies for Saturday.

02 Jun | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles Betway blog: Epsom Derby Saturday 03 06 23


The open nature of this year’s Derby (13:30, Epsom) is reflected in the market, which more closely resembles a handicap than a Group race. So many of the leading contenders are tied into similar form lines or, in the case of Auguste Rodin, require a massive level of forgiveness for a woeful Guineas run.

Auguste Rodin had been talked up as a potential Triple Crown horse by Aidan O’Brien, possibly reflecting the undoubted gold mine producing another stallion by Deep Impact would yield. His Vertem Futurity win has not worked out that well, with second horse Epictetus’s victory in the Epsom trial looking particularly suspect. O’Brien has already shown with the likes of Little Big Bear and Luxembourg that he can coax a horse back to top-level form, but it still looks a big leap of faith.

Outside Auguste Rodin, there are plenty of interlocking form lines. Dubai Mile, Arrest and Adelaide River took each other on in France last year and the latter two did so again at Chester in May.

The Foxes, White Birch and Passenger all finished in a bit of a heap in the Dante last month, with the latter looking unlucky enough to persuade connections – who have been trying to win the prize for years – to supplement at a cost of £85,000. It still feels a bit rushed, though, for a horse that only made his debut in the Wood Ditton on 20 April, which is later than either Ruler of the World or Commander In Chief, who were the last two Derby winners not to have run as juveniles.

Of the principals, Military Order is the one I would expect to be involved in the finish, but in terms of actual form achieved he looks short enough in the market.


With no stand-out, the outsiders deserve close attention and SAN ANTONIO appeals. He has improved on every one of his four starts, culminating in winning the Dee Stakes at Chester. He clearly looked as if he would stay that day and has yet to encounter ground as fast as at Epsom but has a pedigree that suggests he could be well suited by it.

Offspring of Dubawi have both a good record on ground faster than good (with an actual/expected ratio of 1.14) and at the track (a very healthy 1.42), while his dam Rain Goddess ran second to Enable in the Irish Oaks on fast ground.

Clearly it is a speculative selection, which is reflected in the price, but an each-way bet on SAN ANTONIO appeals as the best way to try and unlock a real puzzle of a race.


Elsewhere on the card, CAN TO CAN (14:45, Epsom) runs in the new 3YO Dash. Bought out of Mark Johnston’s yard for £75,000, he made all in first-time blinkers at Newcastle last time for a yard in Adrian Nicholls’ that have won with three of their last four runners and saddled the older horse Dash winner last year in Tees Spirit for today’s rider Barry McHugh.

One of racing’s worst sayings is that making all to win is ‘doing it the hard way’. Often getting a soft and uncontested lead is, in fact, doing it the easiest way as it leaves plenty of petrol in the tank to hold off any potential challengers. CAIUS CHORISTER (16:30, Epsom) has form figures at Epsom of 112 and looks to have the ideal opportunity of being handed a soft time up front.


In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned highlighting jockeys who have particularly good records at tracks they are riding at today. Here is today’s list to keep an eye on:

  • Hexham: Tommy Dowson (two rides at 16:05 and 16:40)
  • Lingfield: Neil Callan (six rides in first six races on the card)
  • Musselburgh: Sean Levey (two rides at 15:05 and 15:40)


Away from the main action, one of Neil Callan’s mounts GONE (19:10, Lingfield) looks set to benefit from being able to capitalise on the usual straight course advantage on the turf course of bagging the near-side running rail.


SAN ANTONIO (13:30, Epsom)

CAN TO CAN (14:45, Epsom)

CAIUS CHORISTER (16:30, Epsom)

GONE (19:10, Lingfield)

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.