2023 Epsom Derby runners: Guide to every Classic contender
2023 Epsom Derby runners, horse racing

2023 Epsom Derby runners: Guide to every Classic contender

A field of 14 will bid for Blue Riband glory on Saturday and we’re posting a pinstickers’ guide to all of the 2023 Epsom Derby runners.

With the betting odds suggesting this is a wide-open renewal, punters can also check out the verdict of PA Media’s Nick Robson, who has a value selection.

ADELAIDE RIVER (Aidan O’Brien) @ 66/1

While it would be folly to ever discount an outsider from this yard, and this son of Australia did finish third in a Group One last year, he was brushed aside easily by Arrest at Chester.

ARREST (John and Thady Gosden) @ 7/2

Fine run on final start last season when just touched off at Saint-Cloud by Dubai Mile and was an easy winner of the Chester Vase. But those runs came on deep ground and it would have to rain to have real confidence in his chance.

ARTISTIC STAR (Ralph Beckett) @ 25/1

An unbeaten Galileo colt available at huge odds in the Derby. What is not to like? Well, while he could prove himself a top-class performer in time, he may find this all coming too soon.

AUGUSTE RODIN (Aidan O’Brien) @ 7/2

Judged purely on his Guineas run, this horse just cannot win. However, with his trainer calling it a “non-event” and looking at his juvenile form, he has to be a major player, even with questions to answer now.

DEAR MY FRIEND (Charlie Johnston) @ 125/1

Sparked Classic dreams for his enthusiastic owners when winning a decent race at Newcastle, but was put in his place in the Dante.

DUBAI MILE (Charlie Johnston) @ 18/1

A Group One winner over 10 furlongs at two and quick enough to finish a running-on fifth in the Guineas over a mile first time out this season. Looks guaranteed to improve for the step up in trip and ticks a lot of the boxes.

KING OF STEEL (Roger Varian) @ 50/1

Undoubtedly a colt of potential, thrown into a Group One on just his second start at two by his previous trainer. But his huge frame means the twists and turns of Epsom will make life extremely difficult.

MILITARY ORDER (Charlie Appleby) @ 9/2

His yard has won the race twice in recent years, once with full-brother Adayar, and this one comes in with even stronger claims. Impressive in the Lingfield trial, albeit on the all-weather, he sets the standard for the others.

PASSENGER (Sir Michael Stoute) @ 13/2

Unraced at two but won the Wood Ditton on debut and was a marginally unlucky third in the Dante. Was hardly making ground hand over fist once in the clear, though, and a place might be his best hope.

SAN ANTONIO (Aidan O’Brien) @ 25/1

Has really come on this season having shown comparatively little at two. Something of a surprise winner at Chester but this is a different test.

SPREWELL (Jessica Harrington) @ 11/1

Would be a popular winner given his trainer’s recent health troubles and brings smart form to the table having won the best Derby trial in Ireland. A real player.

THE FOXES (Andrew Balding) @ 14/1

Was never really considered a Derby horse until he won the Dante, with connections harbouring doubts about his stamina. Having won at York, it is worth having a go, but those questions remain valid.

WAIPIRO (Ed Walker) @ 28/1

There will be worse outsiders than this one in the 2023 Epsom Derby runners. Bustled up Military Order at Lingfield when trapped wide throughout. An each-way player.

WHITE BIRCH (John Jospeh Murphy) @ 12/1

Won the Ballysax and second in the Dante, historically two good pointers. Will be staying on strongly at the finish, no doubt, but whether he has the pace to stay in contention is another matter.

VERDICT: Undoubtedly this is one of the most open renewals for years and while it would have added to the intrigue had Auguste Rodin still had Triple Crown possibilities, the race carries far more interest as a betting medium given he was nearly last in the Guineas yet is still favourite here.

Aidan O’Brien has worked bigger miracles than if he manages to get this one back to winning ways – but not many. He simply has to be taken on at the current prices and one who finished a long way in front of him at Newmarket was DUBAI MILE. Fifth over an inadequate mile there, he was a Group One winner over 10 furlongs in France at two and promises to thrive over a mile and a half.

Adayar’s brother Military Order should be on the premises, while Sprewell appears to be heading to Epsom underrated from a yard going well.

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