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Richard Hoiles: My runner-by-runner guide to the Epsom Derby

31 May | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: My runner-by-runner guide to the Epsom Derby

The horse racing broadcaster offers his top four selections for the big race at Epsom on Saturday, and provides a stable tracker update.

Runner-by-runner guide to the Epsom Derby

AMBIENTE FRIENDLY – Put up a career-best when winning the Lingfield Derby Trial decisively. The concern is whether he is good enough after being quite well-held in the Feilden. The decision to replace the winning rider from Lingfield, Callum Shepherd, is slightly puzzling. ***

ANCIENT WISDOM – Is a Group 1 winner, having landed the Futurity at Doncaster on heavy ground last autumn. He was well beaten by Economics in the Dante. The main concern is that he has a pounding action, so soft ground could be important to him, and he is not certain to be suited by the track. ***

BELLUM JUSTUM – Won the Blue Riband trial at the track, but that is rarely good enough to play a part in the Derby itself. Expect the same this time around, even in a shallow year. **

CITY OF TROY – The enigma in the field after his desperately disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas. Connections have been adamant that he retains the ability that saw him carry all before him at two. Auguste Rodin won the Derby last year after a similar woeful Guineas run. That does not appeal as a reason why it should be the same this time around, but then it didn’t last year either! Stall 1 is not a help. ***

DALLAS STAR – Shock 50/1 winner of the Ballysax, one of the leading Irish Derby trials, beating Illinois by a similar margin to Ambiente Friendly at Lingfield. That was on heavy ground and was a massive career-best on his first start for Adrian Murray. Needs another big step forward. **

DANICING GEMINI – Comes here off the back of an excellent run in the French 2000 Guineas but has yet to race beyond a mile and was behind both Ancient Wisdom and Deira Mile in the Futurity. His pedigree offers plenty of hope that he will stay, but he has always shown a fair amount of speed and, if ridden back, he will need luck. A big ride for Dylan Browne McMonagle. ***

DEIRA MILE – Fourth behind Ancient Wisdom in the Futurity and was quite impressive at the gallops morning here last week. Could outrun his odds and make the frame. ***

EUPHORIC – Behind Los Angeles at Leopardstown when making the running. No reason why he should reverse the form and could be employed to make the pace again. *

GOD’S WINDOW – Has drawn lucky stall 10, but that is about all he seems to have going for him. *

KAMBOO – A massive step up in grade following a maiden win at Kempton. The race has worked out well, but this looks a tough ask on his first run since December. *

LOS ANGELES – A solid profile and a leading chance. Group 1 winner in France as a juvenile and reappeared with a win at Leopardstown in a grinding manner, which suggested 12f would suit really well. Ryan Moore has stayed loyal to City of Troy, so Wayne Lordan has been handed a top chance of his first Derby winner. Looks the one to beat. *****

MACDUFF – No match for Arabian Crown at Sandown but looked to stay the 10f well, and with the winner forced to miss the race through injury, he could still have more to offer over a mile and a half. Surprisingly, this is a first Derby ride for Rossa Ryan. Each-way chances. ****

MR HAMPSTEAD – Surely making up the numbers here. *

SAYEDATY SADATY – Likely to be up with the pace, but even with his Listed second at Newmarket he has a fair amount to find. **

TABLETALK – Another maiden winner taking a huge step up in grade. There will be realistic chances further down the line. *

VOYAGE – The most promising of the maiden winners, but just a second career start and only made his debut in April. A first Derby runner for owner Julie Wood, far better known for her two-year-olds. A tough ask. **



2nd: MACDUFF /




PORTSMOUTH / (13:25 Epsom)

LIVE IN THE MOMENT / (15:45 Epsom)

PADDY THE HORSE / (16:15 Hexham)

YORKSHIRE / (18:50 Doncaster)


Riders heading for tracks where they have a good career record in terms of actual winners ridden compared to the expected number based on market prices.

HEXHAM – Charlotte Jones (11/32, A/E 2.42) rides a couple of course winners in Cudgel (16:55) and Shoughall’s Boy (18:35), though both are struggling for form at present.

LINGFIELD – Darragh Keenan (44/404, A/E 1.34). Only the one ride aboard Hotspur Harry in the 17:35.

MUSSELBURGH – Sam James (33/176, A/E 1.38). Five rides, including two for Karl Burke, for whom he is 7/23 at the track (A/E 1.40). Invincible Annice (14:50) and Classy Boy (16:00).

WORCESTER – Sean Bowen (56/270, A/E 1.24).


Two runners this week, both unplaced after not really running under conditions that suited. Old Chums (14/1) ran at York over 7f, where it was anticipated it would be similar to the 6f he ran over at Chester when added. Similarly, It’s Life (50/1) is qualified for Restricted D’s but again ran in a normal maiden, showing very little, as the price reflected. At the moment, I am leaving all horses on for three runs after being added, but it may be reduced to two depending on how results pan out. The advantage of a run under unsuitable conditions is that the price will be bigger next time when they will hopefully compete in more suitable contests.

Quite a few additions this week, largely among the juveniles, whom I intend to follow closely this season. Goodwood is a tough place to make your debut because the track is so quickly downhill that any greenness tends to be very costly.

ORIGINAL OUTLAW was a typical case in point, losing ground through inexperience and then finding his path blocked when beginning to get the hang of things. A £300k purchase with a very good pedigree, he will make above-average progress.

JEWEL OF LONDON was in the market and travelled well on her debut before being outpointed by two more experienced rivals. She just impressed with the way she went through the race and achieved a level of form good enough to find a similar contest.

RAVEENA ran in the same race from the stable of Jack Channon, who is 0/26 with two-year-olds on debut. She showed good speed – her mother had won the Prestige Stakes at the track as a juvenile – and she is a half-sister to the smart Tiber Flow. It may take one more race before her full potential becomes evident, but she showed enough here when almost certainly not fully wound up to be on the radar.

BOADICIA made short work of her rivals at Salisbury on Saturday night and looks to have started out in handicaps off a decent mark. She travelled well and impressed me with her attitude under pressure on her second start. She looks highly likely to follow up next time.

Additions: Original Outlaw, Jewel Of London, Raveena, Boadicia.

A full list of the stable tracker horses can be found here.


Stable Tracker (11/12.21, A/E 0.90)

Day Selections (22/25.13, A/E 0.88)

Jockeys For Courses (25/27.92, A/E 0.90)

Total (58/65.26, A/E 0.89)

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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.