Matt Chapman | Epsom Derby, Saturday, 4pm
Dawn Approach is easily the most likely winner of the 2013 Investec Derby. He’s unbeaten, he’s a Classic winner (2,000 Guineas) and trainer Jim Bolger is full of confidence. That will be enough for most. But it’s not enough for me.
You see, Paddy wants us to take a very short price about a horse whose stamina is unproven, and I can’t bring myself to do that. You hear me Paddy? If Dawn Approach was a 5-2 shot I would be lumping on, but at the odds I can’t bring myself to do it. I simply feel in a week of racing I can find a more likely victor at similar odds – in other words at the very least a horse who has already run over the distance it is being asked to go over again.
Not convinced by Battle of Marengo
Dawn Approach is one of four unbeaten horses in the Derby – that’s exciting in itself. I have long been a big fan of Battle of Marengo, but I am becoming less and less convinced by him as the big day closes in, and I am also not sure of the Green Desert influence on the dam. He might just not stay as far as some feel.
Ruler of the World looked good in the Chester Vase, but the second was beaten a long way at Newmarket afterwards, while not a lot has come out of his maiden success.
It’s hard to believe the Dante winner Libertarian is good enough on the back of that hard fought success, while Mars lacks experience for a Derby and has plenty of ground to make up on the favourite from the 2,000 Guineas.
I can’t believe Chopin is good enough, although he was a fine Polish composer, while of the others Galileo Rock may be too slow.
The value tip for Derby is Ocovango
So at the prices, I am convinced the best value in the race rests with the Andre Fabre-trained Ocovango. He’s going to stay all day, and any juice in the ground will be ideal. Fabre has used the ‘Pour Moi’ route with Ocovango, and while he hardly ran away with the Prix Greffulhe, he won it much more easily than a distance of half a length suggests.
Fabre (pictured above) is one of the shrewdest Flat trainers of all time – the master European Flat trainer. If he thinks Ocovango is worthy of a place in the line-up then he must be the value against a favourite in Dawn Approach whose odds are simply too short to make him a sexy betting proposition.
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