All eyes will be on Epsom on Saturday afternoon for the Derby – one of the most eagerly anticipated Classics of the Flat racing calendar in the UK.
This year sees 17 runners set to head to post, and we’ve taken a closer look at them all in our 2022 Epsom Derby Preview.
Changingoftheguard represents Aidan O’Brien, the leading trainer in the Epsom Derby, and he arrives here on the back of success in the Chester Vase at the start of May.
He bullied the small field that day though and will struggle to do the same in this large field and has to improve once more.
Desert Crown has only raced twice, but he’s been ultra-impressive on both starts, seeing out his races well. Including when blowing the field away in the Dante at York.
He looks full of power and potential and looks like a top-class horse in the making – he’s a worthy favourite.
El Habeeb was a no show in his only race to date when he was 5th of six runners in a Listed contest at Newmarket and looks entirely out of his depth in this race.
Glory Daze ran a huge race when 2nd behind Stone Age in the Derrinstown at Leopardstown last month but was still well held – it would be a massive shock if he were to be in the mix here.
Grand Alliance has punched above his weight this year, including when 2nd in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom back in April.
He’s been put away since that race, but it would be a surprise to see him feature in the finish in this race, especially when he’s bred more for speed – he could feature early but expect him to fall away up the straight.
Hoo Ya Mal
Hoo Ya Mal has won just once in his five starts and has struggled in three Pattern races, so it’s hard to see him landing a race of this quality.
Trained by Archie Watson, Masekela isn’t bred for the Derby trip but has shown glimpses of what he can do when 2nd in the Fielden Stakes.
It’s a big if whether he’ll stay, but he could run a big race at a massive price if he does.
The Godolphin-owned Nahanni booked his Derby slot when landing the Blue Riband Trial, but it’s hard to see him living with a field of this quality.
If he is to land a Classic – it could well be the St Leger later in the year.
Another owned by Godolphin, connections have payed out £75k to supplement Nations Pride for the Derby, and he looks a false price on what he’s shown so far.
He could grab a place, but he has work to do to match Desert Crown.
Trained in Ireland by Donnacha O’Brien, Piz Badile has been impressive in his three runs to date, including landing the Ballysax at Leopardstown in April.
Frankie Dettori takes the ride, and if he stays, he looks an excellent each-way bet in this field.
As is usual for a horse trained by the Johnston’s, Royal Patronage has been kept busy and landed the Royal Lodge last year.
He was 2nd behind Desert Crown in the Dante, and it’s hard to see how he can overturn that form being so exposed already.
Sonny Liston has looked green in his last two runs and failed to trouble Star Of India last time out at Chester.
It’s hard to see him settling well in a field this large, and he looks one to swerve for now.
Star Of India
Star Of India landed the Dee Stakes but still has questions to answer.
However, you only have to look at who the trainer is, who his sire is, and note that the Ballydoyle second – or third – strings have won the Derby in three of the last five years – could it happen again?
Stone Age is another for Aidan O’Brien and is the choice of Ryan Moore, although some may say that means little based on recent years.
However, he’s been imposing in his two races this season and will undoubtedly be in the mix as they head for home.
Walk Of Stars
Walk Of Stars is another representative for Godolphin and ran 2nd in Lingfield’s Derby Trial.
With his strong-galloping style, Epsom should play to his strengths, and he looks overpriced currently – has a definite each-way shout.
Westover had to dig deep when landing Sandown’s Classic Trial, but it was a small field that day, and the hustle and bustle of a Derby should suit him better.
Can he improve to take the race, though, is another question, and it’s unlikely.
West Wind Blows
West Wind Blows is two from two in his career, but connections have had him earmarked for the Derby for many months despite them being novice contests.
The best horse he’s beaten so far is rated just 92, though, so he needs to have plenty up his sleeve to land this race.