After a shift to July last year, the 2021 renewals of the Epsom Derby & Oaks are back to their traditional early June berth.
Two of British horse racing’s most sought-after prizes are up for grabs across Friday and Saturday after the Derby and Oaks were held on the same day behind closed doors last year.
Fans are also finally back in attendance for 2021, with 4,000 racegoers a day expected to flock to the famous Surrey racecourse.
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Epsom Derby & Oaks Betting Preview
Epsom Oaks Tips – Friday, 16:30
Will Santa Barbara bring the sunshine to Surrey?
She starts as a 9/4 shot to land Aidan O’Brien a ninth Oaks success on Friday afternoon as she bids to make up for a middling run in the 1,000 Guineas when heading off as 5/2 joint-favourite. Ryan Moore will be praying for a smoother ride over this longer trip as the pair team up again at Epsom.
The Ballydoyle yard have been eyeing her for a crack at this Classic for some time and will hope that Newmarket misfire was only a minor blip as she bids to recapture the eye-catching form that saw her storm to a 2 1/2L win on debut at the Curragh.
In terms of the each-way betting, Saffron Beach could add some real spice after being the bridesmaid in her last few outings. She’s formed a progressive partnership with Adam Kirby since last autumn and wasn’t too far away from landing a Classic when just 1L behind Mother Earth in the 1,000 Guineas last month.
This is a significant step up in trip given she’s never run over a mile, but that’s a question also hanging over several of her rivals in this race.
At 10/1 she could be the value here if any of the front-runners falter.
Epsom Derby Tips – Saturday, 16:30
Will anyone stop Bolshoi Ballet dancing his way to victory in Saturday’s feature race?
While the Oaks looks a fairly open affair, Aidan O’Brien’s majestic three-year-old looks to be the one to beat in the Derby after two thumping wins at Leopardstown this spring. Already a natural at 1m2f, he looks equipped to comfortably manage the step up in trip here and looks one of Ryan Moore’s strongest chances of finally landing his hat-trick of wins in this race.
Bolshoi’s blistering form has injected some value in this market, however. If the overwhelming favourite fails to fire, John Leeper looks the most intriguing of the challengers for Ed Dunlop.
Success for John Leeper would be the feelgood story of the Derby Festival weekend, given the horse is named after Dunlop’s late father, but sentiment aside, he has the recent form to suggest he could pull off a surprise here. Back-to-back wins at Newcastle and Newmarket suggest Dunlop can be quietly confident of his three-year-old entering the reckoning on Saturday afternoon.
Derby Tips | Win & Each-Way