Investec Derby betting wide-open as 18 remain in Epsom Classic
David Metcalf | May 31, 2016
US Army Ranger, Wings Of Desire favourites for 2016 Derby
Wings Of Desire, one of four supplementary entries, is among 18 contenders going forward for the the 237th running of Investec Derby, which will be Britain’s richest-ever race when run at Epsom on Saturday, June 4th.
The John Gosden trained colt is 4/1 joint-favourite with Coral, official betting partner of the Derby Festival, and the other supplementary entries made yesterday were French raider Cloth Of Stars (6/1), Humphrey Bogart (25/1) and Red Verdon (20/1).
Their £75k supplementary fees have boosted the value of the Investec Derby from £1.325m to £1.543m which the racecourse has topped up to £1.545m.
The previous highest prize fund total for the 1m 4f contest was £1.47m in 2003, while £1.434m was on offer last year.
Desire bidding to follow in the footsteps of Golden Horn
Owned by Lady Bamford, Wings Of Desire leapt to the head of the ante-post market for the Derby when winning the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York by a neck from Deauville.
The lightly-raced three-year-old son of Pivotal is out to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Golden Horn, also trained by Newmarket-based Gosden, who won the Derby after being supplemented following victory in the Dante Stakes.
Wings Of Desire, originally entered for the Investec Derby as a yearling in December, 2014, was taken out in March this year when he did not appear forward enough, but he has come on by leaps and bounds since and is back in the Classic.
Kris Kin, the 2003 Derby winner, was similarly taken out of the Classic in March before being put back in at the supplementary entry stage.
Godolphin’s Cloth Of Stars was successful in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe last time out, Humphrey Bogart, owned by the Saint Tropez syndicate of Chelsea Thoroughbreds, took the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial and recent very impressive Haydock Park handicap scorer Red Verdon races for Hong Kong-based Ronnie Arculli.
Hannon expecting big run from Humphrey
Richard Hannon, trainer of Humphrey Bogart, said: “I am looking forward to the Investec Derby immensely. The horse is in great form, moving well and you never know.
“He has surprised me all along this season. I didn’t think he would get a mile and a quarter – he did, I didn’t think he would get a mile and a half and he did.
“He has been to Epsom, he gets the trip and has got a lot of speed for a Derby horse – he will have more of a turn of foot than a lot of them. I hope he settles and the faster they go the more it will suit him.
“To get in the first four of the Investec Derby with Humphrey Bogart would be outstanding. We are pleased to get him there, he has earned the money it cost to supplement him and he has earned his spot.”
US Army Ranger spearheads a seven strong Ballydoyle team
Aidan O’Brien, the joint most successful current trainer in the Derby with five victories, has seven contenders still in headed by the unbeaten US Army Ranger (4/1 joint-favourite) and Port Douglas (14/1), who were separated by a short-head when first and second in the Group 3 Chester Vase.
Also going forward for Ballydoyle handler are Deauville (12/1), Group 3 Gallinule Stakes winner Beacon Rock (33/1) and Idaho (16/1), who has been placed in two Classic trials, plus Irish 2,000 Guineas fourth and fifth, Bravery (50/1) and Shogun (33/1).
Dauville connections hopeful
Alex Cole, racing manager for Fitri Hay, part-owner of Deauville (12/1), said: “The Dante was the only true trial for the Investec Derby. There was a Group Three winner third, the winner was unexposed, we were a Group Three winner in second and Midterm, the Derby favourite then, was back in fifth so we are hopeful.”
There are nine Irish-trained contenders still in with a chance of Derby glory. In addition to the Ballydyole contingent, Ireland’s hopes are the Jim Bolger trained Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial victor Moonlight Magic (10/1) and the Dermot Weld’s s Harzand, winner of the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes,
Besides O’Brien, Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful current trainer in the Investec Derby, with the latest of his five victories coming with Workforce in 2010. The master of Freemason Lodge has two chances of winning the race for a sixth time with eye-catching Newbury maiden winner Ulysses (6/1) and Lingfield Derby Trial third Across The Stars (25/1).
Guineas runner-up Massaat in the mix
Massaat (16/1) found only Galileo Gold too good in the opening Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and will be bidding to emulate recent winners New Approach (2008) and Sir Percy (2006), who both won the Investec Derby after finishing runner-up in the Newmarket mile Classic.
The other two colts going forward for the 2016 Derby are Algometer (25/1) and Biodynamic (66/1).
Coral’s David Stevens said: “With the trials failing to produce a standout Epsom contender, the market for this year’s Investec Derby remains wide open, and while Wings Of Desire and US Army Ranger are the current market leaders, it’s not hard to see either Cloth Of Stars or Ulysses shorten further this week, and we’ll let punters decide which horse will start favourite on Saturday.”