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Narrow the Field: An each-way Derby double to set up Saturday night

by Sean Goff | June 26, 2015

A double Derby weekend in the broadest sense with the Pitmen’s Derby cavalry charge oop north at Newcastle preceding the more genteel Group One eight-runner Irish Derby at the Curragh.

But a winner’s a winner though, right?

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We’ve got the Venn Diagrams out again to try and Narrow the Field and as always, inside the box is all good while outside is mostly good but just needs to step up a bit to be worthy of some Shabani the Gorilla adulation.

Northumberland Plate, Newcastle 3.45pm

Just the 22 runners in the Pitmen’s Derby before Newcastle gets ready for a Caitlyn Jenner-style transformation to make it an all-weather track next season.

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The lightly-raced Seamour (6 runs) headed the ante-post market after a smooth win at Haydock last month but got the coffin-box draw (stall 22) on Thursday and will need luck in running to go with his obvious talent.

Plenty of these (Totalize, Nearly Caught, Suegioo and Rite to Reign) were close-up behind him that day and could easily make up the ground if he gets stranded out Sunderland direction from his wide draw.

Roger Charlton’s Quest for More is on the up and races off 104 after winning a 2m Ascot handicap last October (off 87) and followed up a Newmarket second by winning at 1m 6f at Goodwood last time. He’s going in the right direction but only Tominator & Ile de Rey have lumped 9-3 or more to victory in the past decade.

Richard Fahey must really, really, really want to win this again and throws his three Gabrial’s at the board. Last year’s winner Angel Gabrial ticks all the boxes in the Venn Diagram but horses rarely go back-to-back here, though Tominator did regain his crown in 2013 after a 2011 win.

Only two lengths separated Gabrial’s King and Gabrial’s Star when they finished fourth and fifth in the Chester Cup – and they rarely run a bad race in these staying contests. The worry about Gabrial’s Star is that he’s held up more than your local off-licence and unless the gaps appear at the right time he’ll have to pass every taxi in the queue to get his head in front.

Although it’s hard to say GABRIAL’S KING is well handicapped it’s not hard to say he faced an impossible task trying to beat Trip to Paris (twice) at near level weights given that one went on to win the Chester Cup and then the Group One Ascot Gold Cup.

If he runs to that level he should see him bang there in a race where Paddy is paying the first five home each-way.

Former Irish Cesarewitch winner Montefeltro could be a dark horse at double-digit odds for the places as could Swnymor although the draw and fast ground has done him no favours.

Selection: GABRIAL’S KING      Alternative Montefeltro (each-way)

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Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather halted Ballydoyle’s dominance last year after Aidan O’Brien’s seven consecutive wins – but the Tipperary handler is back for more.

O’Brien saddles four of the eight runners including his home-bred filly Qualify who won the Epsom Oaks as an unconsidered 50/1 shot while ‘the best-jockey-in-the-world right-now’ Ryan Moore has opted for Coolmore’s French Derby second Highland Reel ahead of Epsom fourth Giovanni Canaletto and the sixth-place Kilimanjaro.

William Haggas’s Storm the Stars gives contest a bit more depth as he was a couple of lengths off Jack Hobbs at Epsom when finishing ahead of the Ballydoyle challenge there.

Highest rated

But 1m 4f around Epsom’s cambers is different gravy to the Curragh and they’ll still all have to go some to make ground on Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs. John Gosden’s raider is officially the highest rated runner in the race on 119 with Qualify and Highland Reel next best at 114.

There’s enough competition this year to ensure this isn’t a Ballydoyle benefit (although they could still win it). If you don’t fancy the obvious odds-on fav Jack Hobbs then Qualify could still be underestimated and the each-way play at double-digit odds.

Selection: JACK HOBBS      Qualify (each-way)




Narrow the Field
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