IT HAS been 12 years since Sir Michael Stoute won Saturday’s Cazoo Derby (4.30pm) at Epsom, but in DESERT CROWN he looks to have a horse more than capable of giving him a sixth victory in the world’s most famous horse race.
Since bolting up in a Nottingham maiden in November last year, there has been plenty of talk about the son of Nathaniel being an Epsom candidate and he proved just that with a dominant display in the Dante at York on his seasonal bow.
It was hard not to be impressed with the way he did it and Stoute is a master at bringing these horses through, so he looks worthy of his place at the head of the betting.
While he does lack experience having had just two career starts and needs to prove he stays the extra two furlongs, he’s the most likely winner to my mind.
I wouldn’t put anyone off him at 7/4, but the one I like each-way is CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD for that man Aidan O’Brien.
He didn’t do much as a two-year-old, but looks to have really thrived over the winter and has won his two starts this season by a total of 12-and-a-half lengths.
The most recent of those came in the Chester Vase where he powered clear from Godolphin’s well-touted New London in a performance that showed he’s certain to see out this mile-and-a-half trip.
That’s something you can say about few of his other rivals and while his stablemate Stone Age has been all the rage since an authoritative win at Leopardstown, Changingoftheguard is the one I prefer.
O’Brien’s record in this race speaks for itself and his runner looks the solid each-way play in the race at 10/1.
The Irish handler is, of course, the Derby’s most successful trainer, while the jockey who holds that achievement is the late Lester Piggott, who sadly passed away earlier this week.
This year’s race will be run in the nine-time winner’s honour and it will be a fitting tribute to one of the sport’s greats.
The Cazoo Derby will once again be a World Pool event, but for the first time both days at Epsom will be part of it.
As a collaboration of global Totes, the World Pool enables racing fans from over 20 countries to bet into a single pool creating huge liquidity and excellent value.
Last year, £24 million was bet into the pools on Cazoo Derby Day and customers enjoyed unrivalled value, with five of the seven races paying over Industry Starting Price (SP), while Tote Guarantee matched it on the other two.
For context, last year’s winner Adayar went off at 16/1 with bookmakers, but thanks to the Tote Guarantee, he paid out at £20.24 on the Tote.
So, while Desert Crown looks the one to play in the Tote’s Win market, I’ll be backing him and Changingoftheguard in a Quinella, which is a prediction on the first two home in any order.
Of the remainder, you’ve got to respect Nations Pride given Godolphin decided to supplement him and he’s the choice of stable jockey William Buick, while his stablemate Walk Of Stars looks of a similar mould to Adayar, so he has to be considered too.
Donnacha O’Brien has booked Frankie Dettori to ride Piz Badile, but I’ll stick with Desert Crown and Changingoftheguard as my two against the field.
Desert Crown 4.30pm Epsom
Changingoftheguard e/w 4.30pm Epsom
Desert Crown, Changingoftheguard