Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Can’t see past Camelot holding court in Derby

Aidan O'Brien hasn't won the Derby in 10 years and then it was with his second string High Chaparral who upset a major plunge on Hawk Wing who was second in the 2000 Guineas.

Could history repeat itself in that Camelot, seen by most pundits as past the post, be outdone by one of O'Brien's four lesser lights such as Imperial Monarch, winner of the Sandown Trial and unbeaten in two outings; impressive Chester winner Astrology; Tower Walk or Father of Science, a half-brother to High Chaparral?

The answer has to be no. High Chaparral was top, winning 10 of his 13 races which apart from Epsom success, also included the Irish Derby, a Breeders' Cup and the Irish Champions Stakes.

Apart from Camelot, the other O'Brien runners don't have that sort of potential, so it's Camelot (pictured, ridden by Joseph O’Brien) or nothing for Coolmore.

And such is the 2000 Guineas winner's dominance in the market — he'll go off odds-on — firms have a 'betting without' market.

Unbeaten Camelot has always been seen as more of a Derby horse which means his Newmarket triumph came as a bonus and the manner of his victory from well off the pace, makes him tailor made for Epsom's mile and a half.

Key trends over the last 15 years show that 12 of those winners won their previous race while the other three finished second.

The top four in the betting have produced the last 13 Derby heroes and it should be no different this time. Hence, it's foolhardy to look beyond the favourite. Paddy Power go 4/5 that Camelot starts between 4/6 and 4/7 and that looks more than likely as he continues to harden and is currently 8/13 in places.

No horse has won the Derby at odds-on since Shergar back in 1981, all the other three, Tenby, El Gran Senor and Entrepreneur meeting their Waterloo. Camelot can surely bridge that 31-year gap.

Hayley Turner should not be dismissed for a place on Cavaleiro in the 'without' market for which he's 33/1. Trainer Marcus Tregonning is very bullish about his chances but the one who catches the eye is Main Sequence (13/2) for trainer David Lanigan. This one took the Lingfield Derby Trial finishing well ahead of Cavaleiro and will have no problem with the track or distance.

It promises to be a memorable weekend for O'Brien as he has Oaks favourite Maybe (5/2) and Kissed (5/1) at the top of the market for Friday's race while St Nicholas Abbey will be ripe for a repeat bid in the Coronation Cup on Derby day and remove the embarrassment of a shock defeat behind stable companion Windsor Palace at the Curragh.

What will Camelot's starting price be? 8/15 or shorter 4/1; 4/7-4/6 4/5; 8/11-4/5 2-1; 5/6-evens 8/1; Greater than evens 20/1.

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