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Epsom Derby: Four value alternatives to Saxon Warrior

The Epsom Derby odds have Saxon Warrior as a hot favourite to give Aidan O'Brien a record-equalling seventh success in the race, but we're looking at where the value lies in betting against him.

The 2,000 Guineas hero will be a tough nut to crack after staying on strongly for Classic glory at Newmarket, when extending his unbeaten record to four straight wins.

However, Epsom's unique twists, turns and undulations will present a whole new set of problems to test the market leader and many punters will prefer to oppose him with better-priced contenders.

O'Brien struck last year with 40/1 outsider Wings Of Eagles, while 2013 hero Ruler Of The World was the stable's second string, so any other Ballydoyle representatives have to be respected.

And here's our Epsom Derby betting tips on where the main dangers lie from other stables:

Roaring Lion

Trainer: John Gosden

Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Form figures: 1112-351

Was only beaten a neck by Saxon Warrior in last season's Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and plugged on well enough when fifth in the Guineas behind the same rival.

Set tongues wagging with an emphatic victory in the Dante Stakes at York and 10 past winners of that trial have gone on to land British Flat racing's blue riband event.

Jockey Oisin Murphy told Racing UK: "His run in the Dante was very impressive. He is a very well-balanced horse and I think he should go round Epsom no problem.

"The Derby will be a stronger race and nobody knows if he will stay 12 furlongs, but personally I think there is every chance he will."

Chances: Galloped all the way to the line at York and connections appear confident he has matured mentally and physically since the Guineas.


Trainer: Dermot Weld

Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Form figures: 713-1

Sprang a 16/1 surprise in Leopardstown's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and has been well backed to follow up here since Dettori was booked to ride him.

The son of Shamardal is related to Harzand, Weld's first winner of the Derby two years ago, and the vibes are that he is expected to prove that seasonal reappearance was no fluke.

"Hazapour is in great form," declared Irish handler Weld. "Frankie came and rode him on Tuesday and I'm glad to say he was very pleased with him.

"He's an idle horse, a lazy colt, but Frankie was satisfied with him and said he was a very balanced individual."

Chances: Owner-breeder the Aga Khan has found this race a happy hunting ground ever since Shergar's 1981 triumph and this improving type could give him a sixth success.

Young Rascal

Trainer: William Haggas

Jockey: James Doyle

Form figures: 2-11

Came with a lovely, smooth run to land the Chester Vase ahead of Dee Ex Bee and his trainer Haggas does not just run horses in this race for fun.

The Newmarket handler took top honours with Shaamit back in 1996 and was third with Storm The Stars in 2015, saddling only one other entry in between.

With this son of Intello owned by Bernard Kantor, managing director of race sponsor Investec, the timing is perfect for another tilt at Epsom Classic glory.

"Bernard has been a very good friend for a long time," said Haggas. "I've trained for him for 22 years and to be able to produce a horse in top shape on Derby day for him would be very special for me."

Chances: Still has to improve again on the formbook but was visually impressive at Chester and looks the type to reward each-way Derby bets.


Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Jockey: William Buick

Form figures: 13136-013

This battle-hardened Godolphin colt was sent off favourite for the Guineas on the back of a nine-length victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

He was far from disgraced when third to Saxon Warrior in that Classic and jockey Buick is convinced the son of 2008 winner New Approach will stay further.

"He ran lovely in the Guineas and he should stay," said Buick. "He ran like he will definitely get further than a mile.

"Masar has had plenty of racing experience, has the balance and a really good attitude. He should relax nicely and we are very positive about him."

Chances: Won't be adversely affected by any late rain at Epsom and this likeable sort shouldn't be ruled out.

Stuart Walker
@BetStars in Horse Racing