2011 Epsom Derby - Preview
For probably the first time in its long history ( Diomed in 1780 set the ball rolling ) the Epsom Derby is more about a particular person than any of the horses taking part.
Her Majesty The Queen has been trying to win the most famous flat race in the world for over 60 years now, and in the Sir Michael Stoute trained Carlton House the reigning monarch has an outstanding chance of achieving a lifelong ambition.
No bigger than 2/1 favourite for racing’s ‘ Blue Ribbon, ‘ the Dante Stakes winner has impeccable credentials, but whether his current price represents any real value is debatable, taking into account a somewhat mulish display before entering the stalls for York’s Derby trial.
With most of the important trials behind us it is hard to make a strong case for many of the candidates, and so once again it is likely to be the stable of Aidan O’Brien that poses the greatest threat to a royal victory on Saturday 4th June.
Chester Vase winner Treasure Beach looked only workmanlike on the Roodee, and Seville will need to come on considerably to turn the tables on his York conqueror, but the Ballydoyle horse that is most likely to pose a serious rival is the Montjeu colt Recital.
Currently available at 7/1 with Bet365, Blue Square and Sportingbet, Recital courted much criticism regarding his ungainly head carriage when winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, but a similar trait did not stop his sire becoming a champion of the turf.
French challenger Pour Moi ( another son of Montjeu ) has entered the reckoning since a comfortable Prix Greffulhe win, but with only one Gallic victory since the mighty Sea-Bird 46 years ago it is easy to pass over Andre Fabre’s lightly raced colt.
For those looking for a more spectulative selection the John Gosden trained Nathaniel looks overpriced at the 33/1 on offer with Victor Chandler and Stan James.
The Chester Vase runner-up was caught flat footed on the Roodee, but in a stronger run race the well bred son of Galileo’s stamina can come into play, providing connections allow the colt to take its chance rather than wait for an easier opportunity at Royal Ascot.