Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
Runners for the 2020 Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday July 4 will be revealed on Thursday July 2.
Entries for the 12 furlong, Group 1 contest – which this year will be run ‘behind closed doors’ and carry prize money of £500,000 – will be made on Monday June 29, with the final field announced three days later.
The Ed Walker-trained English King (5-2) heads the betting from Andrew Balding’s Kameko (7-2) and Aiden O’Brien trio Russian Empire (13-2) Mogul (7-1) and Vatican City (7-1).
English King impressed with the manner of his victory in the Listed Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield Park on June 5 under Tom Marquand, but will be ridden at Epsom by Frankie Dettori who won the Derby on Motivator (2005) and Golden Horn (2015).
Kameko won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and now seeks to emulate Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012), who are the only QIPCO 2000 Guineas winners in the last 30 years to double up in the Investec Derby.
Balding said: “The whole thing about Derby Day is not just the examination of a horse created by the track and the idiosyncrasies provided by Epsom Downs, but also the atmosphere. It is a test like no other and it is sad that there will be no crowds there this year. It is what it is, and the absence of a crowd should not be to the advantage or disadvantage of any horse.
“I have found since the resumption of racing that the horses have been so relaxed, it is amazing. We have hardly had a horse sweat on course pre-race, even the two-year-olds which is extraordinary. Having no crowds has been a help for trainers, but we certainly don’t want it to last!
“I thought English King was very impressive at Lingfield when he beat one of mine (Berkshire Rocco), who went on to run well in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Obviously Frankie is going to ride English King and he has everything to go with it.
“He looks a worthy favourite. The Lingfield Derby Trial is a good test for Epsom and he obviously stays, so he has already answered two of the questions which we have over Kameko.
“Whatever Aidan [O’Brien] sends over has got to be given the utmost respect. He has a strong team of middle-distance horses every year.”
Investec Derby Day race programme:
1.50pm Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes 6f
2.25pm Investec Surrey Stakes (Listed) 7f
3.00pm Investec Handicap Stakes 1m 2f
3.40pm Investec Oaks (Group 1) 1m 4f
4.15pm Princess Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Investec) (Group 3) 1m 113y
4.55pm The Investec Derby (Group 1) 1m 4f
5.35pm The Investec Zebra Handicap Stakes 7f
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.