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Epsom Derby Stats - Is the Guineas still the best trial?

jon-vine
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Last updated: 14 May 2024
jon-vine
Jon Vine 14 May 2024
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  • Key statistics for the Epsom Derby
  • We wanted to know what the best lead-up race is for this famous Classic
  • The 2000 Guineas and the Dante Stakes come out on top of the statistics
epsom derby
The Epsom Derby. (Getty)

After outsiders won both of the first two Classics of the 2024 season, punters are looking for any edge possible heading into the Derby and Oaks at Epsom.

Despite flopping in the 2000 Guineas, City Of Troy remains one of the fancied horses in the betting for this year's Epsom Derby, but is the Guineas still the best lead-up race for Epsom contenders? We've taken a look at the last ten winners and placed horses to come up with an answer.

Epsom Derby Statistics - Lead-Up Races (Winners)


Race
Score
2000 Guineas (Newmarket) 3
Dante Stakes (York) 2
Lingfield Derby Trial 2
Champion Juvenile (Leopardstown) 2
Breeders Cup Juvenile 2
Sandown Classic Trial 1
Chester Vase (Chester) 1
Craven Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Ballysax Stakes (Leopardstown) 1
Feilden Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Futurity Trophy (Doncaster) 1
Dewhurst Stakes (Newmarket) 1
National Stakes (Curragh) 1
Zetland Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Meydan Listed Race 1
Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Longchamp) 1
Criterium de Saint-Cloud  1

The 2000 Guineas comes out of the analysis as the best trial for the Epsom Derby, with three of the past ten winners striking at Epsom having run in that Classic at Newmarket. The Dante Stakes at York and Lingfield's Derby Trial have produced two winners, as have the Champion Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Incredibly, six of the last ten winners of the Derby had run in a maiden in at least one of their previous three starts. 2020 winner, Serpentine triumphed at Epsom on the back of a maiden win at the Curragh. Serpentine is also the only unrated winner in the last ten Derby's, with the other nine all carrying a mark of at least 107 into the second colt's Classic of the season.

Last year's champion, Auguste Rodin (12th in the 2000 Guineas) is the only winner in the last ten years who didn't finish first, second or third on their most recent start. Only one of the last ten winners was drawn lower than stall seven, and that was 2021 winner Adayar, who triumphed from gate one, known as the "coffin stall".

Three favourites have won the Epsom Derby in the past decade. We've also seen two winners return an SP of 16/1, a 25/1 winner and 40/1 outsider, Wings Of Eagles score in that timeframe.

Epsom Derby Statistics - Lead-Up Races (Winners and Placers)


Race
Score
Dante Stakes (York) 7
2000 Guineas (Newmarket) 6
Chester Vase (Chester) 5
Futurity Trophy (Doncaster) 4
Craven Stakes (Newmarket) 3
Ballysax Stakes (Leopardstown) 3
Champion Juvenile (Leopardstown) 3
Lingfield Derby Trial 2
Sandown Classic Trial 2
Cocked Hat Stakes (Goodwood) 2
Blue Ribband Trial (Epsom) 2
Zetland Stakes (Newmarket) 2
Criterium de Saint-Cloud  2
Breeders Cup Juvenile 2
Dee Stakes (Chester) 1
Newmarket Stakes 1
Derrinstown Stud Stakes (Leopardstown) 1
Feilden Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial 1
Dewhurst Stakes (Newmarket) 1
National Stakes (Curragh) 1
Tankard Stakes (Leopardstown) 1
Beresford Stakes (Curragh) 1
Royal Lodge Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Autumn Stakes (Newmarket) 1
Meydan Listed Race 1
Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Longchamp) 1

When it comes to top three placers in the Epsom Derby, the Dante Stakes jumps ahead of the 2000 Guineas in the standings. Seven horses have gone from the Dante to secure a podium finish at Epsom, compared to six from the Guineas at Newmarket.

The Chester Vase sits third in the list with a score of five, ahead of the best juvenile trial for the Derby, the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster. Both the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and the Craven Stakes at Newmarket achieved a score of 3.

20 of the 30 horses analysed ran in a maiden or a conditions race within their previous three starts, proving that horses improve quickly at this time of year. However, only three of the 30 Epsom Derby placers didn't run at least once as a juvenile, so two-year-old experience is still important.

Only four top-three placers in the last ten renewals of the Epsom Derby were rated lower than 105. Three of the four came in the 2020 renewal, as Serpentine beat 99-rated Khalifa Sat and unrated stablemate Amhran Na Bhfiann. The other was last year's second King Of Steel - rated just 101 after two juvenile starts - whose also the only horse to finish in the first three in the Epsom Derby on his first three-year-old start.

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