While the flat season in the UK brings a host of world-class horse races, the focus for many will be on the Epsom Derby. The meeting was first held in 1780 and that long history helps the Derby to maintain its popularity among the racing fraternity.
Like the Grand National over the jumps, the Derby also manages to unite serious racegoers alongside casual sports fans. As a result, around 125,000 people attend the festival in person, while millions more tune in on TV.
The final declaration for the 2023 edition is falling into place, and here are the horses to watch.
Rodin out in Front
Saturday, June 3 is the date for the 2023 edition of the Derby and the chasing pack will have its work cut out to challenge the favorite. Current horse betting markets list Auguste Rodin as the red-hot market leader at odds of 2/1.
The gap to the chasers emphasizes the strength of this horse. Imperial Emperor is next at a relatively distant 10/1, while Flying Honours slots in as the third favorite at 16/1.
The figures tell a story, but why is Auguste Rodin so highly fancied?
Auguste Rodin’s maiden outing came at the Curragh in Ireland in June 2022. With jockey Ryan Moore on board, the horse finished in a respectable second place. Since then, this three-year-old has won each of its next three outings.
The runner has a good pedigree and has some of the biggest names in horse racing in his corner. Alongside the accomplished Ryan Moore as the jockey, Auguste Rodin is trained by the highly successful Aidan O’Brien.
Those three wins have been emphatic and so this horse has everything needed to win a Derby. There is form, an exceptional overall record and great team on board. Auguste Rodin is a worthy favorite, but who are the closest challengers?
Imperial Emperor is the second most highly fancied horse, and this is another runner that comes into the Epsom Derby with a promising record. The concern is that there is a very small sample size, compared to some of the other runners in this race.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, Imperial Emperor has a 100%-win record, but he has had just one outing so far. The horse won at Newmarket last October, but is that enough to suggest a genuine challenge at Epsom in June?
Among the underdogs, there is some interest in Silver Knott. Another product of the Charlie Appleby stable, this horse has run six times to date, and therefore has marginally more experience.
There have been three wins in that time and Silver Knott has yet to finish outside of the top four. Elsewhere, Dubai Mile, Victoria Road, Proud and Regal, Hans Andersen and Naval Power are also being discussed as potential winners.
Auguste Rodin leads the way and the favorite has an exceptional record, but there are plenty of potential challengers from within the Epsom Derby chasing pack.