Military March setback shakes up Epsom Derby betting

Military March, one of the leading Epsom Derby betting contenders, has been ruled out of the 1m 4f Classic by trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The Godolphin owned New Approach colt suffered a setback, according to his handler.

Only Kameko and English King, who gets Frankie Dettori in the saddle on 4 July, were shorter prices in the market. This is a further blow for the leading global owners with one of their Classic horses.

Pinatubo was Godolphin’s major hope of landing the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but only came third to Kameko. Military March stayed on behind his owner companion into fourth on the Rowley Mile, but won’t go to Epsom now.

His trainer is not too downbeat, however. “Military March has had a setback, but it’s not a major ptoblem,” Bin Surror said.

“It was something that happened a few days ago, so we were monitoring that. He will miss The Derby and we will give him a bit of a break now.

“We will give him plenty of time and hopefully he will be back racing later in the season. He is going to come back at the end of September for an autumn campaign.”

Analysis: Epsom Derby betting tilts towards Irish without Military March

Jamie Clark, Editor

There’s an old saying in horse racing: fourth in the Guineas, first in The Derby. Well not this year! Military March always looked like the best Godolphin prospect for the premier Classic.

The beneficiary of his Epsom absence isn’t any other British runner as such. Of course, the bookmakers shortened Kameko up after the news broke but English King was already favourite and attracting support since Dettori’s booking.

Bookies instead have cut the Aidan O’Brien contingent heading over from Ireland. There was rare clarity out of Ballydoyle earlier on Thursday when their Epsom Derby hopefuls were revealed.

It will come as no surprise to more seasoned punters that these included Royal Ascot winner Russian Emperor. He is now as short as 6/1 to build on his Hampton Court Stakes success on Epsom Downs.

Fast-finishing Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up Vatican City sees double figure odds drying up here too. Mogul was seen by shrewd observers as potentially the best O’Brien hope for The Derby.

Despite not running up to market expectations when only fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, some punters are keeping faith. Mogul too is more like an 8/1 shot in the ever evolving Epsom Derby betting.

Haydock winner Highest Ground is next in the market behind these. The Coolmore set who are the main backers of O’Brien have an interesting French trained contender, but it may be the Prix du Jockey Club for Ocean Atlantique.

My plucky underdog Pylderiver comes out third best of the British contenders with some bookmakers. The only thing that’s for certain is the ante post Epsom Derby betting becomes clearer with five-day decs out on Monday.

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