THE 235th running of the Investec Derby at Epsom is a puzzle that I am struggling to solve at the time of writing. Alarming weather predictions mean none of us really know what state the ground will be in come 4.00pm tomorrow.
We do know that short-priced favourite Australia does not want it soft according to his trainer, and Aidan O’Brien’s comments have helped the jolly drift from 4/5 last week to as big as 6/4.
It’ll be disappointing if there’s too much juice in the ground and we don’t see the real Australia that has had Ballydoyle singing his praises so loudly, but that’s racing.
Punters are likely to get a bigger price on him in the morning and he makes limited appeal currently.
With rain expected, money has come for Kingston Hill but at around 7/1 Roger Varian’s colt is too short, especially as he really will need it to pour.
O’Brien saddles three others and Orchestra makes serious appeal. He’s the only horse in the race proven over 1m 4f and that counts for a lot on a demanding track like Epsom.
Secondly, the son of 2001 Derby winner Galileo won the Chester Vase in May – the same race the stable’s Ruler Of The World triumphed in en route to winning this last year – and the experience of an idiosyncratic course will be of huge benefit.
Ryan Moore really warmed to him that day and don’t read too much into the fact he is riding Geoffrey Chaucer instead – he’s unlikely to have had the choice.
Seamie Heffernan won the Oaks in 2012 and is a class jockey in his own right with plenty of experience on the Downs.
Some cut in the ground will be no problem and, at 14/1 each-way with Star Sports and at 8/1 without Australia with Coral, Orchestra can hit the right notes.
I’ll be giving my full thoughts on the Investec Derby in tomorrow’s special City A.M.