Applying the ratings to find Epsom Derby value
The Epsom Derby is probably as far removed from a handicap as you can get given that it is stacked full of beautifully bred horses with top-class potential. But applying some form of handicap thinking can help you to find the value in the race when it comes to placing a bet.
With only colts lining up in this year’s Derby, each runner will have to carry 9st on their backs. Off level weights, therefore, you would think it would pay to side with the highest-rated horse in the field.
In some respects that may not be the worst idea given that Golden Horn is the highest rated in the field with a mark of 118. But, at the same time, Golden Horn is also a relatively short-priced favourite in a field which is far from exposed. Connections have paid £75,000 to supplement the horse for the Derby on the back of his impressive success in the Dante Stakes at York. That took John Gosden’s horse’s record to three wins from three starts, and his victory was in the most important Derby trial. He is a worthy favourite judged on that performance, and the fact such a large amount of money has been stumped up has to be factored in, but he is no real value in the market.
Rated only 1lb inferior to Golden Horn is Elm Park, yet he is available at nearly four times the price. Checking out BritishBookmakers.co.uk for betting offers on the Derby would be worthwhile as Elm Park represents solid each-way value. True, he has to make up six lengths on Golden Horn on Dante running after he finished third, but that was his first run of the season and he had been prepared for the 2000 Guineas a week-and-a-half earlier. He will strip much fitter for that reappearance, he should appreciate the step up in distance to a mile-and-a-half and he has a touch of class. The concern would be if he handles the track, but
he has to be considered.
Another horse to have been supplemented for the Derby is Success Days and he is rated just 4lbs inferior to Golden Horn. But you can back him at around eight times the price of the favourite. Success Days won both of the leading Derby trials in Ireland – the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown – and he was visually impressive in testing conditions. The ground won’t be as soft at Epsom as it has been in Ireland, but it’s not going to be fast and he’s a horse heading in the right direction.
Aidan O’Brien’s runners have to be respected in the Derby, especially as he has won the race for the last three years, including with Australia in 2014. But he doesn’t look to have a potential superstar in his ranks this year.
Giovanni Canaletto, Hans Holbein and Kilimanjaro don’t represent value in the betting when you look at their ratings compared to other runners in the field. The reputation of their trainer and owners has made their price shorter than it probably deserves to be.
Zawraq is another horse too short in the betting based on what he has achieved on the track in just two starts, especially given the worry about whether he will stay the trip.
On ratings, therefore, Golden Horn is justly favourite, but wouldn’t be a value winner. Instead, Elm Park and Success Days look to be the two in the field who represent value.