Epsom Derby System

The Epsom Derby System

The Epsom Derby is one of the oldest and one of the most famous races in the world and the top Group 1 Classic race in the English calender

The story of this race originates as a celebration following the first running of the Oaks Stakes in 1779. A new race was planned, and it was decided that it should be named after the host of the party, the 12th Earl of Derby.

The first race was run on Thursday 4 May 1780 and was won by Diomed, a colt owned by Sir Charles Bunbury, who collected prize money of £1,065 15s, quite a haul in those days. The first four runs were run over 1 mile, but this was amended to the current distance of 1 mile 4 furlongs in 1784.

The Derby is a Group 1 Classic and sits in between the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger as one of the classics open to 3 year old colts. To win all 3 races is to win the Triple Crown and this is a feat not often achieved, the last winner being Nijinsky in 1970.

Unlike the other most famous English race, the Grand National, the Derby is a flat race run usually with between 8 and 14 runners and the winner usually goes on to contend the Prix de l’Arc d’Triomphe in Paris. That is unless they have already won the 2000 Guineas in which they may, like the 2012 contender Camelot, try for the Triple Crown by racing in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Picking a Derby winner is not always an easy task although in many years there has been a clear cut favourite with odds under 3/1 such as the 8/13 odds on winner Camelot in 2012 or the Queen’s losing 5/2 favourite Carlton House in 2011.

However if you look at the Derby statistics there have been winners with prices regularly over 5/1 including a run of 5 years between 1995 and 2000 in which all the winners had starting prices between 6/1 and 20/1.

The highest priced winner in recent years was Snow Knight in 1974 at 50/1 which followed the previous years winner, Morston at a price of 25/1.

However there are some key statistics which are worth following when picking a horse for the Derby.

In recent years the winners of 2 year old races such as the Dewherst Stakes at Newmarket or the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster have fared well in their 3rd year with 5 out of the last 10 winners having won either one of these races. If they then start their 3rd year by winning the 2000 Guineas then they should be looked at very closely for the Derby.

Key statistics that should help narrow down your selection include:

  • Only 15 out of the last 42 races have been won by the favourite.
  • 10 out of 10 – won over at least 7 furlongs as a two-year-old.
  • 10 out of 10 – made their debut at a Group 1 track.
  • 9 out of 10 – had a pre Derby Racing Post rating of at least 119.
  • 9 out of 10 – had between 3 and 7 career runs.
  • 9 out of 10 – recorded their best Racing Post rating in their preceding race.
  • 8 out of 10 – have had at least 2 juvenile runs.
  • 7 out of 10 – achieved a Racing Post rating as a juvenile of at least 112.
  • 7 out of 10 – won their last race.
  • 7 out of 10 – were unbeaten since winning their debut.
  • 6 out of 10 – won over at least 1m 2f at three years old.

Unlike the Grand National this is not a “pick n mix” race where a number of bets can be placed due to the high prices of all the runners including the favourite. Therefore you should spend some time analysing the stats when picking your next Derby contender and just blindly following the favourite is not a profitable system in this English Group 1 Classic.

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