It’s the most prestigious Flat race of the season and Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot is set to be crowned king in the Epsom Derby according to Ruby Walsh’s online betting preview on the Paddy Paddy Blog.
A quarter of a million people will throng the Epsom Downs on Saturday afternoon to see if this season’s Newmarket 2,000 Guineas winner can land his second English Classic of the season and Aidan O’Brien’s fourth after Power’s win in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh last weekend.
And Paddy Power’s expert witness Ruby Walsh is in no doubt that he’s tipped the best horse in the race by a mile.
“Camelot will be very hard to beat,” Ruby told the Paddy Power Blog team. “The rest don’t look up to his standard.
“Normally a derby horse sticks out at you. Camelot has stuck out since winning the Racing Post Trophy impressively last year, the Newmarket Guineas impressively this year.
“The second favourite Bonfire had a hard race in the Dante Stakes atYork last time out but that trial has a habit of throwing up the Derby winner.”
The last odds on shot to win the Derby was Shergar (10/11f) in 1981 who won by 10 lengths when ridden by Walter Swinburn and trained by Sir Michael Stoute before his infamous kidnapping in 1983.
Since Shergar set the biggest winning margin in the Derby ever, three odds-on favourites including El Gran Senor (1984), Tenby (1993) and Entrepreneur (1997) were all beaten.
Smaller the field, greater the chance
And with Camelot set to take on the smallest Derby field (9) in 105 years, Walsh believes this gives him an even better shout.
“Theoretically a small field should make it an easier race to ride in, Ruby said. “I don’t think Joseph (O’Brien) will have any traffic problems.”
And on whether both highly-strung Camelot and Bonfire will handle the preliminaries: “That’s what makes a champion.”
“Camelot looks to be tailor-made for 1m 4f and I’d love to be lucky enough to be riding him.”
Walsh reckons O’Brien’s other Ballydoyle runner Astrology has to improve on form and doesn’t really have a Derby winner’s pedigree.
“Main Sequence looks like he’ll go well and would be shorter in the betting if he was trained by Henry Cecil rather than being David Lanigan’s first Derby runner.
“Mickdaam didn’t stand out on his Chester Vase win so for me it has to be Camelot all the way.”
Asked about his likely starting price on the day given Paddy Power’s betting without Camelot market, Walsh wouldn’t be too surprised if the O’Brien colt started even-money favourite on the day.
“There could be a quarter of a million people there next Saturday and not all of them want to back an odds-on shot so he could drift,” Walsh said.
“Whatever his odds, I still think he’ll win.”