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2023 Classic Tips – Ante-post look at the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger

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Last updated: 28 Mar 2023
jon-vine
Jon Vine 28 Mar 2023
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  • Ante-post tips for the three British Classics for colts
  • The betting has opened for the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger in 2023
  • Auguste Rodin, Epictetus and Imperial Emperor feature in our ante-post tips
Classic Tips 2000 Guineas Epsom Derby St Leger
Ryan Moore riding Auguste Rodin win The Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster. (Getty)

Doncaster will officially get the new flat racing season underway this weekend, and racing fans are already looking forward to the 2023 Classics.

In last year's ante-post look at the colts Classics, we highlighted Desert Crown, plus a couple of other Group One winners in Luxembourg and Bayside Boy. Here's our early look at the 2023 renewals of the 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby and an ante-post selection for the St Leger.

2023 2000 Guineas Odds


Name
Odds
Auguste Rodin7/2
Little Big Bear4/1
Chaldean7/1
Noble Style8/1
Sakheer8/1
Nostrum10/1
Bar12/1

2023 2000 Guineas Tips


The obvious place to start when looking for this year's 2000 Guineas winner is AUGUSTE RODIN

During his pre-season stable tour, Aidan O'Brien waxed lyrical about his Vertem Futurity winner, claiming he could be set for an ambitious tilt at the Triple Crown in 2023. I'm sure we'll find out whether Auguste Rodin can see out the Derby trip later in the season, but O'Brien's star is already a proven Group One winner over the Guineas trip and he's clearly done well over the winter. 4/1 could turn out to be an excellent price.

Charlie Appleby holds a handful of interesting 2000 Guineas entries, including Noble Style and Mysterious Knight. Despite doing very little wrong last season, SILVER KNOTT can currently be backed at 20/1 - a price that surely won't be available if he's confirmed in the field.

Appleby's star won the Autumn Stakes on the Rowley Mile last season, before losing out by just a nose to Victoria Road in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Silver Knott only ran poorly once last term, with that run coming on soft ground and conditions will be much more suitable on the first Saturday in May.

Simon and Ed Crisford look set for another fantastic season in 2023 and KNIGHT could develop into a flagbearer for the yard. 

A full sibling to the classy Malavath, Knight won both of his starts as a juvenile, powering to victory in the Horris Hill Stakes on testing ground last October. The Crisford's decided to skip the major autumn festivals in preparation for the 2000 Guineas and Knight could be a big player in this season's first Classic.

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Silver Knott (left) beating Epictetus (right) in the Autumn Stakes. (Getty)

2023 Epsom Derby Odds


Name
Odds
Auguste Rodin11/4
Chaldean16/1
Alexandroupolis16/1
Imperial Emperor16/1
Al Riffa20/1
Flying Honours20/1
Bar25/1

2023 Epsom Derby Tips


At this stage, the runner I like most for the 2023 Epsom Derby is EPICTETUS. John and Thady Gosden's star ran out an impressive winner on debut at the July Meeting, and went on to run excellent races in both the Autumn Stakes and the Vertem Futurity Trophy.

Epictetus looked like a raw, shell of a horse last season and was bound to be better as a three-year-old. By Kingman and out of a Group One winning mare in Thistle Bird, I expect Epictetus to go right to the top of the middle-distance ranks during 2023.

Despite a measly field of just four runners, I'm keen to follow the form of last season's Royal Lodge Stakes. THE FOXES came away from Newmarket with the victory, beating Dubai Mile - who went on to boost that form by winning the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud - and another future pattern-race winner in Flying Honours.

That win rounded off a progressive juvenile campaign for The Foxes who, given his breeding, was always going to be better when stepped up in distance as a three-year-old. Andrew Balding would dearly love to win the Epsom Derby and, in The Foxes, he looks to have a live contender this season.

The last of the four finishers in that Royal Lodge Stakes was Aidan O'Brien's GREENLAND. Ryan Moore's mount was just starting to mount a challenge at Newmarket when he was checked by the meandering Dubai Mile coming out of the dip, which seemed to scupper some of his momentum.

Like Epictetus, Greenland looked like he had plenty of filling out to do last season, so the results he managed to achieve need to be marked up. This son of Saxon Warrior is bound to improve when stepped up in trip and Greenland could leave his current odds of 50/1 behind in the build-up to this year's Derby.

2023 St Leger Odds


Name
Odds
Auguste Rodin7/1
Flying Honours12/1
Alexandrouplois12/1
Imperial Emperor14/1
Denmark14/1
Bar16/1

2023 St Leger Tips


It's extremely difficult to pick out St Leger contenders at this stage of the season. Plenty of horses will throw their hats into the ring during the course of the season and many who sit prominently in the current betting will be taken down different paths.

That being said, I fancy Charlie Appleby will have the Leger in mind for IMPERIAL EMPEROR, who can be backed at 14/1. William Buick's mount bolted up on his sole juvenile start at Newmarket in October and this son of Dubawi is bred to improve massively when stepped up to middle distances this season. Appleby's St Leger winner, Hurricane Lane and last season's beaten favourite, New London both only ran once at two, so Imperial Emporer fits the profile that Appleby looks for when looking for his St Leger horse.

Verdict

Auguste Rodin will start out in the 2000 Guineas and 4/1 could look massive on the day of the race.

I'm a huge fan of Epictetus and I'm hoping he'll progress into a genuine Derby contender in 2022.

Charlie Appleby has targetted the St Leger in recent seasons and Imperial Emperor is bred for that sort of test.

2023 2000 Guineas Tips: Auguste Rodin Straight Win @7/2 at bet365 - 15 Units
2023 Epsom Derby Tips: Epictetus Each-Way @25/1 at QuinnBet - 10 Units
2023 St Leger Tips: Imperial Emperor Each-Way @14/1 at Unibet - 10 Units
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