2024 Epsom Derby Betting Tips – Russian Emperor can reign supreme in premier Classic

Epsom Downs Betting Tips · Saturday, 04th Jul 2020 - 16:55

Royal Ascot winner could be pick of O’Brien sextet

Russian Emperor was strong at the finish when winning at Royal Ascot last time out, so looks worth a punt to take the step up in trip and grade for the 1m 4f Epsom Derby on Saturday (16:55).

One of six declared by Irish master trainer Aidan O’Brien, this Galileo colt has won two of his four starts. Russian Emperor has a progressive profile and finished third on debut behind Iberia at The Curragh.

That was his sole start s a juvenile, but he was half-a-length in front of recent Group 3 scorer Know It All. Russian Emperor broke his maiden tag when stepped up to a mile on reappearance and prevailing by a short-head at Naas.

He was far from disgraced on his first start in Group company when a half-length runner-up to Cormorant in the 1m 2f Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

Russian Emperor had to switch to the outside to get a run that day. He just couldn’t reach the winner, but the way he stayed on suggested further should suit.

That view was confirmed when Russian Emperor came with a late swoop and touched off First Receiver in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes last time out. Again, he finished off his race strongly.

The extra quarter-mile here holds no fears with Russian Emperor bred to get 1m 4f. Granted further improvement, he looks a value bet in a fascinating renewal of the Epsom Derby.

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English King favourite and heads dangers

This is the premier Classic, so dangers lurk throughout the field. Three in particular stand out, and English King heads the betting.

Trained by Ed Walker for Bjorn Nielsen who also owns Stradivarius, this son of Camelot has won two of his three starts. English King scored on his second start in an all-weather maiden over 1m 2f at Newcastle in November.

He has since made an effortless step up to Listed level by landing the Lingfield Derby Trial. That race produced last year’s Epsom Derby winner in Anthony Van Dyck.

The form also looks good as Berkshire Rocco, who chased English King home, filled the same spot behind subsequent Irish Derby hero Santiago in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

Connections also mean business as Frankie Dettori now takes the ride. The bookmakers fear him more than any other jockey, so English King is a shorter price than perhaps he should be as a result.

As with Russian Emperor, a step up is required from Listed level. It would be no surprise, however, to see English King make it.

Stamina doubts in Epsom Derby for Guineas scorer Kameko

Kameko tops official ratings in the 2024 Epsom Derby after Classic glory in the 2000 Guineas, but there are question marks over his stamina.

Trained by Andrew Balding for Qatar Racing, this Kitten’s Joy colt is a proven Group 1 performer. Kameko was a comfortable winner of the rearranged Vertem Futurity Trophy on his final start as a juvenile.

That straight mile contest usually held at Doncaster, but run at Newcastle last season is a good Classic trial. That again proved to be the case as Kameko prevailed on the Rowley Mile by a neck on reappearance.

The 2000 Guineas form has taken knocks since. Kameko only just won from Wichita and stepping up half-a-mile is a big unknown.

Connections want to find out if he stays that far. Although respected, it is easy to make a case against Kameko and so he is opposed too.

Mogul must make leap forward

While Russian Emperor won at Royal Ascot, one of the big O’Brien hopes Mogul disappointed. Sent off odds-on for the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes over the Epsom Derby trip, he could only finish fourth.

However, the noises out of Ballydoyle since are that he needed the run. They expect Mogul to come on for that return to action.

Another by Galileo in the line-up, he won the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes over a mile on Irish Champions Weekend last September.

Mogul comes to the Epsom Derby off two subsequent defeats. He was beaten almost four lengths into fourth in the Vertem Futurity and filled the same spot on reappearance.

In order to justify his price, Mogul must take a step forward. He is perfectly capable of that, with O’Brien mob-handed in the Epsom Derby and seeking a record eighth win in the premier British Classic.

Russian Emperor may just be a fractionally better option for punters here. However, it would be no surprise to see Mogul leave his reappearance behind him and improve again.

Plucky underdog Pyledriver an Epsom Derby each-way punt

Of the remainder, King Edward VII Stakes hero Pyledriver is worth his place in Classic company and one to consider each-way.

Trained by William Muir, this Harbour Watch colt isn’t a typical Epsom Derby contender. In a normal year, it’s unlikely that a horse of his profile would have been entered.

However, the usual barriers to underdogs are down now and Pyledriver has progressed this season already. A Listed winner over a mile at Haydock as a juvenile, he shaped very nicely on reappearance when runner-up to Berlin Tango.

That came in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton where Pyledriver stayed on into second but couldn’t reach the winner.

Berlin Tango has since run a fine race in defeat under a penalty when third in the Hampton Court behind Russian Emperor.

Pyledriver then defied odds of 18/1 at Royal Ascot and caused a major upset. He travelled strongly throughout under Martin Dwyer and progressed into midfield approaching three out.

By the two furlong marker, Pyledriver was in front and ran on well for a two-length victory over Arthur’s Kingdom. Re-opposing pair Mohican Heights and Mogul were in-behind him that day too.

On that basis, it doesn’t make sense that Pyledriver is twice the price of the latter. If he were trained by someone more fashionable and not from a modest stable, then he would have shorter odds.

The bookies have underestimated Pyledriver before, so that makes him an interesting each-way angle. He can hit the frame again with some firms paying extra places on a terrific Epsom Derby.

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