Australia, 2014 Epsom DerbyMaster trainer Aidan O’Brien has trained four winners of the Epsom Derby Stakes in the past 13 years, including the last two. This year he saddles another strong team and it’s one of his entrants that we quite fancy to land this year’s renewal, but it’s not the current favourite Australia (pictured) who is as short as 1.67 with Coral. Read on to discover why…

We’ve cast our analytical eyes over recent Epsom Derby winners in order to pick out the key trends that make up a Derby winner’s profile. We can then use this information to thin out the 2014 Derby field somewhat before making our selection. Here are those trends:

Key Epsom Derby Trends

Breeding

  • All of the last 14 Epsom Derby winners were born before April 7th
  • All of the last 14 Derby winners had been sired by horses with a stamina index of 8.6 or more
  • 13 of the last 14 winners were sired by a Group 1 winner

As with most of the classics, our selection needs to be a real classy sort if it is to win the prestigious Derby Stakes at Epsom. It should also be mature enough physically and in possession of sufficient stamina. All of these facts are clearly illustrated by the above trends.

Recent Form

  • All of the last 14 Epsom Derby winners had raced in the previous 35 days
  • All of the last 14 winners had run once or twice that year

It’s obvious from these trends that our Epsom Derby bet should be race fit but not campaigned so heavily as to be tired ahead of the big race.

Past Form

  • All of the last 14 Epsom Derby winners had won 50%+ of their career races
  • 13 of the last 14 Derby winners had scored at Group level
  • 13 of the last 14 winners had won at the highest level attempted
  • 12 of the last 14 winners of the Derby began at 7f or 8f
  • 48 of the 51 races contested by the past 14 Derby winners resulted in front 3 finishes

These Epsom Derby trends paint a very clear picture; our 2014 Derby selection must have bags of proven ability. Derby winners usually follow a certain path to Epsom too, so it’s best to stick to that pattern. One of the more interesting statistics in there is that the past 14 Derby winners contested a total of 51 races between them and on just three occasions did they finish outside of the first three – all three of those were racecourse debuts.

Summary

We can use the above Epsom Derby trends to reduce the current 27 strong field to just two possible selections, both trained by Aidan O’Brien: Geoffrey Chaucer- currently the second favourite at 8/1 (9.00) with Paddy Power – and Orchestra, who is available to back at a standout 20/1 (21.00) with William Hill.

The hot favourite for the race is Australia, who falls down on a couple of trends. Foaled on April 8th, he is arguably a tad on the young side and given that he recently finished 3rd in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, he has not won at the highest level attempted. It could be argued that these are relatively tame reasons for removing him from contention for the 2014 Epsom Derby, but there are also concerns over the ground – the favourite would want it much drier than the soft ground that is currently prevailing around the country – and given the current prices, I don’t need too much on an excuse to take him on.

Of the two alternatives that we have found using the trends, I am siding with Orchestra who feels like a big price at 20/1 ( William Hill). He recently proved his stamina when edging out Romsdal to win the Chester Vase, a race won by last year’s Derby winner Ruler Of The World, also trained by O’Brien.

Geoffrey Chaucer is not exactly a bad price at 8/1 (Paddy Power) but I feel he has been somewhat over-hyped. He hasn’t really achieved that much more than a horse like Orchestra, finishing 3rd in the Derrinstown Derby Trial in Ireland last time out after winning a relatively weak Beresford Stakes. Much of the reason behind his current price is the speculation that he thrashed Australia in a training session on the gallops, a rumour that has basically been denied by O’Brien. At the current prices, I am much happier with an Each-Way nibble on Orchestra.

Advice

The 2014 Epsom Derby Stakes
Saturday June 7th, 16:00

Orchestra (Each-Way) @ 20/1 (21.00) with William Hill

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