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2023 Epsom Derby Ante-Post Tips - Harrington's challenger worth siding with

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Last updated: 01 Jun 2023
jon-vine
Jon Vine 01 Jun 2023
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  • Ante-post guide to the 2023 Epsom Derby
  • This famous Classic takes place at Epsom on Saturday 3rd June
  • Sprewell is our best ante-post bet at 12/1
epsom derby
Epsom Derby. (Getty)

To avoid a clash with the FA Cup Final, the 2023 Epsom Derby will take place at 1:30pm on June 3rd. 20 colts currently feature in the entries for this famous Classic and the betting market is sure to change between now and the big race itself.

Here's our ante-post guide to the 2023 Epsom Derby, including our best betting tips.

2023 Epsom Derby Odds


Name
Odds
Military Order3/1
Auguste Rodin9/2
Arrest5/1
Passenger13/2
The Foxes8/1
White Birch12/1
Sprewell12/1
Bar14/1

2023 Epsom Derby Runners


Auguste Rodin's dismal performance in the 2000 Guineas blew the Epsom Derby betting wide open. All of the main Derby Trials have taken place since the first Classic of the season. Yet, only one horse has managed to jump ahead of Auguste Rodin - who, let's not forget, only beat two horses home at Newmarket and has never run over further than eight furlongs.

The new favourite is Military Order (3/1), a full brother to 2021 Derby king Adayar. Charlie Appleby's star earned his position at the head of the market with a hard-fought victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial, a race in which Adayar was beaten before going on to claim Epsom glory. Military Order has done nothing wrong and many would consider him to be a worthy favourite. Whether he'll still be the market leader on the day of the race is a subject for debate. You could well get a better price than 3/1 on the morning of the Derby.

Despite winning the Chester Vase by a wide margin, Frankie Dettori doesn't seem particularly excited at the prospect of riding Arrest in the Derby. John and Thady Gosden's contender looks like a big, cumbersome colt, who would want the ground at Epsom to be on the soft side, so the long-term weather forecast won't fill Frankie with too much hope.

The Dante has long been seen as the key trial for the Derby and the one most onlookers took out of that trial was Passenger, who'll need to be supplemented to run in this Classic. Sir Michael Stoute won last year's Derby with the twice-raced Desert Crown, who had shaped like a special horse on both of his starts. The identically-inexperienced Passenger hasn't displayed that same sort of wow factor and I don't fancy taking a single-figure price about a horse who wasn't even considered a Derby hope at the start of the season.

It's very hard to know what to make of the Dante form, as there were just over two lengths separating the first five finishers - two of which won't even be running at Epsom. The Foxes and White Birch fought out the finish and both deserve to take their chance alongside Passenger. Neither floats my boat at their current prices.

jessica harrington
Jessica Harrington has only had one Derby runner this century, a 150/1 outsider who finished ninth. (Getty)

2023 Epsom Derby Ante-Post Tips


The one I've landed on at this stage is SPREWELL (12/1), who's won both of his starts this season for Jessica Harrington.

Having been narrowly beaten on both of his juvenile outings, Sprewell got off the mark with a hard-fought victory over a mile at Naas. Shane Foley's mount then took in the Derby Trial at Leopardstown earlier this month, quickening up nicely at the two-furlong pole to put that race to bed.

Sprewell clearly took a huge stride forward between his first and second runs this term and I see no reason why he won't have improved again for that victory at Leopardstown. You can tie the form of that trial in with the Dante too, as Joseph O'Brien's Up And Under was only beaten half-a-length by White Birch in the Ballysax Stakes, but was comfortably beaten by three lengths behind Sprewell at Leopardstown.

Harrington's colt is by Churchill, who's progeny have excelled over a wide range of trips on all kinds of ground. Sprewell's dam - herself a Group One winner over a mile-and-a-quarter - has produced several good-quality middle-distance horses, so there's every chance that this step up to 12 furlongs could see Sprewell to best effect.

Verdict

In what's clearly not a vintage renewal of the Derby, Sprewell has certainly been underestimated at 12/1 and he'll be my ante-post selection.

2023 Epsom Derby Ante-Post Tips: Sprewell Each-Way @12/1 at QuinnBet - 10 Units
Sprewell
Each-Way
@12/1 - 10 Units
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